EXAMPLES OF BEST PRACTICES: Rural development programme , Slovenia

To illustrate how public participation can improve environmental decision making, the CO-SEED team gathered case studies from around the world. The case study below is part of our on-going series sharing these examples:

Two-way exchange of information results in more widely accepted development.

When Slovenia was drafting its Rural Development Programme, an SEA was done to determine compliance with the country’s environmental objectives. The responsible Ministry invited the public to participate in the entire process and a special model for information sharing and cooperation was developed. It was essential to ensure participation of various organisations on local and regional levels, social partners, NGOs, and professionals.

The responsible Ministry published the Rural Development Programme proposal on their website and received over 50 remarks from individuals and organisations. The communication between the public and the Ministry was a two-way process. The Ministry gave written responses and opinions on each suggestion, proposition, and question. For the interested public the Programme was also available on CD, in paper form, or via e-mail. The Ministry also set up a forum on a website where public officials answered questions. Additionally, there were several coordination meetings, workshops, and publications regarding the Programme proposal.

Details about the public hearing were announced in the media. After the public hearing, the Ministry issued a new Programme proposal that was updated with remarks from the public hearing. Before this new proposal was issued, every remark or suggestion was explained including why, or why not, they were reflected in the updated Programme.