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From left to right: Maka Zumbulidze, Keti Jibladze and Sophiko Akhobadze - REC Caucasus, Georgia;
Zurab Jincharadze - representative of the EUWI+ project in Georgia. © OIEau
 

This two-day workshop took place in the Georgian capital Tbilisi (26-27 February) in the framework of the EUWI+ project. It aimed at developing a set of guidelines for public consultations based on past experiences in the participating countries and on best practices developed under the European Union Water Framework Directive.

45 participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine as well as French experts from the International Office for Water took part in this workshop and shared practices and experiences of how to design, perform and evaluate public consultation on river basin management plans.

The workshop was organised as part of the EUWI+ project ahead of public consultations on the draft river basin management plans (including the programme of measures), due to be held in the next few months in the six Eastern Partnership countries.

Need to involve the general public more

 

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From left to right: Natacha Jacquin - French expert at the International Office for Water;
Gulnar Aliyeva - communication contractor for the EUWI+ project in Azerbaijan; Gvantsa Sivsivadze – senior specialist of Water Division,
Environment and Climate Change Department (MEPA), Georgia; Rafig Verdiyev - representative of the EUWI+ project in Azerbaijan;
Jeyhuna Mammadova - communication consultant, Azerbaijan. © OIEau
 

Theoretical information sessions, discussions and practical exercises on public consultations were part of the programme.

Participants noted that involving members of the public is more difficult than engaging with technical experts. It involves converting technical information into communicative documents that are as clear and concrete as possible for the public. Participants from Armenia, Ukraine and Belarus shared their experience of implementing an awareness and information campaign for the wider public.

Guidelines for fruitful public consultations
 
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From left to right: Nazik Jzmachyan-Chief Specialist from the Basin Planning Division, WRMA, Ministry of Environment, Armenia;
Mariam Mezhunts - Chief Specialist from Hrazdan BMO, Armenia; Mariana Codreanu - Agency Apele Moldovei, Moldova. ©OIEau
 

The six countries conducted a public consultation phase on the first part of the RBMP (main issues or problems) in spring 2019. Participants pointed out that some methods and tools are already being implemented and work well in their countries. Discussions also identified challenges, such as the time it takes to prepare all necessary documents prior to consultations, and the possibility of tailoring questionnaires and consultation tools to the target public.

Many techniques and tools were thus presented to facilitate the consultation process. One of the main steps is to identify the stakeholders in the process (mapping the different groups with an interest in or directly affected by the river basin management plan). The second step involves taking action (face-to-face meetings, dissemination of questionnaires) and evaluating the consultation process (how to collect and take into account feedback).   

 

List of presentations

Organisation of public consultations (design, process and reporting)

Communication and awareness-raising aimed at the general public

Active participation of stakeholders: river basin organisations