The Aarhus Convention

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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

The Aarhus Convention

Supporting the Aarhus Convention Implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

OSCE Workshop, Ilidza, Sarajevo

17
-
18 May, 2010



Ms. Fe Sanchis
-
Moreno

Environmental Affairs Officer

Aarhus Convention Secretariat

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

2

Implementation of the Aarhus Convention


Introduction


Review of implementation: national implementation
reports


Review of implementation: compliance mechanism


Other Aarhus Convention bodies


Work of the Secretariat


The Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers Protocol


The Aarhus Centres

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

3

Introduction
-

Art. 3 (1)


General Provisions


“Each Party shall take the necessary legislative,
regulatory and other measures, including measures to
achieve compatibility between the provisions
implementing the information, public participation and
access to justice provisions in this Convention, as well
as proper enforcement measures, to establish and
maintain a clear, transparent and consistent
framework to implement the provisions of this
Convention”

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

4

Introduction
-

Art. 3


General Provisions


Officials and authorities assist and provide guidance to
the public in exercising Aarhus’ rights


Promotion of environmental education and
environmental awareness among the public, especially
on Aarhus’ rights


Appropriate recognition of and support to associations,
organisations or groups promoting environmental
protection (national legal system is consistent with it)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

5

Introduction
-

Art. 3


General Provisions


Parties may maintain or introduce measures providing
for broader exercise of Aarhus’ rights


The Convention shall not require any derogation from
existing rights


Obligation to promote the application of the principles
of the Aarhus Convention in international
environmental decision
-
making processes and within
the framework of international organisations in matters
relating to the environment

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

6

Introduction
-

Art. 3


General Provisions


Ensure that persons exercising Aarhus’ rights are not
penalised, persecuted or harassed in any way



Public shall exercise Aarhus' rights without
discrimination as to citizenship, nationality or domicile
and, in the case of a legal person, without
discrimination as to where it has its registered seat or
an effective centre of its activities.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

7

Introduction


Access to Information and Public
Participation


Art. 4


Access to environmental information


Art. 5


Collection and dissemination of environmental
information


Art. 6


Public participation in decisions on specific activities


Art. 7


Public participation concerning plans, programmes and
policies relating to the environment


Art. 8


Public participation during the preparation of executive
regulations and/or generally applicable legally binding
normative instruments

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

8

Introduction


Access to Justice


Art. 9 (1)


Access to information review procedure


Art. 9 (2)


Public participation in decision making
-
process
review procedure


Art. 9 (3)


Breach of national environmental legislation
administrative or judicial procedures


Art. 9 (4)


Common requirements and injunctive relief


Art. 9 (5)


Information to the public and assistance mechanisms
to remove or reduce financial and other barriers


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

9

Review of implementation


National Implementation
Reports


Art. 10(2), at their meetings, the Parties shall keep
under continuous review the implementation on the
basis of regular reporting


Decision I/8 on Reporting Requirements (2002):
Parties are obliged to submit a report on the legislative,
regulatory and other measures taken to implement the
provisions of the Convention


Format: Annex of Decision I/8

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

10

Review of implementation


National Implementation
Reports


Prepare reports through a transparent and consultative
process involving the public


Submit reports to secretariat electronically and on
paper


In one of the official languages of the Convention, as
well as in the language(s) of the Party


Secretariat obliged to produce a synthesis report
summarizing the progress made and identifying
significant trends, challenges and solutions

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

11

Review of implementation


National Implementation
Reports


Decision I/8 (2002) and its annex is available at:



English:
http://www.unece.org/env/pp/documents/mop1/ece.mp
.pp.2.add.9.e.pdf



Russian:
http://www.unece.org/env/pp/documents/mop1/ece.mp
.pp.2.add.9.r.pdf



United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

12

Review of implementation


National Implementation
Reports


Decision II/10: reports should be submitted to the
secretariat 180 days in advance of the meeting of the
Parties


Next MoP 6 June 2011


NIRs should be submitted to
the Secretariat by 6 December 2010


Geneva, 30 June 2010
-

Training session on
preparation of national implementation reports


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

13

Review of implementation


Compliance Mechanism


Article 15


Non
-
confrontational


Non
-
judicial


Consultative


Public involvement


Communications from members of the public


1st MoP, Lucca 2002


Decision I/7 on review of compliance
and election of the first Compliance Committee (9 members
appointed in their personal capacity)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

14

Review of implementation


Compliance Committee
functions


Examine compliance issues and make
recommendations on its own initiative


Report on compliance with or implementation of the
provisions of the Convention at the request of the MoP


Monitor, assess and facilitate the implementation of
and compliance with the reporting requirements under
article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

15

Review of implementation


Compliance Committee
functions

1.

Submission made by a Party about another
Party (Romania v Ukraine
-

ACCC/S/2004/01
-

Bystre Canal project in the Danube Delta
)

2.

Submission made by a Party about itself

3.

Referrals by the Secretariat

4.

