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NGO on Lake Peipsi uses new "citizens juries" to gather recommendations on lake issues
Monday, November 10, 2003

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation (Estonia)

Citizens’ jury “Water transport on River Emajõgi in the Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve: what would be the compromise between the interests of environmentalists, entrepreneurs and local inhabitants?”

On November 14th and 15th, Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation organises a citizens’ jury on water transportation for the inhabitants of Puhja and Rannu rural municipalities. A citizens’ jury is a public participation method where experts in different fields provide the local population with diverse information with regard to a problem significant for the region. At the end of the jury session, local people compile their recommendations for solving the issue. The citizens’ jury of Puhja and Rannu rural municipalities is the first of its kind in Estonia.

The presenters, invited to the citizens’ jury, focusing on the River Emajõgi water transportation, are specialists in nature protection, water transport and tourism agencies as well as aquatic biota research institutions.

Having listened to the presentations, the participants of the citizens’ jury devise their proposals and recommendations on the topic “Water transportation in the Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve”. The proposals will be forwarded to local governments, environmental authorities, county governments and other administrative agencies related to the development of the Emajõgi region.

Taking part in the citizens’ jury and listening to the presentations by experts in different fields gives the participants a diverse overview regarding environmental, water protection, water transport and local development issues in the region. Similarly, there is an opportunity to directly ask questions from specialists and to have their say in the decision-making process.

The method of a citizens’ panel has been utilised, in the USA and United Kingdom, in adopting decisions on environmental, health care and educational policies.

The citizens’ jury of the people living in Puhja and Rannu rural municipalities takes place under the European Commission 5th Framework Programme and the international research project financed by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe. This project is also participated in by partners from Sweden and Netherlands and aims at determining the best methods for increasing public participation in the application of the EU Framework Directive on Water Policy and in the preparation and implementation of river basin management plans.

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation
Project managers
Peeter Unt, Margit Säre
Tel: +372 7302302; margit.sare@ctc.ee


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