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Twenty-second meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention

19 - 21 June 2018

Salle XII, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

The twenty-second meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention was held from 19-21 June 2018 in Geneva (Palais des Nations, Salle XII). The Working Group was expected to review the progress in implementing the 2015-2017 and the current work programmes and discuss a number of items, including, progress achieved in promoting access to information, public participation and access to justice, and in ratification of the Convention's amendment on genetically modified organisms; financial matters; and promotion of the Convention and relevant developments and interlinkages. Two thematic sessions, on access to information and on promoting the application of the principles of the Convention in international forums, were held during the meeting. Further, a special segment to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Aarhus Convention was organized on the second day of the meeting.

Special Segment on the Anniversary of the adoption of the Aarhus Convention

For promotion material prepared for the Special Anniversary Segment, including statements, “speech bubbles” and good examples on implementation, please click here.

On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Aarhus Convention, the meeting featured a special segment during which delegates heard testimonies by former and present Chairs of different bodies of the Convention, representatives of Governments, non-governmental organizations, academia and other experts, who played an important role in promoting the Convention. Moreover, youth was invited to discuss with delegates how they considered Aarhus rights help them to create a sustainable future. Parties and different stakeholders were also given opportunity to network and explored potential areas for matching needs with the available expertise. In addition, Parties and stakeholders were invited to contribute to several communication activities that were planned to mark the Anniversary.
The detailed programme for the Anniversary Segment and other material is available on the meeting web page. (please see tab below).

Prior to the meeting of the Working Group of the Parties a special Anniversary Event to celebrate the 20 years of the adoption of the Aarhus Convention was held in Rome on 15-16 May 2018. The Rome Anniversary Event was organized by Italy in cooperation with the secretariat of the Aarhus Convention and European Environmental Bureau. The Event provided the first opportunity to look back at the time when the Aarhus Convention was negotiated as to reflect the main challenges and to debate the present critical issues and the way forward. The meeting was unique in its format, as it allowed Parties, NGOs and other stakeholders to share their views in an open and rather informal way (see programme of the event). The outcomes of the Event were brought to the discussion at the 22nd meeting of the Working Group of the Parties (Geneva, 19-21 June 2018), in particular in the context of reviewing the role of the Convention in furthering SDGs and its use by Youth.

Thematic session on access to information

A thematic session on access to information was organized in the format of an interactive panel discussion followed by a general discussion on several subjects, including: (a) the benefits of providing public access to environmental information and the challenges encountered; (b) the scope of environmental information; (c) the providers of information; (d) exceptions to the provision of information and grounds for refusal; (e) the format of the information to be provided and timeliness; and (f) dissemination of real-time, up-to-date, accurate and functional environmental information in forms and formats meeting the needs of different users. The detailed programme for the thematic session is available on the meeting web page (please see tab below).

Thematic session on the promotion of the principles of the Convention in international forums

The meeting featured a thematic session on promoting the application of the principles of the Convention in international forums. The session focussed primarily on the promotion of transparency and effective public participation in international decision-making on chemicals and waste. This included panel presentations and round table discussion on processes under the United Nations Environment Programme’s Chemical Conventions (Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions), the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

In addition, the Working Group considered progress made with regard to items discussed at the previous thematic sessions. This included
(i) climate-related processes with the focus on lessons learned from the twenty-third session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and preparations for COP-24;
(ii) stakeholder engagement in the United Nations Environment Assembly and the UNEP access to information policies;
(iii) Sustainable Development Goals-related processes; and
(iv) International Financial Institutions-related processes.
The Working Group also addressed crosscutting issues related to international decision-making (e.g., hosting of an international event; identification of the public). The detailed programme for the thematic session is available on the meeting web page (please see tab below).

