NOTIFICATION OF STATUS OF FEDERATION FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT AND RESPECTFUL, ALBEIT URGENT REQUEST FOR INCLUSION
Respected officials of State,
I, on behalf of and in the stead of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment, hereby give notice of the formation and registration of the Section 21 Company “Federation for a Sustainable Environment” (FSE) on the 10th of November, 2007. NPO/NGO status is pending (update: number is 062986-NPO). The FSE is supported by Adv. George Bizos and the Legal Resource Centre and consists of 21 NGO’s with international affiliations, in addition to civil society associations and academics, scientists, attorneys, advocates and academic institutions.
We shall appreciate your courtesy if the FSE is noted on your records and we hereby respectfully request FSE representation at all public participation forums, meetings, workshops, committees, etc. facilitated or organised by DEAT, DWAF, the NNR, and the DME.
By neglecting the incorporation of mandated representatives of the FSE who can influence the decisions within environmental matters, may inordinately disadvantage the public and the environment. It is important that the FSE, an overarching NGO representing NGO’s and civil society, especially affected parties within informal settlements or of previously disadvantaged backgrounds be afforded the capacity to participate fully in environmental decisions. It follows hence that for the proposed engagement with NGO’s to be effective, the contributions of all affected parties must be considered. All parties should be satisfied that an opportunity was given to all mandated NGO’s and civil society to raise concerns and to present argument and that the decisions of organs of state, whether in the local, provincial and national sphere of Government reflect the contributions made.
The correct interpretation of the meaning “participation” is reflected in section 2(4) of NEMA:
(f) The participation of all interested and affected parties in environmental governance must be promoted, and all people must have of the opportunity to develop the understanding, skills and capacity necessary for achieving equitable and effective participation, and participation by of vulnerable and disadvantaged the persons must be ensured.
The choice of words reflects an active involvement by interested and affected parties in the participation process. The word “participation” is used in favour of the more restrictive word “consultation”. Of importance is the duty to develop capacity to ensure effective communication. Please note that the purpose is not to ensure a good decision on the merits but for achieving equitable and effective participation. The creation of capacity is however regarded as essential. This would not be necessary if the action required of interested and affected parties is restricted to commenting. Such capacity is necessary since, in terms of the NEMA, a more sophisticated integrated interrelated and debating process is envisaged.
In anticipation, please accept my cordial thanks.
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF:
FEDERATION FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT