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Summary of seminar
Workshop on elaboration of indicators
for monitoring implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Kazakhstan

From October 28-30, 2003 a workshop took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan on elaboration of indicators for monitoring implementation of the Aarhus Convention "On access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters" in Kazakhstan.

The workshop organisers were the OSCE (the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Centre in Almaty and the Greenwomen Public Association (Kazakhstan). Financial support was provided by the United States government.

In addition to Greenwomen, workshop participants included officials from Kazakshtan's Ministry for Environmental Protection, deputies from the ecology committee of Kazakhstan's Parliament, personnel from the OSCE's Almaty mission, representatives from European ECO-Forum, World Resources Institute, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, IUCN Central-Asian Regional Office, Regional Ecological Center for Central Asia (REC) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs representatives included the International Experts Network for Sustainable Development in Central Asia and EcoForum of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Also participating were NGOs representatives from several regions of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The purpose of the workshop was to elaborate a detailed methodology by which society and the government might assess implementation of the Aarhus convention in relation to access to information, decision-making and justice in the environmental sphere in the Republic of Kazakhstan. A further purpose was to establish a course of action for improving the environmental situation based on results of this monitoring.

The workshop carried out within the framework of project on elaboration of indicators for monitoring of the Aarhus convention implementation in Kazakhstan. The project is managed by the OSCE Center in Almaty, the Greenwomen Public Association.

Workshop participants used materials from the Access Initiative research group and the Washington-based World Resources Institute. The Access Initiative is a global coalition of civil society organizations, who promotes access to information, participation and justice in decision-making. The coalition has developed and pilot tested 9 countries around the world a methodology for the development of national indicators monitoring access to information, participation and justice. Findings from the research were presented accompanied by practical proposals on how to involve the public in decision-making in the environmental sphere.

Workshop participants used research materials provided by Access Initiative to assess levels of implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Kazakhstan and to form plans of action for improving the environmental situation at regional and national levels. The World Resources Institute provided methodological support and guidance in adapting The Access Initiative methodology for the development of indicators in Kazakhstan.

Especially the workshop participants work out the following subjects:

- assessment situation in kazakhstan on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters;

- elaboration of indicators on 4 categories:

1. on public access to ecological information.
2. on public participation in decision-making.
3. on access to justice in environmental matters.
4. capacity building with the aid of institutional base improving.

- measuring: with what periodicity and who must measure of the indicators.

- discussion preferences to found coalition on monitoring implementation of the aarhus convention in kazakhstan.

- from results to practice: to form plans of action for improving the environmental situation at regional and national levels (on indicators basis).

- ellaborate action frameworks for governmental and non-governmental structures on monitoring implementation of the aarhus convention in kazakhstan and make efforts to improve the environmental situation.

The workshop participants tried to assess implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Kazakhstan and to form plans of action for improving the environmental situation at regional and national levels. Admittedly, offered indicators methodology might be adapted to national level and on the methodology basis possible to elaborate local and national indicators.

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