Environmental Democracy Index Score
Estonia, a signatory to the legally binding Aarhus Convention on environmental democracy, scored very well on the Transparency pillar, well on the Justice pillar, and fair on the Participation pillar. Estonian law establishes a right to access environmental information, and the government is obliged to proactively make environmental information publicly available. Regarding the Participation pillar, while most laws require government agencies to account for public input in decisions on environmental matters, the government has discretion whether to seek public input in the preparation of legally binding environmental rules. As for the Justice pillar, the law establishes review procedures applicable to decisions on environmental information requests, but the public cannot challenge decisions by private actors that impact the environment. By addressing these issues, Estonia could further promote environmental democracy at the national level.
Note: The EDI research for Estonia took place before the General Part of the Environmental Code went into force in August, 2014. It will be considered in the next version of ED
Visit the Environmental Democracy Index to explore the EDI score.
Estonia ratified the Aarhus Convention on the 6th of June 2001. Estonia has established the right to access environmental information, and the government is obliged to proactively make environmental information publicly available. In general, Estonia has strong transparency and access to justice laws, and fair laws on public participation. Legislation on these principles is quite good, but there is a problem of implementation. Lack of resources and few incentives mean that very often officials consider dissemination of information and public involvement as troublesome extra work, with little positive outcomes. Therefore it is very important to build the capacity of government authorities. At the same time capacity building of the public is crucial as well. An informed public is more alert to problems and more capable of discussing issues.
The national lead organization of the Estonia TAI chapter is Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn Centre (SEI-Tallinn). SEI-Tallinn is a key national expert on environment and energy, sustainable development and number of policy issues in the Estonian society.
The TAI Estonia conducted a TAI assessment between December 2003 - May 2004, and performed a sectoral assessment of the water sector in Estonia (2005–2006).