Ministry of Energy, Development and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Serbia and the Environmental Protection Agency of the Republic of Serbia, with the support of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), have conducted a project of the development of the Ecoregister, which represents the National Metaregister for Environmental Information. The project was conducted during 2012, and it represented a part of the implementation process of the Strategy for the Implementation of the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters – the Aarhus Convention („Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”, No. 103/11). Ecoregister represents an electronic database and a portal to the existing databases and documents with environmental information that are available on the Internet. Ecoregister comprises environmental information that is kept and maintained by responsible ministries, agencies, local governments, protected area managers, as well as the available data on the state of all segments of the environment (air, water and soil pollution), waste, pollution emitters, flora and fauna, etc. The Ecoregister is created as a sub-domain on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency at the following address: http://www.ekoregistar.sepa.gov.rs. A public promotion of the Ecoregister was held in Belgrade on 12 December 2012. The Ecoregister has been operational since January 2013. The main aim of the Ecoregister establishment is to provide quick, easy and simple public access to environmental information, and to improve general availability of such information for the general public. For the information that is not available in electronic or other formats, Ecoregister will contain information about institutions that are responsible for their publishing and maintenance, with the contact data of responsible persons in those institutions, and the description of the application procedure for the access to information. By applying various interactive search systems, users are provided with easy retrieval of the information they need, as well as with a direct access to documents that are available online, while regarding the information that is not available on the Internet, necessary contact data of responsible institutions are provided. The simple database search option is provided in the upper part of each webpage, where the title or a part of the tile of the needed document can be entered. Furthermore, database search can be also accessed by choosing the option “Search” from the main menu and selecting one of the four basic types of search from the drop-down menu: “Advanced search”, “Search by maps”, “Index of documents” or “Index of institutions”. Using the option “Advanced search”, database can be searched by selecting the type of the document (e.g. whether the document in question is a law, a study, etc.), the topic that the document deals with (e.g. biodiversity, air quality, climate change, etc.), responsible institution, etc. By choosing the option “Search by maps”, users can access four interactive maps that present municipalities, cities, larger protected areas and the major enterprises on the territory of Serbia, and the document can be accessed by selecting responsible institution from the map or drop-down lists. Similar search option is “Index of institutions”, which presents alphabetically ordered list of all institutions and organizations that hold environmental information. “Index of documents” represents the list of all documents registered in the database. If the searched document is already available on the Internet, it can be accessed directly through the database. If the document is not available online, database will present contact information of the responsible institution, which can be contacted regarding the access to the needed document.
National metaregister for environmental information in the Republic of Serbia
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