Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation
Multilateral Cooperation on Environmental Impact Assessment
in a Transboundary Context
Report submitted by the delegation of the Netherlands
1. A workshop on key elements for bilateral and multilateral agreements
on environmental impact assessment (EIA) in a transboundary context was
organized by the delegation of the Netherlands from 27 to 30 November
1994 in Baarn (Netherlands), pursuant to a decision taken at the third
meeting of the Signatories (ENVWA/WG.3/6, annex III, element 01.4.2).
2. The workshop was attended by experts from Albania, Armenia, Austria,
Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands,
Poland, Romania, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain,
Ukraine and United Kingdom.
3. The workshop addressed specific issues related to bilateral or multilateral
agreements and arrangements on EIA in a transboundary context. The delegations
of Austria and Slovakia informed the workshop of the preparatory work
undertaken with respect to a possible bilateral arrangement on EIA between
their countries. The example proved to be of great value to the proceedings
of the workshop.
4. The workshop recommended the Meeting of the Signatories to (a) arrange
for the continuation of the exchange of information on examples of bilateral
and multilateral cooperation and arrangements and (b) publish the report
of the present workshop, as annexed below, in the Environmental Series
together with the report of the workshop held in Moscow (Russian Federation).
5. The workshop expressed its gratitude to the delegation of the Netherlands
for organizing and hosting this event.
GUIDANCE ON KEY ELEMENTS FOR BILATERAL
OR MULTILATERAL ARRANGEMENTS ON EIA
IN A TRANSBOUNDARY CONTEXT
1. As the entry into force of the 1991 Convention on Environmental Impact
Assessment in a Transboundary Context draws near, it is important to develop
tools for the effective application of the provisions of the Convention.
2. Useful work has already been done as outlined in the reports of the
task force on legal and administrative aspects of the Convention (ENVWA/WG.3/R.12)
and the report on specific methodological issues of EIA in a transboundary
context (ENVWA/WG.3/R.13). The task force made a number of proposals in
its report for further work to consider certain aspects of the application
of the Convention in more detail.
3. In response to one of these proposals, the Signatories to the Convention
accepted, at their third meeting, an offer by Austria and the Netherlands
to organize a workshop devoted to bilateral and multilateral agreements
on EIA in a transboundary context (ENVWA/WG.3/6, para.19). The Convention
contains provisions on that matter in Article 8 and Appendix VI. According
to these provisions, the Parties may continue existing or enter into new
bilateral or multilateral agreements or other arrangements in order to
implement their obligations under the Convention. Such arrangements may
be based on the elements listed in Appendix VI.
4. The workshop noted, however, that bilateral and multilateral arrangements
or agreements were not a precondition for the application, the ratification
or the entry into force of the Convention or a requirement for its implementation
or the implementation of the Resolution on Environmental Impact Assessment
in a Transboundary Context (ECE/ENVWA/19).
5. The workshop examined further possible elements for the application
of the Convention as guidance for the future Parties in implementing the
Convention, particularly in the context of bilateral and multilateral
cooperation. It was not the intention to repeat what was already in the
Convention but rather to work out solutions for practical problems based,
as far as possible, on existing practical experiences. It may be used
by the Parties as a frame of reference for the application of the Convention
on a case-by-case basis or for developing bilateral or multilateral arrangements
6. In order to collect the basic information, a questionnaire was sent
out in April 1994 by the delegation of the Netherlands to all focal points
for the Convention, and a small group of experts organized by the delegation
of Austria met in Vienna (31 August-2 September 1994).
7. This document is based on the answers to the questionnaire and on
the discussions at the Vienna expert meeting and the workshop. It indicates
possible key elements for bilateral or multilateral arrangements or agreements
such as further details of the application of the Convention, designation
of contact points, translation of documents, financial aspects, how to
inform and involve the public in the affected country, joint EIA, consultations
between Parties, the decision, dispute settlement and post-project analysis.
Where possible and appropriate, various possible solutions have been listed.
A. General issues
8. A more effective application of EIA in a transboundary context depends
on several factors, such as:
- A mutual understanding of the national legal and administrative EIA
systems and procedures of the concerned countries;
- A common interpretation of the provisions of the Convention by the
- Good working relations on a subregional level between government authorities;
- More or less comparable environmental standards.
9. Bilateral or multilateral cooperation could benefit from an exchange
of information on legal and administrative matters, on environmental data,
and on the state of the environment in either country.
10. For an effective application of the Convention it could be very useful
to inform the other Parties of the following:
- The authorities responsible for EIA;
- The authorities which will be involved at the various stages of the
EIA process (with an indication of who does what exactly in the EIA process);
- The flow chart describing the various stages and time-frames of the
national EIA process.
11. It could also be very useful to have:
- A regular exchange of experts to present the respective national systems
and discuss current problems and changes in legislation;
- Access to environmental information; and
- A joint EIA expert group.
12. The arrangements for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in each
case may differ, as the national systems differ considerably. In some
cases it would make more sense to have bilateral arrangements or agreements
with other individual countries instead of trying to agree on a multilateral
arrangement with several countries simultaneously. In other situations
the existing working relations may serve as a basis for the application
of the Convention. Practice has shown that making an arrangement or an
agreement for a specific activity is also feasible.
B. Procedural steps
13. The Convention requires a number of procedural steps as indicated
in the flow chart below (fig. I); in some cases the sequence of some steps
may be different.
Different countries have different EIA procedures. Therefore, it might
be useful in a bilateral or multilateral context, first to compare the
procedural requirements of the Convention with the national procedural
steps. Such a comparison will clarify similarities and divergences, and
help to identify any future problems or opportunities for concerted action.
The next step would then be to try to adapt the national procedures in
line with the provisions of the Convention and to agree on the details
of the procedure that should be followed whenever the Convention applies.
As a general rule the EIA procedure of the Party of origin applies whenever
the Convention applies.
14. Practice has already shown that once this has been agreed upon in
general terms, there is still a need to work out a detailed schedule in
cases where the Convention applies. Such a schedule or flow chart could
contain information on time-frames, on which authority sends which information
to whom at what stage of the process, etc. Such a schedule could be part
of or annexed to a bilateral or multilateral arrangement.
C. Application of the Convention
(a) Activities listed in Appendix I
15. The description of activities in Appendix I is in some cases too
general (for example, "large dams and reservoirs"). In order
to ensure a common interpretation, countries could specify what they understand
by the terms used in the Convention, for instance by agreeing on threshold
values (e.g. "dams with an output of more than [x] megawatts"
or "with a surface of [y] ha."). Such provisions are intended
to clarify what might be regarded as significant under the Convention.
Parties should be careful not to narrow down the application of the Convention.
Document ENVWA/WG.3/R.13 also provides further guidance for a clearer
identification of proposed activities as listed in Appendix I to the Convention.
(b) Activities not listed in Appendix I
16. By mutual agreement, countries can treat activities not listed in
Appendix I as if they were listed (Art. 2, para. 5). There are several
ways of doing this:
- Countries could try to draw up a common catalogue of additional activities
not listed in Appendix I and treat them in the same way as Appendix I
- Countries could try to develop further detailed criteria for such additional
activities making use of Appendix III to the Convention;
- Countries could agree that the Convention applies to all activities
under the EIA procedure of the country of origin. As the national lists
of activities usually differ, the problem of the principle of reciprocity
arises. Countries will usually only be prepared to carry out a "transboundary
EIA" if the other country will, under similar circumstances, do the
- Countries could decide on a case-by-case basis that the Convention
applies to an activity not listed in Appendix I.
17. An example of the subregional work for the application of article
2, paragraph 5, of the Convention is the work done by the Arctic countries
under the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy.
2. The determination of "significance"
18. The decision whether or not to apply the Convention will generally
be based on the consideration of the "significance" of an adverse
transboundary impact (Art. 2, paras. 3 and 4).
19. It may therefore be advisable to define more explicitly what countries
understand by the term "significant adverse transboundary impact".
This problem was also referred to in the report on specific methodological
issues of EIA in a transboundary context (ENVWA/WG.3/R.13). This document
as well as ongoing work might be of help to Parties. The work on specific
methodological issues has shown that, in some cases, it may be possible
to establish generally acceptable criteria on significance. In most cases,
however, the decision would be based on a comprehensive consideration
of the characteristics of the activity and its possible impact. An element
of judgement will always be present.
20. Practice has shown that as a criterion the location in an area within
a certain distance from a border can be useful. For example, an arrangement
could state that:
"Each activity mentioned in Appendix I and located in an area within
[x] kilometres from the common border is likely to cause a significant
adverse transboundary impact."
21. In such a case care should be taken not to exclude activities located
further away from the border which nevertheless could cause such an impact.
Thus, a provision could be added stipulating that:
"For activities listed in Appendix I but located outside the area
mentioned, it should be decided on a case-by-case basis whether they are
likely to cause a significant adverse transboundary impact."
22. Another possibility would be to indicate in an arrangement that:
"Any adverse impact on specified sensitive areas (e.g. nature conservation
areas) in the affected country is considered to be significant."
23. It should be noted, however, that such clauses, again, cover only
some cases where an impact may be "significant", and can thus
not be exhaustive. Therefore, the opportunity to decide on a case-by-case
basis should remain available.
D. Institutional arrangements
1. Designation of contact points
24. Various articles of the Convention require the country of origin
to transmit information to the affected country and vice versa. In accordance
with Article 3 of the Convention, document ENVWA/WG.3/R.5/Rev.1 contains
a list of points of contact. If no point of contact has been designated,
the notification should be transmitted to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
of the affected Party.
25. The Convention does not say how the exchange of information under
Articles 2 to 7 should take place. Since legal and administrative systems
vary considerably from country to country and are not always known in
detail on the other side of the border, it has been found helpful to create
specific contact points. These specific contact points could, for example,
be the respective authorities carrying out the EIA in order to have direct
contact with these authorities.
26. Contact points can assume various responsibilities and functions.
They are usually the first contact for the Party of origin to which it
sends the notification and in most cases it will also be the contact point
which will respond to the notification. The contact point may have the
- Mail-box function: the contact point submits all the information
it receives from the country of origin to the respective authorities,
which then take action;
- Coordinating function: the contact point distributes the information
to the respective authorities and the public of the affected country and
collects their comments and reactions and submits them to the country
- Initiating function: the contact point is responsible merely
for the first formal contact between the Parties and submits a list of
authorities in the affected country to be directly addressed by the authorities
of the country of origin.
27. For an effective application of the Convention it could be useful
designate, in addition to the national contact points in the list in
document ENVWA/WG.3/R.5/Rev.1, contact points at the local or subregional
level. Of course the procedure is simpler if there is only one contact
28. However, some countries (e.g. federations) may find it easier to
have several such institutions (e.g. one in each federal State, or one
in each province). In such cases it may be difficult for the other country
to find out which of the contact points is competent in a given case.
On a bilateral or multilateral basis a solution can be found. For example,
such a problem can be avoided if the other country can choose the specific
contact point to which it sends its information and this will then transmit
the information to the relevant contact point(s).
Another solution could be to contact the national government level and
ask which contact point will have to be informed in a specific case. It
was also found useful to specify the range of functions of the contact
2. Establishment of a joint body
29. Several of the tasks mentioned in the Convention could be fulfilled
by a joint body (Art. 3, para. 6; Art. 4, para 2; Art. 5). Countries may
wish to set up such a joint body or to use already existing bodies for
the purposes of the Convention. A joint EIA expert group could also fulfil
these tasks. A bilateral or multilateral arrangement could contain provisions
to that effect (e.g. composition and tasks).
30. For instance, a joint EIA expert group is working under the Nordic
Council of Ministers. One of its tasks is to strengthen the practical
application of the Convention within the Nordic countries and neighbouring
areas. The workshop under the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy
has invited EIA experts in the Arctic countries to cooperate and assist
national Governments in further developing their EIA systems to protect
the environment in the Arctic.
