Green Chair

"Green Chair" is a mechanism that allows the participation of NGOs in the work of the Committee on Environment of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

Environment protection Political and social inclusion

Green Chair

On Earth Day (April 22) 2013 a round table and a session of the Committee for Environmental Protection was held in the National Assembly. Round table was organized around the issue of public participation in law-making. The Committee Chair, Milica Markovic Vojić promised to make good use of the rules of procedure and establish the so-called “Green Chair”in the Committee as a permanent fixture.

Many would say how that was a small step, one that would not bring anything new. I on the other hand have always followed this logic: when you win some space it becomes very difficult to throw you out. What remains now is to prove worthy of this trust that was given to us, as we expect other parliamentary committees to follow this example; the Committee for Human Rights and Gender Equality before others. Immediately after the round table was over, representatives of civil society organizations present started discussing how this mechanism should need to look in order to be functional.

How will the mechanism look like?

In theory the mechanism should look like this: as Ms. Markovic Vojic had no preference in regard to which organization should be made responsible for “Green Chair”, together, we decided this should be Young Researchers of Serbia (YRS). It was their task to look for appropriate experts and organizations in accordance with the proposed agenda. Once experts accepted the invitation to participate, YRS proposed them to the Committee.

conclude 600x300 2Experts immediately started working on a platform which was submitted at the Committee, as a starting point that would guarantee that they do not speak in their own name but on behalf of registered CSOs. To the proposed platform all can make suggestions. Once the session ends, experts are invited to report on the events and their efforts, as well as the proposals that have been reached.

Creating a database

In order to create the relevant databases of experts / activists, agreement was reached that the YRS should set up a questionnaire on its online platform. Along with link to the questionnaire a letter was sent in which we explained the idea behind the “Green Chair”. Letters were then sent to all mailing lists to which we could reach. We felt that this was a fair proposal, giving everyone a chance to participate.

39 civil society organizations sent their proposals and proposed experts. We now have a base that will be used in accordance with the agenda of future sessions of the Committee.

Conclusion

All this will take time, as it has never been done before. But, we know we are setting a good example and think how this presents a great opportunity for all organizations active in the field of environment protection to demonstrate their capacity and expertise and help the members of the Committee who formulate the policy agenda. Recommendations and suggestions that can contribute to process improvement are, of course, welcome.

Milos Djajic, Center of Modern Skills

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