Better Access to Justice in Western Balkan Countries

Better Access to Justice in Western Balkan Countries

Source of funding


Name of client/donor

German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; Umwelt Bundesamt (Advisory Assistance programme)

Overall project value

EUR 222,195


September 2016 – August 2018

Beneficiary countries

Albania | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Kosovo* | Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia | Montenegro | Serbia

Number of staff


Since the mid-2000s, the countries of South Eastern Europe (SEE) have undergone a challenging process of harmonising their laws and institutions with the Aarhus Convention  and related EU directives. The legislative and administrative frameworks and judicial practices in these countries have been further enhanced to provide the basis for the implementation of recently adopted legislation. The countries have thus made a significant advance in ensuring access to justice in environmental matters. Although considerable efforts have been devoted to developing legislation and institutional capacity and increasing  the knowledge of stakeholders, there is still much to be done in order to ensure the means and tools for practical implementation.

The project focuses on five SEE countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) that are parties to the Aarhus Convention. It also includes Kosovo*, where interest has been shown and efforts made to implement the principles of the Aarhus Convention in legislation and practice. 

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

The overall project goal is to provide targeted support to the selected Aarhus Convention parties, and to stakeholders in the SEE region, to further reduce the gaps in relation to access to justice under the convention. 


The project will strengthen the capacities of officials responsible for the implementation of the Aarhus Convention. It will also increase the knowledge and awareness of judges, legal professionals and NGOs on access to justice in environmental matters and will enable NGOs to gain the necessary skills to enforce their rights.

Project activities include:

  • support to civil society through the development of guidance materials;
  • the design and organisation of two-day NGO trainings in the national language in selected countries;
  • the collection of local case studies/demonstration cases on access to justice;
  • training for judges and legal professionals; and
  • a comparative analytical study on the scope of review in access to justice in SEE countries.
  • CSO support
  • Training and capacity building
  • Collection of case studies

Project Publications