31. Article 3, paragraph 1, of the Convention requires the Party of origin
in cases where a proposed activity listed in Appendix I is likely to cause
a significant adverse transboundary impact to notify any Party which it
considers may be an affected Party "as early as possible and no later
than when informing its own public about that proposed activity".
The precise time of notification depends on whether the EIA procedure
of the Party of origin includes:
(i) A formal scoping process with mandatory public participation;
(ii) A formal scoping process without such participation; or
(iii) No formal scoping process at all.
32. If a scoping process with mandatory public participation exists,
the Party of origin will have to inform the affected Party at the beginning
of that process. If public participation at this stage is optional, it
will have to notify the affected country only if it informs its own public.
As many countries have an informal scoping process with public participation,
there is an obligation (and it is also in the interest of the Party of
origin) to notify the public in the affected country at that stage. If
there is an informal scoping process without public participation, it
might also be advisable to notify the affected country at that stage.
The definition of the moment of notification is an important one and could
be agreed on in a bilateral or multilateral arrangement.
33. Further ways to proceed in those different cases are also mentioned
in the final report of the task force on legal and administrative aspects
of the practical application of relevant provisions of the Convention
34. Which information should be given with the notification documentation?
Article 3, paragraph 2, of the Convention stipulates which information
is to be given: information about the proposed activity, available information
on its possible transboundary impact, the nature of the decision and a
time-frame for response. A time-frame of one to four months was already
suggested in the final report of the task force on legal and administrative
aspects (ENVWA/WG.3/R.12, para. 15).
35. The task force on legal and administrative aspects of the application
of the Convention proposed that a format for the content of these first
pieces of information should be developed. The present workshop supported
this proposal and suggested the development of such a format to the Meeting
of the Signatories.
36. After a positive response, further information can be given according
to Article 3, paragraph 5. It might be possible and useful in some cases
to give this information already in the first step. The affected Party
has then more information at an earlier stage and can react more promptly
and in more detail. In addition to this forwarded information, it might
be helpful for the affected country to receive a separate report just
dealing with the transboundary impact or a report highlighting the relevant
passages if they are contained elsewhere.
37. Article 3, paragraph 6, of the Convention provides that the Party
of origin may ask the affected Party for reasonably obtainable information
about the affected environment for the preparation of the EIA documentation.
To obtain this information as soon as possible, it may be useful to ask
for it in the notification. In that case the affected Party could provide,
with its response to the notification, at least some available information
about obviously affected areas (e.g. protected areas). The task force
on legal and administrative aspects suggested that a period of up to four
months might be sufficient (ENVWA/WG.3/R.12, para. 18).
38. A bilateral or multilateral arrangement could specify what is meant
by "reasonably obtainable information". For instance it could
lay down that the environmental information relating to the state of the
environment in the affected areas of the affected Party and available
to its official bodies will be transmitted. In that case a coordinating
contact point (as mentioned in paras. 24-28 above) could play a supporting
role in collecting the available relevant information within the affected
country and in submitting it to the country of origin. As this stage of
the EIA process can be very important for the preparation of the EIA documentation,
it would be sensible to have an exchange of views by experts in this phase.
39. Countries may wish to include in a bilateral or multilateral arrangement
a provision concerning the possibility to end the information process
mentioned in Article 3, paragraphs 1 to 6, of the Convention. If the affected
Party has indicated that it intends to participate in the EIA procedure
but later wants to end its participation, a specific bilateral clause
may state that "the affected country shall inform the country of
origin to that effect in the same way as it has stated its intention to
take part in the procedure".
F. How to inform and who informs
the public of the affected Party,submissions of comments,
40. The Convention contains several provisions with regard to the information
and involvement of the public of the affected Party (Art. 2, para. 6,
Art. 3, para. 8, Art. 4, para. 2). To fulfil these requirements the concerned
Parties should inform the public clearly about these opportunities. As
the opportunities for the public to be involved differ from country to
country information should be given to the public in the affected Party
about the participation process and the formal procedure in each case.
