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Discussion Group 2

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Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3291]
Dear Forum Participant,

Welcome to Theme 3 on "Timelines for providing information upon request".

We welcome you to answer the guiding questions listed below.

1. In your experience, do your national laws or administrative procedures set time limits within which information should be provided upon request?

2. Are these time limits complied with? If not, please specifiy.

3. In your opinion, are these time limits sufficient? If not, please specify.

4. What would be a reasonable maximum time limit for responding to requests for biosafety information? Are there provisions for extensions?

5. Are notices issued when the requested biosafety information is available?

Best regards,

Ulrika Nilsson
(edited on 2012-05-24 22:02 UTC by Ulrika Nilsson)
posted on 2012-05-24 17:33 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3528]
3. Timelines for providing information upon request
Need to be reasonable, depending on circomstances. 2 basic cases may be distinguished:
- Information available for provider
- Information needs to be collected, consultation with responsible authorities ar experts required etc.
Generally, time limit is done by legislation, e.g. 30 days period is used from the day of obtaining request by information provider. Under special circumstances, if some difficulties appear etc., this period can be extended, e.g. up to 60 days.
Milena Roudna
posted on 2012-06-11 15:27 UTC by Ph.D. Milena Roudna, Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic
RE: Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3544]
According to paragraphs 11 and 13 of the Specification of the procedure for the provision of information on the environment in the Republic of Lithuania to the public approved by Government Resolution No 1175 of 22 October 1999 (Official Gazette Valstybes Žinios, 1999, No 90-2660; 2005, No 26-831, 2010, No 19-864), information must be provided to the applicant within 14 calendar days of the date of receipt of the request. If an institution cannot reply to the applicant within 14 calendar days due to the scope and complexity of the information requested, the head of the institution may extend the time limit for replying by up to 14 calendar days, but the entire time limit may not be longer than a month of the date of receipt of the request.

Respectfully,
Gintare Blazauskiene (NFP)
GMO Division
Nature Protection Department
The Ministry of Environment of Lithuania
posted on 2012-06-12 07:32 UTC by Mrs. Gintarė Blažauskienė, Ministry of Environment
RE: Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3557]
1. Being under moratorium, no law or administrative procedure fixes any time to make available information on the biosafety.  In fact when the public asks for information on the biosafety today, this request is satisfied immediately as of reception with the request. 

2. There is not time, therefore it is useless to appreciate it. 

3. According to opinion, if there was a time in this case of information on the biosafety, I will have to suggest that it is more the cost that possible. 

4. Taking into account the subject related to the biosafety, a request for formulated information must be satisfied as of reception. 

5. Information on the biosafety is published in the newspapers of government and private. 

KAKPO Comlan Marcel
Benin NFP of PCB and BCH
posted on 2012-06-13 09:00 UTC by Mr. Comlan Marcel KAKPO, Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme
RE: Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3581]
In your experience, do your national laws or administrative procedures set time limits within which information should be provided upon request?

In the discharge of our duties as Philippine government employees,  we are guided by the provisions of Section 12 of Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees”, approved on February 20, 1989, and which took effect on March 25, 1989, conformably to Section 17 thereof and the following Rules are adopted and strictly followed in order to carry out the provisions of the said Code:

(e) Responsiveness to the public - Officials and employees shall extend prompt, courteous, and adequate service to the public. Unless otherwise provided by law or when required by the public interest, officials and employees shall provide information on their policies and procedures in clear and understandable language, ensure openness of information, public consultations and hearings whenever appropriate, encourage suggestions, simplify and systematize policy, rules and procedures, avoid red tape and develop an understanding and appreciation of the socio-economic conditions prevailing in the country, especially in the depressed rural and urban areas.
Rule VI : Duties of Public Officials and Employees

Section 1. As a general rule, when a request or petition, whether written or verbal, can be disposed of promptly and expeditiously the official and employee in charge to whom the same is presented shall do so immediately, without discrimination, and in no case beyond fifteen (15) working days from receipt of the request or petition.

Section 3. In case of written requests, petitions or motions, sent by means of letters, telegrams, or the like, the official or employee in charge shall act on the same within fifteen (15) working days from receipt thereof, provided that:

(b) If the communication is within the jurisdiction of the office or agency, the official and employee must:

(1) Write a note or letter of acknowledgement where the matter is merely routinary or the action desired may be acted upon in the ordinary course of business of the department, office or agency, specifying the date when the matter will be disposed of and the name of the official or employee in charge thereof.

