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Environment

Since 1979, 16 international legally binding instruments – 5 conventions and 11 protocols[1] – have been developed within the UNECE on air pollution, environmental impact assessment, industrial accidents, transboundary waters and public participation. These treaties, which are important elements of a common European legal framework, are concrete and effective instruments to bridge the former dividing line between East and West and to integrate countries with economies in transition into a pan-European legal and economic space.

Environmental conventions and protocols

1. Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, done at Geneva, on 13 November 1979

There are eight Protocols to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

  • Protocol on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP), done at Geneva, on 28 September 1984
  • Protocol on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions or their Transboundary Fluxes by at least 30 per cent, done at Helsinki, on 8 July 1985
  • Protocol Concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes, done at Sofia, on 31 October 1988
  • Protocol Concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds or their Transboundary Fluxes, done at Geneva, on 18 November 1991
  • Protocol on Further Reduction of Sulphur Emissions, done at Oslo, on 14 June 1994
  • Protocol on Heavy Metals, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 24 June 1998
  • Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 24 June 1998
  • Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol), done at Gothenburg, Sweden, on 30 November 1999[2]

2. Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, done at Espoo, Finland, on 25 February 1991

  • Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, done at Kiev, on 21 May 2003 (in force since 11 July 2010)

3. Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, done at Helsinki, on 17 March 1992 (entered into force on 19 April 2000)

  • Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters, done at Kiev, on 21 May 2003 (not yet in force)

4. Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, done at Helsinki, on 17 March 1992

  • Protocol on Water and Health, done at London, on 17 June 1999
  • Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters, done at Kiev, on 21 May 2003 (not yet in force)

5. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 25 June 1998 (entered into force on 30 October 2001)

  • Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, done at Kiev, on 21 May 2003 (entered into force on 8 October 2009)

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


[1]A twelfth Protocol – the Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters – was adopted in Kyiv on 21 May 2003 but is not yet in force. The Protocol is a joint instrument of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.

[2]The Gothenburg Protocol and the Protocol on Heavy Metals were amended in 2012; the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants was amended in 2009. The amended Protocols are not yet in force.


© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013