This could, for example, be given either in a public advertisement or
in the publication announcing a public hearing or in a special information
brochure. Practice has already shown that there is a need to make more
detailed arrangements in a bilateral or multilateral context on this issue.
41. A major problem is that there are considerable differences in the
formal national obligations with regard to public participation (e.g.
different forms of public involvement). Countries may want to investigate
to what extent it is beneficial to harmonize their provisions on public
participation. As long as there is no harmonization, it could be laid
down that the procedure of the Party of origin should broadly be followed.
42. Another issue is how the public of the affected Party is informed.
This could be done either according to the rules of the Party of origin
or to the rules of the affected Party.
The following step would be to identify the authority which will be responsible
for informing the public of the affected Party. A second point is the
way in which the comments of the public of the affected Party will be
submitted to the competent authority of the country of origin. There are
(i) The responsibility for informing the public of the affected country
with the authority (competent authority or the proponent) in the Party
(ii) The responsibility is with an authority of the affected Party (contact
(iii) There is a shared responsibility between authorities in both countries.
44. The advantage of the first option is that the information can be
provided directly to the public, that the comments can be sent directly
to the country of origin and that delays can be avoided.
45. The advantage of the second option is that the authority of the affected
Party is well informed of the ways and means of publishing and making
available the EIA documents for public inspection, etc. A drawback could
be the delays, especially when the comments of the public are first sent
to the authority in the affected Party.
46. The advantages of both alternatives could be combined by sharing
the responsibility between the authorities in both countries.
47. Although public hearings are not explicitly mentioned in the Convention
with regard to public participation, several countries use public hearings
as a form of public participation. The question then arises of whether
public hearings should be held in the Party of origin or in the affected
Party. Under bilateral or multilateral arrangements the Party of origin
could hold a public hearing in the territory of the affected Party. Alternatively,
it could be preferable to organize the public hearing in the Party of
origin, providing the participants from abroad, where necessary, with
the services of an interpreter.
48. In some countries affected individuals of the affected Party are
given the right to appeal (see also sect. H below) against the decision.
This information could be given either in the publication announcing the
public hearing, in a special information brochure or in the decision.
G. Consultations between the
49. Article 5 of the Convention provides that after the completion of
the EIA documentation the Party of origin shall enter into consultations
with the affected Party. It is not stated, however, at which level such
consultations shall take place.
50. In general official consultations are usually at the highest level
because they take place between States. Who finally takes part is up to
the respective States to decide. It could, for example, already be indicated
in the reply to the request for consultations.
51. Regarding the subject of consultations, Article 5 of the Convention
already mentions some issues. There can, of course, be more subjects depending
on the situation. It seems likely that the country that asks for consultations
also proposes some items that should be discussed (e.g. monitoring, post-project
analysis) and that the other country in answering to the request also
52. In accordance with the provisions of the Convention, the consultations
take place before the final decision is taken in order to take into account
the outcome of the consultations.
53. Article 5 provides that at the beginning of the consultations a reasonable
time-frame should be set for the duration of the consultations. A possible
way could be to try to agree on a case-by-case basis on the time-frame
within which the consultations should be finished. If there is no agreement
on a reasonable time-frame, a provision could be included in the arrangement
stating that after a certain time (for example six to eight weeks) consultations
end automatically, regardless of whether there is a satisfactory outcome.
After that the EIA procedure continues and the decision can be taken.
54. In many cases it may be useful and even essential to meet more often
and to exchange information at an expert level. The Parties should be
able to ask for such an expert exchange whenever there is a need for it.
As already indicated above and according to Article 3, paragraph 6, it
is possible to meet and exchange information about the affected environment
in the affected country for the preparation of the documentation. Another
possibility is to meet at the level of an existing joint body.
