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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, case studies on electronic information tools, 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.

UNECE Weekly article about the meetings is available here.

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)

 

 

 

Statements and Presentations

 

TitleENGFRERUS
Item 2: Thematic focus: Active dissemination of environmental information
(a) Effective provision of information in case of an imminent threat to human health and the environment
Setting the scene
Ms. Stephanie SPECK, Chief of Service, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk ReductionPDF
Mr. James DOURIS, Project Officer, World Meteorological OrganizationPDF
Ms. Kersten GUTSCHMIDT, Technical Officer, World Health OrganizationPDF
Promoting  involvement of the public in the preparedness and response
Ms. Claudia KAMKE, Secretariat of the UNECE Industrial Accidents ConventionPDF
Mr. Christian MELIS, Environmental Governance Officer, Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE)PDF
Ms. Laure SINGLA, Expert, Cabinet Juris Eco Conseil PDF
Tools for information dissemination
Mr. Tom DE GROEVE, Deputy Head of the Disaster Risk Management Unit, Joint Research Centre, European Union PDF
Ms. Enkelejda MALAJ, Director, European Integration Directorate, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, AlbaniaPDF
Mr. Joaquin CARRIL, Technical Advisor, Ministry for Ecological Transition, SpainPDF
Ms. Shahlo AZIZBEKOVA, Chief Specialist, Committee of Environmental Protection under the Government of TajikistanPDF
(b) The use of modern technologies by the public
Mr. Johannes MAYER, Head of Department, Environment Agency, AustriaPDF
Mr. Martin SKALSKY, Project Manager, ArnikaPDF
Mr. Mordechai HAKLAY, Professor, University College LondonPDF
(c) Update of the Recommendations on electronic information tools
Mr. Adam Daniel NAGY, Administrator, DG Environment, European CommissionPDF
Mr. Stein Magne OS, Product Manager, Electronic Public Records, NorwayPDF
Mr. Dejan LEKIC, Head of Department, Environmental Protection Agency, SerbiaPDF
Ms. Madina TAUYEKELOVA, Head of Department, RSE on REM “Information and Analytical Center of Environment Protection”, KazakhstanPDFPDF
Ms. Tamara MALKOVA, Director, ICO "Green Dossier" and delegate, EaP Civil Society ForumPDF
Ms. Marie-Pierre MEGANCK, Conseillère Environnement - Transport, Permanent Mission of France in Geneva, France
Item 3: Stocktaking of recent and upcoming developments
Recent developments on access to environmental information and the application of restrictions
Ms. Lena HEHEMANN, Scientific Employee, Federal Office of the Environment, SwitzerlandPDF
Ms. Melanie CAMPBELL, Investigator, Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Information, IrelandPDF
Ms. Gordana PETKOVIC, Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development, SerbiaPDF
Ms. Olga PODOSENOVA, Executive Director, NGO “Gamarjoba” PDF
Protection of whistle-blowers and other persons exercising their rights in conformity with the Convention
Mr. Alvin GACHIE, the Office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Hazardous substances and Wastes PDF
Ms. Tahmina KARIMOVA, International Labour OrganizationPDF
Mr. Yves LADOR, EarthjusticePDF
Item 4: Activities under other international forums.
Ms. Tiina LUIGE, Chief, Environment and Multi-domain Statistics Section and Secretary of the CES, UNECE Statistical DivisionPDF
Mr. Pierre BOILEAU, Head, Global Assessment Unit, United Nations Environment ProgrammePDF
Mr. Steven RAMAGE, Head, External Relations, GEO secretariat
Mr. Argyro KAVVADA, Executive Secretary, GEO EO4SDG Initiative
PDF
Mr. Andrea CARARO, Consultant, United Nations Institute for Training and Research 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)

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.