AUSTRIAN OMBUDSMAN BOARD SUPPORTS JAPANESE RESEARCH PROJECT
In his PhD thesis Mr Shindo examined to what extent Parliamentary Ombudsman can enhance the quality of administrative environmental decision making. Through field research in New Zealand, Australia and Hungary he was able to clarify that Ombudsman institutions do improve the quality of such decision making processes.
In his current research project Mr Shindo moves his focus from the national to the regional level, i.e. the European Union. His field research includes surveys in Austria, Hungary, Ireland and Sweden and examines the cooperation Ombudsman institutions in the respective countries have with the Institution of the European Ombudsman as well as the influence of the Arhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC) on the Ombudsman’s activities.
The situation in Austria was of specific interest for Mr Shindo, as Austria disposes of a national Ombudsman institution – the Austrian Ombudsman Board – as well as Environmental Ombudsman Offices in the respective provinces; all of which do deal with environmental matters. Within the context of the European Union, Mr Kräuter stressed the good cooperation between the Austrian Ombudsman Board and the Office of the European Ombudsman; most recently with an enquiry regarding the authorization procedures for pesticides and the possible connection this has with cases of higher bee mortality.
“Environmental matters affect us all and therefore should be our mutual concern. Cross-border cooperation on these issues is essential and the Austrian Ombudsman Board will continue to promote such cooperation”, explained Mr Kräuter. The Austrian Ombudsman Board was pleased to contribute its expertise to Mr Shindo’s academic work.