A TAIEX workshop on Environmental Information Transparency, organized jointly by the European Commission and the Israeli Ministry of Justice, was held last Wednesday and Thursday in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. The aim of this significant, high-level event, with representatives from the most important ministries in Israel in addition to regional and local governmental people, academia, NGOs was to support the Freedom of Information Unit in the Ministry of Justice of Israel, was to ensure environmental transparency, particularly concerning the implementation of the freedom of information legislation.
According to Israeli legislation, since 2009, public authorities must publish any environmental information concerning noise, air and water pollution, radiation, contamination, waste, etc. However, there are significant challenges to implementing this legislation. Experts, including Justice and Environment´s (J&E) lawyer Summer Kern, provided key lessons learned and good practices regarding environmental information and its synergies with other pillars of the Aarhus Convention.
Summer, in particular, provided a broad range of concrete cases stemming from J&E´s member organizations, together with cases from partners further abroad, like the UK, Ukraine, and Iceland. Summer´s contributions triggered great interest from public authorities, such as the Israeli Ministry of Environment, and crucially from those working for civil society, including those seeking to protect the rights to a healthy environment for vulnerable persons. “It was a great experience and, hopefully, will lead to further engagement to support environmental democracy in Israel”, said Summer.