(2) Where the matter is non-routinary or the issues involved are not simple or ordinary, write a note or letter of acknowledgement, informing the interested party, petitioner or correspondent of the action to be taken or when such requests, petitions or motions can be acted upon. Where there is a need to submit additional information, requirements, or documents, the note or letter of acknowledgement shall so state, specifying a reasonable period of time within which they should be submitted, and the name of the particular official or employee in charge thereof. When all the documents or requirements have been submitted to the satisfaction of the department or office or agency concerned, the particular official or employee in charge shall inform the interested party, petitioner, or correspondent of the action to be taken and when such action or disposition can be expected, barring unforeseen circumstances.

(c) If communication is outside its jurisdiction, the official or employee must:

(1) Refer the letter, petition, telegram, or verbal request to the proper department, office or agency.

(2) Acknowledge the communication by means of a note or letter, informing the interested party, petitioner, correspondent of the action taken and attaching a copy of the letter of the letter of referral to the proper department, office or agency.

The department, office or agency to which the letter, petition, telegram or verbal request was referred for appropriate action must take action in accordance with subsection (a), pars. 1 and 2 hereof.

The period of fifteen (15) working days herein provided shall be counted from the date of receipt of the written or verbal communication by the department, office or agency concerned.

Section 4. All official papers and documents must be processed and completed within a reasonable time from the preparation thereof. Reasonable time shall be determined in accordance with the following rules:

(b) When the law or the applicable rule issued in accordance therewith prescribes a period within which a decision is to be rendered or an action taken, the same shall be followed;

(c) When the law or the applicable rule issued in accordance therewith does not prescribe a period, the head of department, office or agency shall issue rules and regulations prescribing, among other things, what is reasonable time, taking into account the following factors:

(1) Nature, simplicity or complexity of the subject matter of the official papers of documents processed by said department, office or agency.

(2) Completeness or inadequacy of requirements or of data and information necessary for decision or action;

(3) Lack of resources caused by circumstances beyond the control of the department, office or agency or official or employee concerned;

(4) Legal constraints such as restraining orders and injunctions issued by proper judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative authorities; and

(5) Fault, failure or negligence of the party concerned which renders decision or action not possible or premature; and

(6) Fortuitous events or force majeure.
Section 6. All public documents must be made accessible to, and readily available for inspection by, the public during working hours, except those provided in Section 3. Rule IV.

Reference: http://excell.csc.gov.ph/cscweb/RA6713.html;
posted on 2012-06-15 09:13 UTC by Ms. Julieta Fe L. Estacio, Philippines
RE: Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3598]
1. In your experience, do your national laws or administrative procedures set time limits within which information should be provided upon request?
        Yes, they do. The time limit of 2 weeks was usually set at all ministries and other government bodies for providing the information requested by the individual, legal entity or public association. The request can be made in verbal, written or electronic form
        Time limits are prescribed in the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Citizen and Legal Entity Requests” of July 18, 2011, No.300-З. The Article 17 of this law says the following: “3. The written requests must be reviewed no later than 15 days, and requests which require further study and validation – no later than one month, if other period was not set by legislative regulations.  If the solution of the problems described in the request needs performing certain actions (works, services), information from a foreign country within the period exceeding one month, the applicants shall be notified about the reasons for exceeding one month and period of such actions (works, services) or the term consideration of appeal merit within five days from the  date of renewal of the processing application.” 

2. Are these time limits complied with? If not, please specify.    
      Yes, these time limits are complied with. 

3. In your opinion, are these time limits sufficient? If not, please specify.    
       Yes, these time limits are sufficient.

4. What would be a reasonable maximum time limit for responding to requests for biosafety information? Are there provisions for extensions?
      The maximum time limits prescribed in the law mentioned above for responding to requests for biosafety information are reasonable and they can be extended if it is be necessary.

5. Are notices issued when the requested biosafety information is available?
        Yes, they are. The notices are issued upon each request. Notice is issued even if the requested biosafety information is not available.

BCH NFP Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
posted on 2012-06-16 13:24 UTC by Assoc. Prof. Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
RE: Theme 3: Timelines for providing information upon request [#3638]
Posted on behalf of Ms. Mahlet Teshome Kebebe, African Union:

A reasonable time line is what is to be expected in this context. This time line should not exceed the period between the receipt of notification until the time of authorization where public participation ( in decision making) is considered
posted on 2012-06-19 13:39 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety