The event, organized by local environmental protection agency and funded by the European Commission, aimed to introduce requirements of Aarhus Convention and EU Environmental Information Directive and their application in EU Member States to Kosovar civil servants.

Kosovo is currently in a peculiar situation: the nation has declared unilateral independence, but only 98 members of the UN have so far recognised the state (among others, Russia strongly opposes the independence of Kosovo). At the same time, Kosovo has expressed a strong interest in joining the European Union in the future. In order to facilitate the accession process, main principles and requirements of Aarhus Convention and EU Environmental Information Directive are pre-emptively applied.

As a young nation, Kosovo faces several challenges. Both public sector institutions as well as the civil society are still very much under development and the country also faces serious environmental issues (e.g. low air quality due to wide-spread use of coal, problems with water quality). On the other hand, building institutions and systems from the scratch enables Kosovo to avoid mistakes made elsewhere and learn from the experience of other countries. In order to help Kosovo do so, European Commission, EU member states and various international foundations offer both financial aid as well as expert know-how to the country.

Within two days, experts from Estonia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and European Environmental Agency briefed the participants on the main legal requirements regarding access to environmental information as well as national and EU-level experience of the application of regulation. Local officials are planning a study visit to an EU member state as a follow-up to the event; Estonia is among the countries considered.