Strengthening public participation in environmental decision-making has become a cornerstone in promoting sustainable development in countries around the world. On the 5th of August 2009, UNITAR supported a National Planning Workshop in Bamako, Mali, jointly with the Ministry of Environment and Sanitation in Mali. The workshop set the stage for a 1-year country driven project entitled Preparing a National Profile and Action Plan on he Implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. Principle 10 was adopted at the Rio Summit in 1992 and seeks to strengthen democratic participation in environmental decision-making through three main pillars: access to justice, access to information and public participation.
The workshop brought together 35 representatives of relevant government sectors and a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the work plan and the establishment of a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder management structure to oversee the preparation of Mali’s Principle 10 National Profile and Action Plan. It also provided a unique opportunity to raise awareness on Principle 10 at the country level.
Mr. Boubucar Sidiki Dembele, representing the Minister of Environment and Sanitation, expressed in his opening remarks that “implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration is of paramount importance for Mali, since strengthening access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters has become a major interest for the Government of Mali within the context of changing dynamics in society”.
As a contribution to capacity development to strengthen access to information and public participation in environmental decision-making in Africa, UNITAR is providing support to three pilot countries in Africa in 2009-2010 to develop a National Profile, set priorities and develop an Action Plan to strengthen national capacities to implement Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. These countries are Mali, Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pilot projects have the objective to catalyze a multi-stakeholder process that assesses existing capacities at national and local levels and to identify opportunities for targeted capacity development.
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