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IMPEL Network Meeting at Brdo

Representatives of the IMPEL network met at Brdo pri Kranju today, 28 May 2008. The main topic under discussion at the three-day meeting (28–30 May 2008) will be environmental protection.

The IMPEL network was established in 1992 as an informal association of regulatory (legislative) authorities of European countries competent for the implementation and realisation of environmental legislation. In terms of content, the association operates particularly in three key areas of environmental protection: improvement and simplification of legislation, licensing procedures and inspection supervision, and cross-border shipment of waste. Slovenia has been an active member of the IMPEL network since 1997. It cooperates in network working bodies and in specific projects, such as supervision of cross-border shipment of waste in ports. The task of national coordinator is carried out by the Inspectorate for the Environment and Spatial Planning.

The meeting is significant from the point of view of regulating the new status of the network changing from an informal to a formal association. The decision on the status change to an independent legal entity was taken at the IMPEL Network Plenary Meeting in Lisbon in November 2007. The articles of association for the new association as a non-profit organisation were signed on 31 March 2008, with a temporary administration headed by Mr Gerard Wolters, Inspector General of the Netherlands Inspectorate for Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment. At the first General Assembly taking place in Ljubljana in these days, the first chairmanship will be confirmed and internal rules and a working programme for 2009 will be adopted. The new organisation will start work as a full legal entity on 1 January 2009.

Participants were welcomed by the Chief National Inspector from the Inspectorate of the Republic of Slovenia for the Environment and Spatial Planning, Ms Bojana Pohar. She emphasised the significance of realising the main idea which resulted in establishing this organisation and ensuring that existing legislation is systematically implemented and enforced. She highlighted the outstanding value of the informal status of the network, which does not wish to become an administrative mill serving its own purpose but rather hopes to plan in advance and create applicable projects intended for specific implementation in order to help inspectors and other regulatory authorities.

The meeting was attended also by Human Rights Ombudsman Zdenka Čebašek Travnik, who in her address stressed the significance of human rights in the environmental management system. She undertook to recognise human rights for all, irrespective of their social or political status. Environmental protection measures cannot be effective if they are carried out only by certain states. Therefore, international cooperation is urgently needed for effective environmental protection. It is in this very context of integration that the IMPEL organisation works.

On the second and third day of the meeting, participants will discuss other environmental protection issues. Project final reports completed in 2007 in the area of cross-border shipment of waste, industrial accidents and fines for infringing environmental protection in EU Member States will be presented. Participants will further discuss the work plan for 2009 and proposals for new projects in this period.


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Date: 28.05.2008