 

 

Documents 

Document titleENGFRERUS
Provisional Agenda, (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2018/1)PDFPDFPDF
List of decisions and major outcomes, (AC/WGP-22/Inf.1)  PDF
Item 3(c)
Report of the Task Force on Access to Justice on its eleventh meeting, (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2018/3)PDFPDFPDF
Item 5
Expression of intention by Guinea-Bissau to accede to the Convention, (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2018/6)PDFPDFPDF
Item 6
Report on the implementation of the work programmes for 2015–2017 and 2018–2021, (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2018/4)PDFPDFPDF
Report on contributions and expenditures in relation to the implementation of the Convention’s work programmes for 2015–2017 and 2018–2021, (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2018/5)PDFPDFPDF
Note on contributions and pledges received after 16 March 2018 (AC/WGP-22/Inf.3)  PDF

 

 

 

Statements and Presentations

Document TitleENGFRERUS
Statements by the EU and its Member States
Item 1: Opening of the meeting and adoption of the agendaPDF
Item 3(b): Public participation in Decision-making (PPDM)PDF
Item 3(c): Access to justicePDF
Item 3(d): Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)PDF
Item 4(a): Compliance mechanismPDF
Item 4(c): Capacity-building and awareness-raisingPDF
Item 5: Accession to the Convention by States from outside the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe region and other relevant developments and interlinkages related to the promotion of the Convention and its principlesPDF
Item 6: Implementation of the work programmes for 2015–2017 and
2018–2021, including financial matters
PDF
Item 13: Adoption of outcomesPDF
Statements by Norway
Item 3(a): Thematic Session on Access to InformationPDF
Item 4(a): Compliance mechanismPDF
Item 6: Implementation of the work programmes, including financial mattersPDF
Statement by UN ECLAC
UN ECLAC statement, The Escazu AgreementPDF
Statements by the European ECO Forum and other NGOs
Statement by the European ECO Forum on compliance mechanism (1)PDF
Statement by the European ECO Forum on compliance mechanism (2)PDF
Statement by Ecohome on article 3 (8)PDFPDF
Statement by WRI on Escazu ConventionPDF

Statement by Justice and Environment on access to justice

PDF
Statement by Rosa Arias, Ibercivis, SpainPDF
Statement by Filip Spirovski, NGO Journalists for Human RightsPDF

 

 

 

Anniversary Segment

 

Document TitleENGFRERUS
Anniversary of the adoption of the Aarhus Convention - Provisional programme (AC/WGP-22/Inf.4)PDF
Aarhus Convention - Celebrating Twenty Years Promoting Environmental DemocracyPDF
Opening of the special segment
Key note statement
Ms. Martine Rohn-Brossard, Federal Office for the Environment, SwitzerlandPDF
Ms. Maria Kolesnikova, MoveGreen Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan PDF
PDF
20th anniversary on the adoption of the Aarhus Convention (video) link
Aarhus Storytelling
Ms. Eva Juul Jensen, Ministry of Environment and Food, DenmarkPDF
Setting the Scene
Mr. Massimo Cozzone, Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy
Key messages from the Rome Anniversary Event
PDF
Stories Part I - Convention's Early Days and Evolution
Mr. Jit Peters
Member of the delegation of the Netherlands participated in negotiations on the Aarhus
Convention; Chair of the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties
PDF
Mr. Jerzy Jendrośka
Vice-chair of the negotiations on the Aarhus Convention (1996-1998); current member of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; participating expert in negotiations on the regional agreement on Principle 10 in the Latin America and the Caribbean
PDF
Stories Part II - Convention's Implementation in the Region and its Global Significance
Mr. Luc Lavrysen
Belgian Constitutional Court; the EU Forum of Judges for the Environment
PDF
Mr. Etienne Ballan
Former Chair of the Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums
PDF
Mr. Andriy Andrusevych
Society and Environment NGO, on behalf of the European ECO Forum
PDF
Mr. Csaba Kiss
NGO Justice and Environment
PDF
Ms. Summer Kern
Justice and Environment Austria/European ECO Forum
PDF
Youth, Aarhus and the Sustainable Development Goals
Mr. John Knox, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment (video message)link
Mr. Martijn Visser, Dutch Youth Delegate on Sustainable Development to the United NationsPDF
Mr. Ikrom Mamadov, Aarhus Center Khujand, Tajikistan PDF
Ms. Liliya Lyubomudrova, U-report Ukraine / Adolescent Development Officer at UNICEF Ukraine

PDF
Mr. Jonas Schubert, Terre des HommesPDF
Takeaways from Special Segment-Reflections on Discussions

 

 

 

AI Thematic Session

 

