According to NGOs, more parties must be involved to make decision making more transparent. To improve the present situation three associations are to provide support for local communities over the next years.
In the framework of joint initiative, citizens will be supported with free legal aid and practical knowledge to enhance their active participation. Activities also include legal analyses of current regulations and practice. Public events are planned to help people better understand the impacts of mining and possibilities for reducing and alleviating negative impacts.
Silvia Lotman, initiative’s coordinator and head of executive committee of ELF, said that ELF stands for the preservation of biodiversity in Estonia. “Mining of mineral resources – may it be oil shale, phosphate rock, construction minerals or peat – is an activity with large environmental impacts that causes irreversible changes both in natural and living environment. Therefore it is very important that all decisions concerning mineral resources are made carefully after considering all the values at stake.”
The head of EMÜ, Mihkel Pukk said that citizens are not sufficiently involved in the decision making process. “Although natural resources are constitutionally our national riches, the population has no sufficient opportunities to participate in the use of these riches. Our goal is to change the situation.”
Starting from May, EELC supports the communities by giving free legal aid. “In making such decisions, public discussion and involvement of local communities is very important. Legal issues are often too complex for the ordinary citizens, so we offer them help and assistance regarding legal matters, “ said the EELC board member Kärt Vaarmari.
ELF, EELC and EMÜ aim to expand cooperation with entrepreneurs, officials and politicians to ensure prudent use of natural resources.
The cooperation initiative is funded by Open Estonia Foundation.
Head of Executive Committee of Estonian Fund for Nature
Tel: +372 52 62 013
Member of the Board of Estonian Association for Mineral Resources
Tel: +372 50 28 730
Member of the Board of Estonian Environmental Law Centre
Tel: +372 52 74 761