Session 6.4

The space for NGO engagement in the implementation of environmental commitments

Lessons from NGOs across Europe and future outlook

In collaboration with the European Environmental Bureau

NGOs play an important role in highlighting problems with the implementation of EU environmental laws within and across the EU. They provide expertise knowledge to authorities and investigators, being well acquainted with the realities on the ground, and represent the interest of, and are the voice for, the environment. The added value of involving NGOs in improving implementation of EU environmental laws in the Member States and at local level is clear, and therefore conditions for allowing NGOs to play their part need to be guaranteed.

Yet NGOs not only experience differences in how laws are implemented, but also experience differences in their own treatment vis-à-vis public authorities, notably engagement in participation and legal standing, which has a knock-on effect on environmental protection. This session will discuss the mechanisms in place for allowing NGO engagement in implementation and which systems need to be strengthened, as without addressing these, environmental protection in the EU will remain uneven. The session will address a wide range of environmental problems, with specific examples given in the areas of biodiversity, chemicals and water