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Consultation on the Recommendations on electronic information tools


Consultation on the update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools

Background

Through decision VI/1 (English, French, Russian) adopted by the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention at its sixth session (Budva, Montenegro, 11-14 September 2017), the Meeting of the Parties recognized that effective public access to environmental information is critical for  supporting the work on a data revolution, and for the successful implementation of a number of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its target 10.

Further, the Meeting of the Parties reviewed the results of the survey on the implementation of the Recommendations on electronic information tools set out in decision II/3 (English, French, Russian) on the basis of documents ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2017/4 (English, French, Russian) and AC/WGP-21/Inf.2 and recognised the need to ensure that modern information and communication electronic tools should be fully employed so as to safeguard effective implementation of the information pillar of the Aarhus Convention. Furthermore, the Meeting of the Parties noted the cross-cutting nature and wide scope of environmental information in accordance with the Aarhus Convention and its linkages with geospatial, statistical, hydrometeorological, health, Earth observation and other relevant information.

In this regard, the Meeting of the Parties requested the Task Force on Access to Information to update the Recommendations on electronic information tools set out in decision II/3. 

The updated Recommendations on electronic information tools will aim to assist Parties, Signatories and other interested States in promoting development, maintaining, enhancing and using electronic information tools to support the implementation of the Convention by applying common approaches and standards. In addition, they will support  efforts in implementing other relevant international commitments, such as environment-related Sustainable Development Goals and targets, Paris Agreement on Climate Change and other multilateral environmental agreements, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030, a number of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolutions, in particular Resolutions 20/8, 23/2, 37/8, and 40/11, relevant pledges under the framework of the Word Meteorological Organization, World Health Organization, United Nations Environment Assembly, “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference and the Group on Earth Observations.

First round of consultations (September-October 2019)

Parties, interested UN Member States, NGOs, academia and other interested stakeholders were invited to participate in the consultation concerning the update of the Recommendations in advance of the sixth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Information (Geneva, 3-4 October 2019) by submitting case studies and drafting proposals. The Task Force discussed the outcomes of the consultations (see information document 3 (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3), its Addendum (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3/Add.1) and took note of further comments and proposals presented at the meeting and sent afterwards by 1 November 2019.

Following the first round of consultations, the current draft Recommendations on electronic information tools has been prepared taking into account:

(a) the drafting proposals and case studies received up to date (see information document 3 (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3), its Addendum (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3/Add.1) and further comments received available from http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=50574 ;

(b) the summary report on the assessment of the implementation of the Recommendations on electronic information tools set out in decision II/3 (documents ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2017/4 and AC/WGP-21/Inf.2) and the questionnaire (document AC/TF.AI-5/Inf.2) available from http://www.unece.org/env/pp/aarhus/tfai5.html;

(c) the outcomes of the discussion by the Task Force on Access to Information at its sixth meeting and the UNECE-EEA Workshop on Open Data for the Environment held back-to-back with the meeting (forthcoming document ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2020/3) available from http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=50574 ;

(d) the outcomes of the capacity-building activities carried out by the Parties and partner organizations, in particular the outcomes of the EIS-Data project commissioned by the European Commission on promotion of good practices for national environmental information systems and tools for data harvesting at EU level and EU-funded project of the European Environment Agency on further implementation of the Shared Environment Information System principles in the six Eastern Neighborhood countries.

Second round of consultations (March-April 2020)

Parties, Signatories, other interested States and stakeholders were invited to provide their comments by 23 April 2020. Pursuant to the outcomes of the sixth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Information (Geneva, 3-4 October 2019), the national focal points to the Aarhus Convention were also invited to liaise with national focal points to the Protocol on PRTRs in order to provide consolidated comments relevant for the PRTR matter. In addition, they are invited to involve non-governmental organizations, Aarhus Centres, academia and other stakeholders in countries in consultations on the current draft.

The current draft of the updated Recommendations on electronic information tools, prepared by the Chair with the assistance of the secretariat, and comments received are available below:

Document
Draft updated Recommendations on electronic information tools (clean version)DOC
Draft updated Recommendations on electronic information tools (track changes version)PDF
Comments received:
by Parties to the Convention:
ArmeniaPDF
BelgiumPDF
EstoniaPDF
FrancePDF
Norway (general and specific)PDF
PDF
PolandPDF
by stakeholders:
European ECO ForumPDF
ClientEarthPDF
EEBPDF

 

 

The draft will be further revised by the Chair of the Task Force with the assistance of the secretariat in the light of the comments received. The second draft of the recommendations will be submitted to the Working Group of the Parties at its twenty-fourth meeting (Geneva, 1-3 July 2020) for discussion and consideration. There will be next round of consultations after that meeting. The final draft of the recommendations is expected to be considered and approved by the Working Group of the Parties at its twenty-fifth meeting in 2021 for further submission to the Meeting of the Parties for possible adoption as a part of a decision on promoting effective access to information.