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Sixth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Information under the Aarhus Convention

2 - 4 October 2019

Salle XXIV, Palais des Nations Geneva, Switzerland.

The sixth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Information and the joint UNECE - EEA workshop on Open Data for the Environment under auspices of the Task Force was held from 2 to 4 October 2019 in Geneva.

The Task Force promoted the exchange of information, case studies and good practices and discussed recent and upcoming developments focusing on active dissemination of environmental information. In particular, the Task Force discussed effective provision of information in case of an imminent threat to human health and the environment, the use of modern technologies by the public and the update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools (see more details on the ongoing consultation in the tab below).

The Task Force took stock of recent and upcoming developments with regard to public access to information related to: emissions; the application of restrictions on access to information; and the protection of whistle-blowers and other persons exercising their rights in conformity with the provisions of the Aarhus Convention.

The outcomes of the meeting will support countries’ efforts in implementing, monitoring and measuring environment-related Sustainable Development Goals, including SDGs 3 (Health), SDG 6 (Water), SDG 9 (Resilient Infrastructure), SDG 11 (Resilient and Sustainable Cities), SDG 12 (Sustainable Consumption and Production), SDG 13 (Climate Action), SDG 15 (Life on Land) and target 10 SDG 16 (Ensure Public Access to Information), and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 

The background material for the Task Force meeting includes relevant information derived from 2017 national implementation reports  and the synthesis report, the Implementation Guide, relevant the Aarhus Clearinghouse resourcesCompliance Committee findings of a systemic nature  and jurisprudence database. The Task Force on Access to Information continues its work based on the outputs of the previous meetings.

Key dates to remember

Deadline for comments and drafting proposals to the EIT Recommendations and case studies (to be submitted to aarhus.survey[at]un.org) – 1 November 2019

Background documents

                                                       

TitleENGFRERUS
Provisional Agenda (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.1)PDF
List of speakers (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.1/Add.1)PDF
Report of the meetingPDFPDFPDF
Key outcomes of the meeting (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.6)PDF
List of participantsPDF
For all agenda items
Decision VI/1 on promoting effective access to information, ECE/MP.PP/2017/8PDFPDFPDF
Item 2. Active dissemination of environmental information
Recommendations on electronic information tools set out in decision II/3 (document ECE/MP.PP/2005/2/Add.4)PDFPDFPDF
Report of the Task Force on Access to Information on its fifth meeting with the summary report on the assessment of the implementation of the Recommendations of the Meeting of the Parties on electronic information tools (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2017/4)PDFPDFPDF
Accompanying document to the summary report (AC/WGP-21/Inf.2)PDF
Overview of Internet addresses relevant to the implementation of article 5 of the Aarhus Convention (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.5)PDF
Case Studies on Electronic Information Tools
2 (a) Effective provision of information in case of an imminent threat to human health and the environment
Overview of the provision of information in case of an imminent threat to human health and the environment in accordance with article 5, paragraph 1 (c), of the Convention (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.4)PDF
2 (c) Update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools
Indicative timeline for the update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.2)PDF
Update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3)
Drafting proposals for the update (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3/Add.1)
PDF

WORD
3. Stocktaking of recent and upcoming developments
Principles on the protection of workers from exposure to toxic substances - report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Hazardous Substances and Wastes (A/HRC/42/41)

 

 

 

Consultation on the update of the EIT Recommendations

At its sixth session (Budva, Montenegro, 11-13 September 2017), the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention recognized that effective public access to environmental information is critical for the successful implementation of a number of Sustainable Development Goals and for supporting the work on a data revolution, and is specifically targeted by Sustainable Development Goal 16 (target 10).

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 (documents ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2017/4 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, through decision VI/1, para. 13 (b) (i), 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.

It is expected that the update of the Recommendations will be carried out through a participatory process with the view of submitting them to the Working Group of the Parties at its twenty-fifth meeting in 2021 for possible approval and further submission to the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention for its consideration at the seventh session in 2021 (see an indicative timeline for the update of the Recommendations below).

Parties to the Aarhus Convention, interested UN Member States, NGOs, academia and other interested stakeholders are invited to participate in the consultation concerning the update of the Recommendations.

The consultation aims to seek views and gather case studies on the developments in the Shared Environmental Information System, geospatial information management, Earth observation data, e-government, open government data, re-use of public sector information and other relevant initiatives and recent technical developments. The outcomes of the consultation will be taken into account for the update of the above mentioned Recommendations.

Please provide your input as follows:

• Comments and drafting proposals to the recommendations set out in decision II/3 in English in word file format in track-changes mode (use this file)
• Complete the template for case studies (use this file)

At the sixth meeting, the Task Force on Access to Information took note of the indicative timeline set out in information document 2 on the update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.2)  and the outcomes of the consultations as set out in information document 3 (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3) and its Addendum (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.3/Add.1).

The Task Force also took note of the comments received at the present meeting and requested participants to submit to the secretariat (aarhus.survey[at]un.org) their comments and drafting proposals presented at the meeting by 1 November 2019.


Please consult the background documents in the next tab.

Practical information

Wireless internet is available in all meeting rooms. Kindly note that electrical power plugs and sockets are unique to Switzerland within the UNECE region (type J, three-pin, 230 V, 50 Hz), and respectively require an adaptor, though slim two-pin plugs (type C) will fit. For additional practical information, please consult: http://www.unece.org/env/pp/practical . In addition, kindly note that you can drink tap water at the Palais des Nations. As there will be no drinking water served in the meeting room, we encourage delegates to bring reusable bottles or containers for tap water.