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

2 - 4 October 2019

Salle XXII, 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 will take place from 2 to 4 October 2019 in Geneva (Palais des Nations, Building E, Salle XXII).

The Task Force will promote the exchange of information, case studies and good practices and discuss recent and upcoming developments focusing on active dissemination of environmental information. In particular, the Task Force will discuss 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 is also expected to take 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 tentative organization of work:
2 October 2019, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. - joint UNECE - EEA workshop on Open Data for the Environment
3 October 2019, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. – sixth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Information.
4 October 2019, 9.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. – sixth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Information

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.

Format of the meeting

Each session will feature 2-3 brief introductory presentations sharing experiences of the Parties to the Convention and stakeholders related to the agenda items followed by contributors’ interventions and interactive discussion.

The delegates who are interested to make a presentation at the meeting are kindly invited to contact the secretariat (public.participation[at]un.org) as soon as possible, preferably by 1 September 2019, briefly outlining the focus of the presentation with relation to the agenda items.

The provisional list of speakers will be released shortly before the meeting. Interpretation in English, French and Russian will be provided.

Key dates to remember

Deadline for registration with financial support: 15 August 2019 
Deadline for registration without financial support: 16 September 2019
Deadline for advance notification on presentations: 1 September 2019
Deadline for comments and drafting proposals to the EIT Recommendations and case studies – 10 September 2019

Background documents

                                                       

TitleENGFRERUS
Provisional Agenda (AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.1)PDF
List of speakersPDF
Report of the meetingPDFPDFPDF
Key outcomes of the meetingPDF
List of participantsPDF
For all agenda items
Decision VI/1 on promoting effective access to information, ECE/MP.PP/2017/8PDFPDFPDF
Indicative timeline for the update of EIT Recommendations(AC/TF.AI-6/Inf.2)PDF
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

 

 

 

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)

Please send the comments and drafting proposals to the Recommendations and the completed template for the case study to the secretariat (aarhus.survey@un.org) before 10 September 2019.

Please consult the background documents in the next tab.

Registration, visa and financial support

Registration and Visa

Governments and organizations are requested to nominate their representatives involved in developing and implementing policies and regulations related to public access to environmental information.
All participants are requested to register online through the following link:
https://uncdb.unece.org/app/ext/meeting-registration?id=7RkMkc

Deadline for registration with financial support: 15 August 2019
Deadline for registration without financial support: 16 September 2019

We recommend using Internet Explorer browser for the online meeting registration. In case of difficulties you may refer to the user manual or please contact the secretariat (public.participation[at]un.org) directly.

Please ensure while registering online that you provide us with your contacts (e.g. post address, phone number, email address) which can be made publicly available through the list of participants.
Participants requiring a personal invitation letter for visa purposes should click on the “visa required” option and register for the meeting as early as possible, taking into account the period required to obtain the visa.

Financial support

Limited funds are available to support delegates from countries with economies in transition, eligible for financial support, NGOs and invited speakers. Participants who are applying for financial support should register as soon as possible before 15 August 2019 through the same as above link: https://uncdb.unece.org/app/ext/meeting-registration?id=7RkMkc

Representatives of Governments should submit the completed financial support form to the secretariat by e-mail (public.participation[at]un.org), indicating in the subject line “Country name – 6TFAI financial support request” before the same date – 15 August 2019. Kindly note that financial support request will be considered only after submission of duly filled in financial support request form and online registration through the link mentioned above.

NGO and other participants requesting financial support should indicate in the comments box: “financial support requested” and briefly describe their expertise and case studies relevant to the subjects to be considered by the Task Force, while registering online before the same date – 15 August 2019.

 

 

 

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.