Klimaschutz- und Energieprojekt an Oranienburger Schulen zum Schuljahr 2022/23

16. Dezember 2022

Klimaschutz- und Energieprojekt an Oranienburger Schulen zum Schuljahr 2022/23 gestartet

Pünktlich zu Beginn der Heizperiode im Schuljahr 2022/23 startet das auf 3 Jahre angelegte Klimaschutz- und Energieprojekt an Oranienburger Schulen gleich an 9 teilnehmenden Einrichtungen.

Berlins großer nördlicher Nachbar setzt damit ein wichtiges Zeichen zur richtigen Zeit, um Schulen mit pädagogischen Aktivitäten und technischen Optimierungsmaßnahmen fit zu machen für einen langen Energiesparwinter. Außerdem haben die Schulen die Möglichkeit, durch Vermittlung von Wissen im Rahmen der Schüler*innen-Workshops, Hausmeister- und Lehrkräfteschulungen unmittelbar praktisches und alltagstaugliches Energiesparwissen zu erhalten und auf diesem Wege eine nachhaltigere Zukunft einzuleiten.

Auf Beschluss in der Stadtverordnetenversammlung im Jahr 2021 soll mit dem Projekt die gesamtgesellschaftliche Relevanz der Themen Klimaschutz und Energie besser in den schulinternen Abläufen und Lehrplänen verankert und darüber in die Bevölkerung getragen werden. Federführend für die Planung und Umsetzung ist das Klimaschutzmanagement der Stadt Oranienburg, welches die sektorübergreifende Klimaneutralitätsstrategie der Stadt in Abstimmung mit den beteiligten Ressorts koordiniert und umsetzt.

Das Schulprojekt ist Teil dieser Strategie, die neben Schulen und Kitas auch die Energieversorgung für Verwaltungsgebäude, Privathaushalte und Gewerbe sowie auch die Verkehrssituation und das Abfall- und Ressourcenmanagement in den Blick nimmt. Damit ist das Projekt ein wichtiger Schritt auf dem Weg zur klimaneutralen Verwaltung und Stadtgesellschaft.

Neben der ursprünglichen Motivation aus den Schulen heraus, Nachhaltigkeitsthemen stärker in den Fokus zu rücken, soll auch ein Prämienmodell als Anreizsystem dienen.

Teilnehmende Einrichtungen:

  • Comenius Grundschule
  • Havelschule Grundschule
  • Waldschule Grundschule
  • Grundschule Friedrichsthal
  • Grundschule Germendorf
  • Grundschule “Friedrich-Wolf” Lehnitz
  • Grundschule Sachsenhausen
  • Neddermeyer-Grundschule Schmachtenhagen
  • Jean-Clermont-Schule

Projektablauf

Bereits im abgelaufenen Schuljahr 2021/22 erfolgte die Abstimmung zwischen der Klimaschutzmanagerin der Stadt Oranienburg und dem UfU bzgl. Termin- und Ablaufplanung, Konkretisierung der Inhalte und Methoden sowie der teilnehmenden Schulen.

Zu Beginn des Schuljahres 2022/23 wurden dann alle Schulen über den Start des Projekts informiert, während gleichzeitig die Vorbereitungen liefen, sodass die tatsächlichen Auftakttermine, Energierundgänge und Schüler*innenworkshops pünktlich nach den Herbstferien beginnen konnten.

Ziele

  • Initiieren und Begleiten von Unterrichtsprojekten, die das Ziel haben das Energiebewusstsein von Schüler*innen, Kindern, Lehrkräften und Erzieher*innen, und Hausmeister*innen zu steigern
  • Initiieren von pädagogischen Projekten zum Thema Energie und Energie sparen an Kitas und in Horten
  • Die Notwendigkeit des Klimaschutzes verständlich machen
  • Aufzeigen von Energiesparpotenzialen
  • technische Energiespar-Optimierungen

Weitere Bestandteile sind

  • Technische Energieberatung vor Ort
  • Hausmeisterschulung
  • Lehrkräfteschulung
  • Feierliche Jahresveranstaltung

Kontakt
Oliver Ritter

Laufzeit
09/2022 – 08/2025


UfU and IASS publish Enabling Policies Report

19. Oktober 2022

UfU and IASS publish Enabling Policies Report

Practical proposals for the implementation of a fair energy transition

The challenge of transformation

Today’s societies are facing enormous challenges as a result of advancing climate change and the associated transformation processes. In addition to the transformation of mobility and the structural change of other industries, the achievement of agreed climate protection goals depends above all on the success of the energy transition.

The fact that the energy transition requires a comprehensive transformation of our energy grids, electricity generation and storage, and thus naturally poses a challenge, is used by some stakeholders as an argument against the climate-friendly transformation of the energy supply. Wrongly: The Policies Report shows that the energy transition is not only worthwhile in climate terms, but also financially, socially and economically.

The energy transition has positive side effects

In the future, it will be of central importance whether the energy transition is designed to be socially fair. Only then can change lead to lasting acceptance among the population. In our COBENEFITS project, we have therefore investigated to what extent the conversion to a sustainable power supply through renewable energies has positive side effects on other economic and social sectors and how these can be used. For example, a rising share of renewable energy can lead to less air pollution, more energy security and future-proof jobs.

If the energy transition is accompanied by smart legislation and good policies, these positive side effects can be enhanced and fairly distributed among communities. A central finding of the project is: The co-benefits (and thus e.g. savings) mostly arise outside the department that is responsible for planning the energy transition and thus has an additional effort at the beginning. Therefore, it is essential that government institutions cooperate across administrative departments in the future.

The Enabling Policies Report

In order to be able to defend the energy transition against critical voices from within the own economy, policy areapolitics and society, it is of central importance for many countries to back up the above argumentation of positive side effects with scientific studies. This has been done in the COBENEFITS project.

The COBENEFITS Enabling Policies Report is the official final report of the project. It provides an overview of policy measures that have a high potential to fairly exploit the co-benefits of renewable energy in the power sector. The report summarises findings and recommendations from five COBENEFITS project years and more than 15 studies from more than 7 countries. As such, it is a practical tool for policy makers, researchers and policy advisors to think climate change mitigation and socio-economic development together in practice.

COBENEFITS Project SideCOBENEFITS Homepage

Infographics

More infographics of the COBENEFITS project are available here: https://www.cobenefits.info/infographics-gallery-2/


Kick-Off workshop: European Innovation Lab - participants start with the drafts

20. May 2022

The Kick-Off workshop for the “European Innovation Lab” took place on Friday, 20th of May 2022. Over the next three months, the participants of the contest will develop their designs for a modern participation platform for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The European Innovation Lab is a competition for young people who use their technical and digital expertise to make participation more citizen-friendly. The contest is based on the “digital formal public participation in environmental matters in the European Union”. When large infrastructure projects (motorway, power plant, factory etc.) are planned in an EU member state, a so-called Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is usually required. In other words, the project is examined for its effects on the environment, humans and animals. The EIA thus serves as an instrument of environmental precaution. EU citizens have the right to inspect the results of the EIA and, under certain criteria, to raise objections and even to take legal action against the project.

However, these rights can only be exercised if access to this information is made easy and barrier-free. The COVID-19 crisis is not the only reason why it is important that citizens can easily access information on an EIA digitally. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case: the different portals of the EU countries are not uniformly designed, difficult to find and some portals are only available in the national language.

In order to further develop these portals and to improve the quality of citizen participation, UfU has integrated a competition for so-called “young professionals” from all EU member states into its project “Strengthening electronic participation rights in environmental protection in the European Union – at the same time further developing digital participation within the Aarhus Convention and the European Public Participation Directive (Aarhus-Strong)”. The task of the participants is to develop ideas for the design of a platform that meets the requirements and objectives of modern digital public participation.

The Kick-Off Workshop

In the Kick-Off workshop, the participants were introduced to the topic with exciting presentations and had the opportunity to develop an awareness of the problem and exchange their initial ideas with the help of design thinking methods. Elisa Lironi, Programme Director at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) gave a presentation on the potential and challenges of digital democracy in Europe. Louisa Hantsche, Project Manager at UfU e. V., introduced the participants to the legal framework and requirements for EIA portals and public participation, and Robert Bjarnason, President and co-founder of the Citizens Foundation in Iceland, shared his knowledge on the opportunities and challenges of designing digital participation platforms.

The participants now have until 31st of August 2022 to develop their own concepts for a digital participation platform. A jury of experts will select the winning concept. At the second workshop on 16th of September 2022, the participants will have the opportunity to present their concept to an interdisciplinary audience of experts. The highlight of the event will be the award ceremony.


The European Innovation Lab - Register now for modern digital participation!

28. March 2022

The European Innovation Lab - A European workshop and contest for the (further) development of digital formal participation approaches in the European Union

The European Innovation Lab is a contest for young professionals from EU member states, to develop participation portals of the future. It is part of the Aarhus strong project, funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection. 

Digital Public Participation is a vital element of modern democracy. Especially when it comes to infrastructural projects such as power plants, factories or railway networks, the whole society is affected. Therefore, EU law provides for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), where everyone can contribute their needs and expertise.Authorities are therefore obliged to publish the information on the planned projects and offer online EIA portals.

With the ongoing COVID-19-crisis the essential importance of an effective and efficient design of digital processes is more evident than ever. Existing processes need to be rethought and translated into the digital age. Yet the implementation of EIA portals in the EU could not be more fragmented, which often leads to frustration.

As the design of such a digital participation platform requires a more complex and interdisciplinary approach, the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues invites young professionals from member states of the European Union to take part in its European Innovation Lab to design a platform that meets the demands and goals of modern digital public participation.

Participants will be able to broaden their knowledge and networks while presenting ideas for tomorrow’s portals to an audience of renowned experts and decision makers. The best concepts will be awarded: 1st Prize – 1250 €, 2nd Prize – 1000 €, 3rd Prize – 750 €.

Programme

Phase 1: Kick-off-workshop – 20th of May 2022 (online)

The participants will be introduced to digital public participation in the European Union and especially dive into the legal basis and requirements of EIA platforms. The practicability and design of existing websites will be discussed. You will get to know other participants and have the chance to form alliances for the competition.

Phase 2: The Contest Deadline – 31st of August 2022 (online)

After being equipped with the essentials, you now have four months to develop your own concepts for a digital participation platform. The goal is to design a platform that is compatible with the EU guidelines. However, it is up to you to decide on how you would like to create and implement your ideas. Out of all submissions, a jury of internationally known experts will select three finalists.

Phase 3: The Second Workshop – 16th of September 2022 (online)

In the final workshop, all participants come together with an interdisciplinary expert audience to share their experiences and knowledge. Highlight of the event will be the award ceremony. The three finalists have the opportunity to present and discuss their designs before the final winner is announced.

Admission requirements

Participation is open to young professionals (ideally between 25-35 years of age) who are studying or residing in one of the 27 EU member states. Participants are expected to have experience in relevant disciplines such as web design, graphic design, communicative design, sociology, administrative law, environmental planning, urban development or spacial planning. Participants with expertise in related fields who feel motivated to participate are welcome to register as well.

All Participants will be given a confirmation of participation. Registration is possible until 16.05.2022.
Please submit your registration via the formular below.
For questions you can write an email to aarhus-strong-project@ufu.de

European Innovation Lab (PDF) No Fields Found.

Solidarity with Ukraine!

24. Februar 2021

UfU_Stellungnahme_Ukraine (PDF)
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Solidarity with Ukraine!

The Independent Institute for Environmental Issues – UfU e.V. stands in solidarity behind Ukraine and our project partners there. We strongly condemn the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine!

As a peaceful environmental organisation, it has always been clear to us that differences can only be resolved through dialogue. However great the differences may be, those who act in the spirit of peace, justice and a good future fundamentally reject any form of violence.

We strongly condemn the war of aggression waged by Vladimir Putin against Ukraine and stand in solidarity with our partners in Ukraine. Together with great civil society organisations and the people working and living there, we have achieved a lot in recent years. Together we have worked to improve water management in the Ternopil and Odessa regions and worked with our partners to improve civil society participation in environmental and climate policy issues. The intercultural exchange and the common will to work for a good and sustainable future has enriched us greatly. We are deeply shocked to learn that these people, with whom we have much in common, are now in danger.

We call on Wladimir Putin to end his war against Ukraine immediately and to take the path of peaceful communication. As an institute with its roots in the former GDR, many of our members and founders know the long-term consequences of war and destruction on civil society and the environment. There must be no new war in Europe!

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Solidarität mit der Ukraine!

Das Unabhängigen Institut für Umweltfragen – UfU e.V. steht solidarisch hinter der Ukraine und unseren dortigen Projektpartner*innen. Wir verurteilen den Angriffskrieg von Russland gegen die Ukraine aufs Schärfste!

Als friedliche Umweltorganisation steht für uns schon immer fest: Differenzen lassen sich nur mit Dialogen lösen. So groß die Gräben auch sein mögen, wer im Sinne von Frieden, Gerechtigkeit und einer guten Zukunft handelt, lehnt jede Form von Gewalt grundsätzlich ab.

Wir verurteilen den Angriffskrieg, den Wladimir Putin gegen die Ukraine führt aufs Schärfste und stehen solidarisch hinter unseren Partner*innen in der Ukraine. Gemeinsam mit großartigen zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen und den dort arbeitenden und lebenden Menschen haben wir in den letzten Jahren viel bewegt. Gemeinsam haben wir zur Verbesserung des Wassermanagements in den Regionen Ternopil und Odessa zusammengearbeitet und uns mit unseren Partner*innen dafür eingesetzt, dass die Beteiligung der Zivilgesellschaft an umwelt- und klimapolitischen Fragestellungen verbessert wird. Der interkulturelle Austausch und der gemeinsame Wille, für eine gute und nachhaltige Zukunft zu arbeiten, hat uns dabei stark bereichert. Es erschüttert uns zutiefst, erfahren zu müssen, dass diese Menschen, mit denen uns viel verbindet, jetzt in Gefahr sind.

Wir fordern Wladimir Putin auf, seinen Krieg gegen die Ukraine umgehend zu beenden und den Weg der friedlichen Kommunikation einzuschlagen. Als Institut, dass in der ehemaligen DDR seine Wurzeln hat, wissen viele unserer Mitglieder und Gründer, welche langzeitigen Folgen Kriege und Zerstörung auf die Zivilgesellschaft und auf die Umwelt haben. Es darf keinen neuen Krieg in Europa geben!

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UfU Paper 01/2021 on participation processes for climate policy-making

12. November 2021

UfU Paper 01/2021 on participation processes for climate policy-making

UfU Paper highlights strengths and weaknesses of processes for civil society participation in climate policy-making in nine countries

As part of the ZIVIKLI project, UfU published the study Civic space for participation in climate policies in Colombia, Georgia and Ukraine in late 2020. This study also included a chapter on “good practice” examples for participatory processes to involve civil society in climate policy-making at the national level.

After the publication of the study, questions were raised in related discussions and events with representatives of climate-driven civil society asking about identified shortcomings in the evaluated participation processes. These results of the ZIVIKLI research have not yet been published due to the focus on good practice aspects in the above-mentioned chapter.

With UfU Paper 1/2021 Building civic space for people-centered climate action? Opportunities and limitations of civil society participation in climate policy-making in nine countries, the authors broadened the analysis’ scope and present the results of their extensive research. Thus, the UfU Paper 1/2021 highlights both, the strengths and weaknesses of each of the participation processes examined, and provides initial suggestions for improving the weaker aspects.


Renewable energy technologies are job boosters

09. November 2021

Renewable energy technologies are job boosters

An ambitious expansion of renewables provides great potential for the creation of new jobs, shows part 1 of the Co-Benefits Knowledge Commons Factsheets Series 2021/2022

Part 1 of the 2021/2022 edition of the Co-benefits Knowledge Commons gives an insight into the state of the art of current research on renewable energies in the power sector and related developments of the job market. The publication shows: Renewables can create sustainable jobs and improve the gender balance in the future energy sector of many countries.

To harness the full potential of these co-benefits, an ambitious expansion of renewable energies is crucial, but should be accompanied by supporting policies in related sectors such R&D and education to build the skills base needed for the energy transition.

The Co-benefits Knowledge Commons Factsheet Edition Employment opportunities and skill requirements aims to connect policy makers in local and national government agencies with expert organisations and contact persons, to quantify employment potentials, assess policy options and unlock co-benefits for people and communities. Editors and authors of the factsheets also want to give decision-makers reliable data about the interconnection of climate-friendly power planning and sustainable job creation at hand.

The factsheet series is published by the COBENEFITS project in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Jobs Working Group under IRENA’s Coalition for Action. UfU, together with the IASS has curated the series. The publication can be addressed through the COBENEFITS project page.


Launch of third round of local climate small-scale projects in Central Vietnam

01. November 2021

As in the previous projects in 2019 and 2020, UfU is again supporting local small-scale projects in Central Vietnam for raising awareness among different population groups about local climate change issues and more climate-friendly options for action, as well as for capacity building of youth for more climate action. With funding from the German Federal Foreign Office’s Climate Fund and in cooperation with the Mientrung Institute for Scientific Research (MISR), UfU enables talented and young Vietnamese to develop their own project ideas and implement them locally.

At the beginning of the year, young people from Central Vietnam were able to apply with their own project ideas to the ideas competition of UfU and MISR. Of all the applications, the four best project ideas were selected for funding and subsequent implementation.

This year, the following small projects were selected:

  • Raising awareness about climate change through a school garden. A demonstration project at Hoa Phuoc Primary School, Hoa Vang District, Da Nang City. Project development and implementation by students Kieu Thi Phuong, Phan Minh Luu An, Van Thi Thao Vy, Bui Van Quoc Trung and Tran Quang Huy.
  • Raising public awareness of the carbon storage capacity of seagrass beds to mitigate climate change and minimize activities that lead to degradation of the seagrass ecosystem in Lang Co Lagoon, Thua Thien Hue Province. Project development and implementation by students Nguyen Huu Chi Tu and Nguyen Tu Uyen.
  • Establish a climate change prevention and adaptation club in An Dong district, Hue city. Project development and implementation by young teachers Le Thi Thanh Nhan and Tran Thi Ngoc Cam of Hue Medical College.
  • Increasing the rate of native tree species and a production forest in Cam Nghia village, Cam Lo district, Quang Tri province. Project development and implementation by Nguyen Van Ky Truong, Nguyen Xuan Tam and To Minh Hanh.

The overall project and the start of the four small projects were officially started with a kick-off workshop on September 26. Among the 25 participants were, besides the project teams, the mentors of some teams, some project winners from the last years and other interested young people. In a friendly and productive atmosphere, UfU gave an introduction to project management. Afterwards the challenges and plans of all projects and solutions and suggestions for improvement were discussed together. Until the end of February 2022, the small projects will now be implemented and accompanied under the support of UfU and MISR.


Fifth Aarhus Workshop on human rights and climate laws

Foto von Mathias P.R. Reding von Pexels

13. September 2021

On 7. September 2021, Slovenian and German NGOs co-organised the Fifth Aarhus Workshop.

The NGOs invited governmental officials, legal scholars and experts as well as researchers to discuss the intertwining between human rights, climate laws and the Aarhus Convention in the European Union. The central question was, how civil society (organisations) are involved in environmental and climate policy processes at EU and Member State level.

The Aarhus Convention adopted in 1998 by the European Union and its Member States lays the foundations for the right to be informed, be able to effectively contribute own ideas of a climate-neutral Europe and also have the opportunity to take legal action. Due to this treaty civil society and NGOs have the right to go to court and challenge EU-decisions, when environmental and climate laws are presumed to be violated. Examples for those administrative decisions are approvals of new fossil fuel projects, fishing quotas, approvals of state aid for nuclear power plants and so on. Since the European Union is criticised for not allowing citizens and NGOs to review their decisions, there will be a new regulation implementing the Aarhus Convention. Therefore, it has been carefully discussed at the Workshop, whether the new regulation and other EU laws will finally fully comply with the Aarhus Convention.

For this reason, the Aarhus Workshop played a key role in bringing together a variety of stakeholders and raising awareness on how to improve citizen’s and NGOs (legal) involvement in climate and environmental protection. Around 50 participants from environmental associations, foundations, universities, governmental organisations as well as legal professionals mainly from Slovenia, Germany and Brussels region joint the Aarhus Workshop to tackle the implementation deficits within the European Union and also at Member State level. Moreover, this joint Workshop, taking place merely a few weeks before the seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties of the Aarhus Convention (so-called “MoP 7”; from 18. to 21. October 2021 in Geneva) served as a crucial, decisive occasion, a springboard into a cleaner, greener future, where citizens are actively participating.

Speaker:

  • Dr. Vasilka Sancin, Associate Professor at University of Ljubljana & Director of Centre for International and Business Law
  • Dr. Roda Verheyen, LL.M., Environmental Lawyer of Rechtsanwälte Günther Partnerschaftsgesellschaft
  • Mag. Senka Šifkovič Vrbica, Environmental Lawyer at the Institute for Spatial Policies (IPoP)
  • Sebastian Bechtel, LL.M., Environmental Democracy Lawyer at ClientEarth Brussels
  • Mag. Tanja Pucelj Vidovič, Focal Point for Aarhus Convention at the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning
  • Matthias Sauer, Head of Unit of Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
  • Alistair McGlone, Director at Alistair McGlone and Associates Ltd & former member of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee
  • Dr. Maša Kovič Dine, Assistant Professor at University of Ljubljana
  • Dr. Maria Alexandra de Sousa Aragão, Professor at the University of Coimbra
  • Aljoša Petek, Environmental lawyer at PIC – Legal centre for the protection of human rights and the environment

 

In our first vivid panel discussion on the upcoming Meeting of the Parties of the Aarhus Convention (MoP-7) the panellists Mag Tanja Pucelj Vidovič; Matthias Sauer and Alistair McGlone discussed whether or not the European Union is granting its EU citizens and NGOs sufficient access to justice. Dr. Michael Zschiesche, Managing Director and Chairman of the UfU board, emphasised that: “The double standard by the European Union needs to stop. EU citizens and NGOs must be able to hold the European Union accountable, when their decisions harm the environment and the climate, as civil society can hold Member States accountable in environmental matters.”  Alistair McGlone further strongly underlined, that “The EU should champion accountability and the international rule of law to avoid damaging its reputation as a global leader in environmental forums.”

A second panel discussion covered the interplay between public participation in environmental decision-making and environmental and climate litigation. Dr. Maša Kovič Dine, Dr. Maria Alexandra de Sousa Aragão and Aljoša Petek, – put it this way: “Proper planning and approval procedures with early, inclusive and effective public participation on Member State and EU level can prevent lengthy and expensive legal disputes in courts. Active citizenship prevents long-term financial costs by environmental degradation.

All panellists agreed, that the current participation formats do not meet the needs of the younger generation, which is heavily engaged in climate protection and sustainable development.

Presentations:
Human Rights, European & National Climate Laws and the Importance of the Aarhus Convention (PDF)
– Slovenian environmental NGO’s perspective on Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union regarding environmental matters

Press Release:
How the European Union violates international environmental law since two decades

NGOs that organised the workshop:

About the workshops:

A total of five online Aarhus Workshops were organised by UfU in 2020 and 2021. On 11 May 2020, 30. June 2020, 17 November 2020 and on 24 March 2021 interested participants from Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia took part in the digital Workshops. A joint position paper “German Portuguese Slovenian Civil Society Declaration on Access to Justice for Citizens & NGOs at European Union Level“ was published. UfU thanks all who contributed to the five Aarhus Workshops. All persons involved made this series of events a success.

All Aarhus Workshops are part of the project “European Implementation of the Aarhus Convention in the Digital Age (EU-AarKo)” of the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues ­ UfU e.V. This project is financially supported by the German Environment Agency (UBA) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety within the framework of the sponsorship of environmental associations.

For any questions around the Fifth Aarhus Workshop, please contact Kathleen Pauleweit (UfU) kathleen.pauleweit@ufu.de or Aljoša Petek (PIC) aljosa.petek@pic.si.

More information on environmental democracy on European Union level can be found here (German): http://www.aarhus-konvention.de/

For more information about the EU-AarKo project and its background, click here.


Prof. Dr. Thomas Schomerus for the Aarhus Committee

17. August 2021

Nomination of Prof. Dr. Thomas Schomerus to serve the Aarhus Committee of the United Nations by a strong alliance of European environmental NGOs

 

We congratulate a long-standing UfU partner and co-author to his nomination to the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC). On 22. July 2021 the Austrian OEKOBUERO – Alliance of the Environmental Movement, the German Independent Institute for Environmental Issues (UfU) e.V., the European Network Justice & Environment, the Ukrainian Resource and Analysis Center “Society and Environment” and the European Environmental Bureau, acting on the behalf of the European ECO Forum, have nominated Mr. Schomerus. The NGO candidate might be elected at the next Meeting of the of the Parties of the Aarhus Convention in October 2021.

Non-governmental organisations can – next to Parties and Signatories to the Aarhus Convention nominate persons with recognised (legal) competence in Aarhus topics and of high moral character to serve the ACCC. For the first time since 2002 where the Compliance Committee was established, a German Committee member could be elected by its 47 Parties at the Seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (MoP 7). The UfU would strongly welcome the first German ACCC membership by Mr. Thomas Schomerus due to his widely appreciated acknowledged legal competence in Aarhus topics and his high moral character.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. (GTU Tiflis) Thomas Schomerus has been a civil servant (Regierungsrat, Oberregierungsrat) for eight years of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. He conducted permitting procedures, including public participation procedures with oral hearings. He has valuable practical experience in the application and enforcement of environmental law. During this time, he also represented the City of Hamburg in the Federal Council (Bundesrat). The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen federated states (Bundesländer) of Germany. Through the Bundesrat, the Bundesländer participate in the legislation and administration of the Federal Republic and in matters of the European Union.

In addition, he has served as a much-respected administrative law judge at the Higher Administration Court (Oberverwaltungsgericht) of Lower Saxony in Lüneburg (7th Senate). In this role, he was entrusted with complex approval procedures and gained a broad overview of German and European jurisprudence in the infrastructure sector.

Moreover, Mr. Schomerus is an award-winning University Professor of Public Law, in particular Environmental and Energy Law, of the Leuphana University Lüneburg in northern Germany. He has not only published over 300 books, articles and commentaries (including on the Environmental Information Act) and worked on numerous research projects, the also shared his practical and scientific expertise at Task Force and Working Group meetings of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention.

Most recently, UfU had the honour to prepare a first comprehensive study together with Mr. Schomerus evaluating the Federal Environmental Information Act for the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA). UfU is an independent and application-oriented research institute in eastern Germany with several Aarhus-related research projects. UfU highly appreciates Mr. Schomerus’ strong practical approach in applying environmental law. Mr. Schomerus is not only distinguished by his fruitful collaboration with the UfU, but also by his voluntary commitment to the German Society for Environmental Law (Gesellschaft für Umweltrecht, GfU) and Friends of the Earth Germany (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland, BUND).

Mr. Schomerus’ work area is not limited to Germany. He has carried out numerous international projects in a wide range of countries within the UNECE region, inter alia Russia, the United Kingdom, United States of America, as well as European Union countries. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Tbilisi (Georgia). He is part of an international network with work activities in China, Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, and Taiwan.

To conclude, Mr. Schomerus is an outstanding legal expert highly respected by civil society actors, practitioners and governmental agencies of Germany and beyond. His work and contributions has been most appreciated by UfU, in his practical work for the City of Hamburg, the Higher Administration Court of Lower Saxony, the Federal Council (Bundesrat) as well his scholar work at international meetings to the Aarhus Convention and at the Leuphana University Lüneburg. Mr. Schomerus impresses greatly with his diligent work ethic and dedication. He comports himself with integrity at all times. Therefore, UfU is deeply convinced that Mr. Schomerus will contribute with his excellent legal, practical and scientific expertise to the invaluable work of the Compliance Committee.

The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC), which reviews the compliance with the Aarhus Convention by state parties, is in many cases the last chance of environmental associations and environmentally-concerned individuals to review compliance with environmental law beyond their national jurisdiction. They can turn to the ACCC with an individual communication, which can be seen as modelled by various individual human rights complaints.

The Aarhus Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement which promotes environmental democracy within the UNECE region. The Aarhus Convention grants the public and environmental NGOs rights regarding access to environmental information, public participation and access to justice, in governmental decision-making processes on environmental matters.

Register here if you want to join the digital Fifth Aarhus Workshop on Human Rights, European and National Climate Laws and the Importance of the Aarhus Convention on 7. September 2020 before the MoP 7.

To find out more about projects promoting environmental democracy by the Independent Institute for Environmental Issues click here.