At the beginning of 2023, Green Liberty announced 2023 as the Year for Environmental Advocacy in Latvia. Active people, emerging environmentalists and members of various organisations met in a full-day opening event on 3 March 2023 in Riga to explore different opportunities and exchange experiences on public participation and environmental advocacy, as well as to share tips and tricks on how to give society a greater say in policy and public finance spending decision making.
The event provided a chance to learn about the impact of various European Union funds on the implementation of the Green Deal in Latvia the possibilities to influence the use of these funds in a climate, environment and biodiversity-friendly direction:
- Zane Legzdiņa-Joja from the State Chancellery of Latvia gave an overview of the various opportunities for public participation in national decision making.
- Anita Kalniņa from Ministry of Finance took participiants through the process of planning, implementation and supervision of Latvia’s use of EU funds and indicated best opportunities for public participation.
- Iveta Kažoka from Providus – centre for public policy and Viesturs Ķerus from Latvian Ornithological Society (BirdLife International) shared the experience of their organisations – best methods and ways to achieve positive outcomes for the environment, nature and society. They reflected on their experience of organising focus groups, informational campaigns, lobby work, and even going to court for specific environmental issues.
- Lilija Apine and Valters Kinna from Green Liberty provided a fresh overview of the investments planned within various European Union funds, which can affect the environment, climate and biodiversity in both – positive and negative ways.
- Lilija Apine presented and encouraged organisations to take part in the EU Funds Monitoring Committee, which is a real chance to influence in a positive way, how EU funding is spent.
Participants shared their ideas for various ways to make public participation and consultations in Latvia more meaningful and in line with the goals of the European Green Deal. Many useful ideas were generated, which will be combined with the outcomes of other events held during the Year for Environmental Advocacy in Latvia and then presented to national decision and EU level decision makers.
The event was co-funded by the European Union and the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).