Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on PRTRs - Your Right to a Healthy Community
Information is power, and environmental information in the hands of public enables it to play a meaningful role in shaping a sustainable future. For this reason, progress in sustainable development and in greening the economy is directly dependent on the meaningful engagement of civil society in decision-making. Effective access to information, public participation and access to justice are essential for transparent and accountable governance, for high quality outcomes of the decision-making and to strengthen trust of public in governing institutions.
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; and they are open for global accession.
Both instruments are more important than ever. 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 to air and water pollution. Furthermore, they provide a solid and comprehensive framework for governments to engage the public effectively in the work on the Rio+20 Conference follow-up and in the setting and implementing the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals (SDGs).