As the representatives of the European ECO Forum (a coalition of the environmental NGOs from Europe), EPL’s lawyers participated in the development of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to the Espoo Convention.
Our goal was to ensure that the Protocol reflects the interests of the public, particularly with regards to the public participation in strategic environmental assessment (assessment of the environmental impact of plans, programs, policies and legislation adopted in a country).
The participation of the NGOs resulted in the requirements for public participation in SEA, and now required by the Protocol.
Now we are pursing the implementation of the Espoo Convention, as well as participate in regular work of the Convention.
Aware of the interrelationship between economic activities and their environmental impact, affirming the need to ensure sustainable development, Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context was established.
The aim of the Convention – to prevent harmfull transboundary impact as a result of economic activities and also to reduce and control it. Integrated chemical installations, crude oil refineries, large-diameter oil and gas pipelines, deforestation of large areas, waste-disposal installations for the incineration, chemical treatment or landfill of toxic and dangerous wasting, can have great impact on territory, natural recourses, population of other countries.
The Party of origin shall, consistent with the provisions of this Convention, ensure the notification of the affected Parties on a proposed activity. The Party of origin shall provide an opportunity to the public in the areas likely to be affected to participate in relevant environmental impact assessment procedures regarding proposed activities and shall ensure that the opportunity provided to the public of the affected Party is equivalent to that provided to the public of the Party of origin.
The Party of origin enters into consultations with the affected Party concerning the potential transboundary impact of the proposed activity and measures to reduce or eliminate the impact. Convention defines requirements concerning environmental impact assessment documentation in transboundary context, which should be made accessible to the affected parties and to public of the affected parties. Final decision about proposed activity must contain results of impact assessment and the outcomes of the consultations as well.
If the states have some doubts concerning the application of the Convention for certain activity (building project, etc), the Inquiry Committee could be established in accordance with the Convention. Such a Committee was formed only once in the case of Romania and Ukraine dispute.
According to the Convention the Implementation Committee was created, which is empowered to review questions of implementation of the Convention, including complaints from the Parties concerning another party non-compliance. In 2004 – 2008 the Committee, upon the compliant of Romania, reviewed compliance with the Convention by Ukraine. In 2009 Ukraine addressed the compliant to the Committee concerning the actions of Romania.
Ukraine ratified Convention on 19.03.1999
Convention came into force on 18.10.1999