Communications made by the public (49
communications)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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Review of implementation


Compliance Committee
Findings and Recommendations

MoP
-
2, Almaty 2005




Decision II/5,

-


Decision II/5a (Kazakhstan, art. 9(1)),

-
Decision II/5b (Ukraine), and

-
Decision II/5c (Turkmenistan)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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Review of implementation


Compliance Committee
Findings and Recommendations

MoP
-
3, Riga 2008





Decision III/6,

-
Decision III/6a (Albania),

-
Decision III/6b (Armenia, arts. 9(2) and 9(4)),

-
Decision III/6c (Kazakhstan, arts. 9(4) and 9(3)),

-
Decision III/6d (Lithuania, art. 9(2)),

-
Decision III/6e (Turkmenistan


conditional caution imposed),

-
Decision III/6f (Ukraine


conditional caution imposed)

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

18

Review of implementation


Compliance Committee


Guidance Document on Aarhus Convention
Compliance Mechanism
http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ccBackground.htm


Case Law of the Aarhus Convention Compliance
Committee (2004
-
2008)

http://www.rac.org.ua/index.php?id=27&L=1



Access to all Compliance Committee related
information at:

http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ccBackground.htm



United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

19


Other Aarhus Convention bodies


Task Force on Access to Justice


Task Force on Electronic Information Tools
-

Recommendations on the more effective use

of
electronic information tools to provide public access to

environmental information


Task Force on Public Participation in International
Forums


Almaty Guidelines


Task Force on Public Participation in Decision
-
making
(provisionally established by the extraordinary MoP)


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

20

Role of the Aarhus Convention Secretariat


Not involved in legislation / practice of individual countries
transposing Convention


Serve to collect / disseminate information relevant for broad
range of countries, facilitate knowledge building


Sharing information useful for national implementation and
transposition of Convention & EU Directives


AC & PRTR Protocol Implementation Guides


Legislators, policy makers, judiciary, lawyers, IGOs, NGOs and
members of the public can use information in concrete, practical
way at the national level


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

21

Guides published to facilitate implementation



‘Aarhus Convention Implementation Guide’ (2000,
currently developing an updated version),
www.unece.org/env/pp/acig.pdf



‘Guidance on Implementation of the Protocol on
PRTRs’ (2008)
http://www.unece.org/env/pp/prtr.guidancedev.htm



United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

22

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

23

Aarhus Clearinghouse for Environmental Democracy


Available resources: 1,511


Multi
-
stakeholders approach


resources source:


Academia: 187


Government: 359


Intergovernmental organisations: 473


Non governmental organisations: 722


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

24

Aarhus clearinghouse upgrades:


Design and integrate links to Aarhus Convention
national reports database


New features to host a jurisprudence database


Add interactive flash map displaying Parties to the
Aarhus Convention


Improve site architecture for multilingual capabilities

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

25

Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers Protocol,
Kiev Protocol to the Aarhus Convention (Art. 5 (9))


Entered into force on 8 October 2009



Parties: 25 countries and the European Union



MoPP
-
1, Geneva 20
-
22 April 2010


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26

PRTR Protocol


Obligation on each Party to
establish a PRTR which is:


publicly accessible and user
-
friendly


presents standardized, timely data on a structured,
computerised database


covers releases and transfers from certain major point sources


begins to include some diffuse sources (e.g. transport,
agriculture, small
-

and medium
-
sized enterprises)


has limited confidentiality provisions


allows public participation in its development and
modification

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

27

PRTR Protocol


Obligation on each Party to
establish a PRTR based on a reporting system which
is:


mandatory


annual


multimedia (air, water and land)



facility
-
specific (point sources)


pollutant
-
specific for releases


pollutant
-
specific or waste
-
specific for transfers

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

28

PRTR Protocol


Facilities covered (Annex I) include:


Thermal power stations and refineries


Mining and metallurgical industries


Chemical plants


Waste and waste
-
water management plants


Paper and timber industries


Intensive livestock production and aquaculture


Food and beverage production

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

29

PRTR Protocol


Pollutants covered (Annex II)
include:


Greenhouse gases


Acid rain pollutants


Ozone
-
depleting substances


Heavy metals


Certain carcinogens, such as dioxins


TOTAL: 86 pollutants


Note: National registers may include additional
facilities and substances

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

30

Outcome of first session of the Meeting of the Parties
to the PRTR Protocol to the Aarhus Convention


Geneva Declaration


Decisions


Work program


Bodies


Reporting on Implementation


Compliance


Future: further collaboration in the region


Capacity building


New Parties

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

32

PRTR.net upgrades:



Content management system



Better handling of languages



GIS mapping data

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

33

Aarhus Centers


Centres for information exchange and dissemination


Outreach to public, target groups


Resource partner for public authorities & NGOs


Expertise


Logistical support


Facilitation of meetings


Can serve as third party to mediate between public
authorities and civil society in participation process

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

34

Thank you for your attention!

fe.sanchis
-
moreno@unece.org


Aarhus Convention website:

http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html



Aarhus Clearinghouse:

http://aarhusclearinghouse.unece.org

http://aarhusclearinghouse.org



PRTR.net:
http://www.prtr.net