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Abstract

International environmental cooperation efforts throw environmental professionals together to work, without considering the very different life experiences, legal traditions and cultural framework that each bring to the work. As the work they do together is inherently sensitive - often, the purpose is to write new laws or develop new policies for national application -- this failure explicitly to consider the perspectives of the professionals is puzzling. Two environmental lawyers-one American, one Hungarian-who worked together over the course of 18 months in an effort designed to breathe life into provisions of the Aarhus Convention by improving public access to environmental information held by government bodies, examine the nature and content of their communication, and how that affected their end product. This case study discloses that the authors had very different ideas about what needed to be accomplished in the project, indeed of the very purpose of tools for increasing environmental public participation. It suggests ways in which communication can be facilitated in future such efforts.

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