Protecting public interests
This year we plan to actively protect the public interests both in legislative processes as well as practice of environmental law. There are several important drafts that need our attention e.g. the new Planning Act and different acts that make up the new Environmental Code (e.g. Nature Conservation Act, Earth’s Crust Act). For EELC, the focus is set on mineral resources and noise – in both areas some significant amendments in legislation are soon expected (the new Earth’s Crust Act and Atmospheric Air Protection Act drafted) – a matter in which we plan to have a say. Additionally, we will continue providing legal aid in strategic cases that could be important in terms of future practice.
Informing citizens and officials
EELC will continue with horizontal issues as well. Our monthly newsletter, where we disseminate environmental law news, will enter its sixth year of publication. Guidelines for the public on participation in environmental decision-making, composed earlier last year, will be further elaborated in 2014 and several seminars on the issue will be held in different places of Estonia. Awareness of citizens and officials on environmental law will be raised with the help of the commented edition of the General Part of the Environmental Code Act, which we will publish in February. EELC will also continue with trainings and guidelines for public authorities to ensure better quality decisions in environmental matters.
Providing legal aid
In order to ensure the independence of protection of public interests from project funding, we will continue providing legal aid in 2014. In this area we plan to pay more attention to assisting citizens and local governments, but will gladly continue helping civil society organizations, both big and small.
Enlargement and development
Implementation of ambitious strategic plans will also require extending the EELC’s team. This means we will be looking for a new lawyer. In summer, we are happy to also have law students getting some work experience and helping us with their input – as usual, two internships will be available. EELC will continue to participate in the work of NENO (Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organizations). In addition to this, we also joined Estonian Social Enterprise Network in the beginning of the year to share our experience with other organizations and learn from theirs.
Measuring the impact of our activities
To measure the success of our activities we will assess implementation of the action plan and the impact of the activities once a quarter. The first results will be announced already in April.