Document TitleENGFRERUS
Provisional programme (AC/WGP-22/Inf.2)PDF
Item 3 (a)
Substantive issues: Thematic session on access to information
I. Setting the scene
Mr. Adrian Panciuc, Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment of the Republic of Moldova (on behalf of the Chair of the Task Force on Access to Information)PDF
Ms. Ana Barreira, Director, IIDMA; European ECO ForumPDF
II. The scope of environmental information and its providers
Ms. Nino Gokhelashvili, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of GeorgiaPDF
III. Ensuring restrictive interpretation and the consideration of the public interest when applying grounds for refusal
Ms. Gordana Petkovic, Ministry of Environmental Protection of SerbiaPDF
IV. The format of the information to be provided and timeliness
Ms. Saule Tashkenbaeva, Ministry of Energy of KazakhstanPDFPDF
V. Dissemination of environmental information
Ms Angelika Wiedner, European CommissionPDF

 

 

 

PPIF Thematic session 

Document TitleENGFRERUS
Provisional Programme of the thematic session on the promotion of the Aarhus Convention's principles in international forums(AC/WGP-22/Inf.5)PDF
Results of the Survey for Parties in Preparation for the Thematic Session on Promoting the Principles of the Convention in international Forums (AC/WGP-22/Inf.6)PDF
Note on the rules of procedure and practices of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions (AC/WGP-22/Inf.7)PDF
Note on the rules of procedure and practices of the Minamata Convention on Mercury (AC/WGP-22/Inf.8)PDF
Note on the rules of procedure and practices of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) (AC/WGP-22/Inf.9)PDF
Written Statement of the UN Environment for the thematic session on promoting the principles of the Aarhus Convention in International ForaPDF
Stakeholder engagement in global and regional follow-up and review of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development GoalsPDF
Written Statement of the European Investment Bank for the thematic session on promoting the principles of the Aarhus Convention in International ForumsPDF
Update of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for the thematic session on promoting the principles of the Aarhus Convention in International ForumsPDF
Item 12: Thematic session on promotion of the principles of the Aarhus Convention in international forums
Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions
Public Participation in international decision-making regarding Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 
Ms. Susan Wingfield, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 
PDF

Public Participation in international decision-making regarding Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions 
Ms. Enkelejda Malaj, Head of Agreements, Cooperation and Assistance, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy of Albania

PDF
Aarhus principles in international decision-making on chemicals and waste
Mr. Martin Skalsky, Representative of the European ECO Forum and Arnika
PDF
Minamata Convention
Ms. Stéphanie Laruelle, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury PDF
Experience of the Slovak Republic regarding promotion of the principles of the Aarhus Convention in the processes of preparation, accession and implementation of Minamata Convention on Mercury
Ms. Tatiana Tökölyová, National Focal Point to the Aarhus Convention, Directorate of Environmental Policy, Ministry of Environment of Slovakia
PDF
Promotion of the Aarhus Convention principles in the Minamata Convention on Mercury
Ms. Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, Representative of the European ECO Forum and Project Manager “Zero Mercury Campaign”, European Environmental Bureau
PDF
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) 
Mr. Usman Tariq, Associate Programme Management Officer, Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) secretariat PDF
Promotion of Aarhus Principles in the SAICM Intersessional Process
Mr. Matthias Wolf, Policy officer, International Chemical Safety, Sustainable Chemistry Division, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany
PDF
Opportunities for PPIF
Mr. Yves Lador, Representative of the European ECO Forum and Earthjustice
PDF
Lessons learnt from COP-23 to UNFCCC and preparations for COP-24
Civil society participation at UNFCCC COP-24
Mr. Tomasz Chruszczow, Special Envoy for Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment of Poland
PDF
Statements by the European ECO Forum and other NGOs
Statement by the European ECO Forum on the promotion of the Aarhus principles at the UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA)PDF
Statement by the European ECO Forum on the promotion of the Aarhus principles in the context of the UNFCCC negotiationsPDF

 

 

 

CB Networking Event

 

Document TitleENGFRERUS
Networking for matching countries needs with the offers for support - Organization of Work (AC/WGP-22/Inf.10)PDF

 

 

 

Other material

Document titleENG other language
WRI two page leaflet on ESCAZU agreementPDFPDF (Spanish)