Mimicking Environmental Transparency: The Implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Romania
40 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015
Date Written: April 8, 2015
This chapter investigates the implementation status of the Aarhus Convention in Romania by a) examining if the provisions of the national legislation are in line with the requirements of the Convention; and b) empirically analyzing how implementation is either hindered or helped by the existing legal and administrative culture and practices surrounding access to information, participation, and access to justice in environmental matters. The main conclusion of the authors is that by examining the legal provisions in place, the reader will likely get only half the story – despite the fact that Romania seems very progressive in terms of its legislation in this field, numerous challenges occur during implementation. Public authorities view participation as a hassle, something they need to comply with by doing the minimum required by law and not being proactive. Citizens’ demand for transparency and openness in government is weak, as they lack trust in state institutions, including courts, and harbor the belief that they cannot change the course of governmental affairs. Courts, in their turn, aggravate this situation by means of lengthy court proceedings and lack of a proper remedy system. In order to enhance implementation the authors argue that the role of environmental NGOs is critical – they need to continue to be involved in identifying deficiencies in the application of the Convention, coupled with more severe sanctions for the institutions that do not comply.
Keywords: Aarhus Convention, Romania, implementation, access to justice, environment, transparency, access to information, openess
JEL Classification: K32, K33, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation