This program area aims to strengthen key stakeholders in participatory governance, as well as those responsible for the practical implementation of international, EU and national regulations (such as the Aarhus Convention, the PRTR Protocol and related EU directives, the Regulation on the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) in the EU candidate countries. Support to the civil society organizations (CSOs) is provided by awarding grants, capacity building, networking, and sustainability programs of civil society organizations. Various capacity building tools are used to train civil society leaders and strengthen cooperation between civil society organizations, as well as between the authorities and civil society in order to improve their influence in the decision-making process.

The following are the core activities conducted within the Aarhus Convention and Access to Justice program:

  • Encouraging dialogue and conducting assessments, providing recommendations and strengthening the capacities of civil servants, NGOs and other stakeholders;
  • Promoting the practical application of the Aarhus Convention, other international agreements, EU and national regulations;
  • Providing support to the competent institutions in establishing a PRTR system in line with the PRTR Protocol and requirements; providing support in the preparation for the ratification of the PRTR Protocol, the establishment of the Registry and in raising awareness and understanding between institutions and non-governmental organizations in terms of their respective roles and responsibilities;   
  • Strengthening a participatory approach and organizing consultations with stakeholders at regional and national level within various processes and sectors (e.g. energy, transport, spatial planning, sustainable consumption and production, climate change, waste, etc.);
  • Developing and implementation of capacity building programs for civil servants and NGOs at the local and regional level to improve public participation in the decision-making process in the area of environmental impact assessment (EIA), strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC);
  • Raising awareness and strengthening the capacities of judges, prosecutors, ministry officials and NGOs to implement access to justice under the Aarhus Convention, EU directives and national regulations and encouraging dialogue on reducing/removing barriers to access justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina.