No. 21




Involvement, this way and that

  • Valdur Lahtvee

    Member of the Riigikogu, Chairman of the Estonian Green Party Faction

Involvement is much spoken about in Estonia but actual cooperation between the public and decision-makers rarely happens, not to speak about giving the right to make decisions to the public. Again an again, decision-makers find that they alone are the wisest and the most proper persons to set things right.

The public and public opinion is considered more of a hindering and disturbing factor. Therefore, involving is dealt with only so far as is required by Acts or internal rules. One of such negative examples where the principles of involvement were trampled underfoot to a significant degree is the draft of the Oil Shale Use National Development Plan submitted to the Ministry of the Environment by the relevant working group in 2007. It was prepared with involvement of many different interest groups whose proposals were indeed taken into account. Unfortunately, later, the ministry made a number of fundamental changes strictly in the interests of oil shale mining enterprises in this draft development plan and its implementation plan unilaterally, in secrecy from the public and interest groups. With significant changes to the draft, without involving interest groups and the public, the process of public involvement at the time of preparation of the draft of the oil shale use development plan which the Ministry of the Environment had up to then tried to demonstrate as a model involvement of the public was essentially nullified.

Full article in Estonian