55. Often the question is raised of how the comments of the authorities
and the public of the affected country are taken into account. According
to the Convention (Art. 6) due account has to be taken of the outcome
of the EIA, including the documentation, as well as the comments thereon
received and the outcome of the consultations. How this is done in detail
is up to the different national systems to decide. At least it means that
the comments of the authorities and the public of the affected country
and the outcome of the consultations are taken into consideration in the
same way as the comments from the authorities and the public of the Party
56. The Party of origin has to provide the final decision with the reasons
and considerations to the affected Party. These could, in the spirit of
the Convention, also reflect the impact on the affected country. For the
dissemination of the decision to the relevant bodies of the affected country
or for giving information on the decision to the public, the contact point
could again be useful. The competent authority of the country of origin
can also be responsible for publicizing the decision in the affected country.
In a bilateral or multilateral agreement this could be dealt with in detail,
e.g. in the same way as is done with the publication of the EIA documents.
57. As mentioned in section F above, in some countries the affected individuals
of the affected Party have the right to appeal against the decision in
the Party of origin. The information about such a right of appeal could
be given in the decision.
I. Post-project analysis
58. Article 7 of the Convention stipulates that the concerned Parties,
at the request of any such Party, shall determine whether, and if so to
what extent, a post-project analysis shall be carried out, taking into
account the likely significant adverse transboundary impact of the activity
for which an EIA has been undertaken pursuant to the Convention.
59. As mentioned in Appendix V to the Convention, the objectives of post-project
analysis are monitoring compliance with the conditions as set out in the
approval of the activity, reviewing an impact for proper management and
in order to cope with uncertainties and to verify past predictions in
order to transfer experience to future activities of the same type.
60. The requirements in the national legislation on post-project analysis
vary considerably. In a limited number of countries it is mandatory to
undertake post-project analysis as part of the EIA and the decision-making
61. In bilateral or multilateral arrangements countries could try to
agree on the range of projects to which the post-project analysis should
apply and on how to perform it. It could also be possible to determine
the role of the affected Party in carrying out the post-project analysis,
the responsibility for the post- project analysis, how to inform the affected
Party of the outcome, the question of whether the public will be informed.
Alternatively, these aspects could also be decided on a case-by-case basis
by the concerned Parties.
J. Dispute prevention and
62. A special case of dispute settlement is dealt with in Article 3,
paragraph 7. It provides for a dispute prevention and settlement procedure
in cases where the Parties have different views about whether there will
be a significant adverse transboundary impact (exchange of information
and discussions and the use of an inquiry commission).
63. The Convention also contains a general provision, in Article 15,
on dispute settlement which mentions as a means of such settlement: (i):
(para. 1); (ii): arbitration (para. 2(b)); (iii) : International Court
of Justice (para. 2(a)). Furthermore, Article 15, paragraph 1, refers
to the possibility for Parties to use "any other method of dispute
settlement acceptable to the parties to the dispute".
64. Some of these mechanisms may require considerable time. For example,
arbitration according to Appendix VII or the submission of the case to
the International Court of Justice may be very time-consuming. Article
15, paragraph 1, of the Convention also makes it possible to try to find
quicker mechanisms than those provided for in the Convention.
65. One could, for example, think of situations where:
- The submitted documents are insufficient or the summaries of certain
documents do not provide the necessary information; or
- Documents arrive too late for making comments.
The first aim should be to settle problems with the interpretation of
the Convention or the bilateral agreement in the most appropriate way
and at the most appropriate level. Maybe another informal expert exchange
can clarify the situation. In any case either country should be able to
take the initiative and make a proposal as it sees fit for reaching a
solution which is satisfactory to both countries. It is also possible
to use the consultation process for settling problems. If these quicker
or more immediate mechanisms do not work, the mechanisms of the Convention
for dispute settlement can still be used.
K. Joint EIA
66. Regarding transboundary EIA, there are cases where the project itself
actually straddles the border (e.g. highways, railroads, waterways). In
that situation either of the concerned Parties is at the same time Party
of origin and affected Party.
67. In those cases a new form of EIA cooperation and coordination should
be developed, because the question arises of which of the EIA procedures
68. Is there a need to identify the applicable procedure or a need for
a new joint procedure? In answering that question the flexibility of each
national system has to be investigated. Also, it has to be decided which
steps really need joint action, while the rest can be done according to
either national system.
