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Public Participation

About Public Participation

The Aarhus Convention and its Protocol empower people with the rights to access easily information, participate effectively in decision-making in environmental matters and to seek justice if their rights were violated.  They protect every person’s right to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being. 

Growing relevance
The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, or Aarhus Convention, and its Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs) are the only legally binding international instruments on environmental democracy that put Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in practice. Their powerful twin protections for the environment and human rights can help us respond to many challenges facing our world: from climate change and the loss of biodiversity, air and water pollution to poverty eradication, peace and security. They provide a solid and comprehensive framework for governments to engage the public effectively in sustainable development, in greening the economy and in setting and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Both instruments are open for global accession.