69. The use of a joint body may be helpful in such cases. Nevertheless,
it should be kept in mind that both countries still need to make their
own final decision. These decisions, however, should be harmonized or
be coordinated with respect to time and content, based on the same result
of the EIA. This would also save resources.
70. One possible solution could be to follow the most far-reaching national
system in the steps that will be taken jointly. Another possibility is
to develop a new joint EIA procedure and formulate this in a bilateral
agreement especially concluded for this purpose. An important point in
that respect is that the preparation and respective decision-making processes
should take place simultaneously.
71. In many cases, language differences between concerned Parties may
cause problems in transboundary EIAs. Evidently, it is important that
both the authorities and the public in the affected Party understand the
information transmitted by the Party of origin, as well as the proceedings
of public hearings in that country. On the other hand, due to the cost
of translation it may be possible to distinguish between documents requiring
translation and other documents which need not be translated.
72. The report of the task force on legal and administrative aspects
deals with the issue of translation in detail (ENVWA/WG.3/R.12, paras.
33-39). Especially concerning the question of which of the documents need
to be translated and which part of the contents has to be translated,
the report gives a good overview (e.g. the extent to which the comments
of the affected country have to be translated). The bilateral or multilateral
arrangement could specify which documents should be translated.
73. Very often the question is raised of who is responsible for translations
and who pays for them. The task force report states that the responsibility
mainly is with the Party of origin, which should also pay for translations
(ENVWA/WG.3/R.12, para.41). Concerning the quality of translations, the
task force referred to the possibility of establishing or authorizing
organizations to translate and to guarantee professional standards. In
bilateral or multilateral agreements countries could make detailed arrangements
making use of the results of the work of the task force.
74. As an alternative, the concerned Parties may also jointly establish
or authorize organizations to translate the relevant documents. This will
require a consensus on the mode of financing those organizations, etc.
Such organizations could also be given the responsibility of guaranteeing
the quality of translations.
75. Practice has shown that in many cases additional time is needed for
the translation of the respective documents and their transmittal to the
other country. That means that in a bilateral or multilateral context
solutions should be found to this problem. Either the documents should
be translated before they are transmitted or the respective national time-frames
should be extended for this purpose.
76. For some situations like consultations or public hearings on the
territory of the affected Party, interpretation has to be provided. For
instance, the country which hosts the consultations or which leads the
public hearing could also provide for interpretation. Alternatively it
could always be the responsibility of the Party of origin.
M. Financial aspects
77. The application of the Convention implies several financial issues.
The question of who pays for the translation of the various EIA documents
and the comments thereon has already been mentioned. Furthermore, there
are a number of procedural steps with financial implications (e.g. publication
in the mass media in the affected country and presentation of the documentation
inspection, public hearings, interpreters). Countries may wish to conclude
explicit agreements on these financial aspects. A detailed list of costs
could be drawn up on a bilateral or multilateral basis, indicating who
will be paying for which element.
78. The task force on legal and administrative tasks formulated as a
general rule that the Party of origin should be responsible for the procedural
costs, because it would be easier for this Party than for the affected
Party to recover the costs from the proponent. Financing of additional
costs such as external expert opinions could, as a rule, best be paid
by the one who asks for it.
N. Concluding remarks
79. Practice has shown that, although the Convention does not require
such arrangements for its application, ratification, or entry into force,
bilateral or multilateral arrangements on how to apply the provisions
of the Convention in practice could prove useful. In the foregoing sections
some key elements have been listed for inclusion in such bilateral and
multilateral arrangements. Based on mutual trust and the principle of
reciprocity, bilateral or multilateral arrangements could be developed
to ensure the most effective application of the Convention and of the
Resolution on EIA in a Transboundary Context, which states that the Signatories
resolve to seek to implement the Convention to the maximum extent possible
pending its entry into force. In a later stage these arrangements could
be formalized if the countries involved wish to do so, taking into account
the practical experience and the lessons learned.