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AARHUS CONVENTION

Convention on Access to Information,
Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice
in Environmental Matters

Compliance Committee

Background

Article 15 of the Aarhus Convention on review of compliance, requires the Meeting of the Parties to establish arrangements for reviewing compliance with the Convention. Following this obligation, the Meeting of the Signatories established a Working Group to prepare such a mechanism. At their first meeting in October 2002 the Parties adopted the decision I/7 on review of compliance (ENG FRE RUS) and elected the first Compliance Committee.

At their second meeting in May 2005 the Parties reviewed the work undertaken by the Committee in the first three years of its operation, including the Committee's report and draft recommendations within the framework of decisions on compliance issues (ECE/MP.PP/2005/13 and add. 1 to 5).The Parties adopted decision II/5 on general issues of compliance (ENG FRE RUS) as well as decisions II/5a (ENG FRE RUS) on compliance by Kazakhstan, II/5b (ENG FRE RUS) on compliance by Ukraine and II/5c (ENG FRE RUS) on compliance by Turkmenistan.

At their third meeting in June 2008, the Parties addressed the issue of compliance, inter alia on the basis of the Compliance Committee's report on general issues of compliance as well as its report with regard to compliance by several individual Parties. They adopted decision III/6 on general issues of compliance as well as six decisions on compliance by individual Parties.

The compliance mechanism may be triggered in four ways:

(1) a Party may make a submission about compliance by another Party;
(2) a Party may make a submission concerning its own compliance;
(3) the secretariat may make a referral to the Committee;
(4) members of the public may make communications concerning a Party's compliance with the convention.

In addition, the Committee may examine compliance issues on its own initiative and make recommendations; prepare reports on compliance with or implementation of the provisions of the Convention at the request of the Meeting of the Parties; and monitor, assess and facilitate the implementation of and compliance with the reporting requirements under article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention.

In the course of its work the Committee develops specific details of its modus operandi.

Since its establishment, the Committee has reached a number of findings with regard to compliance by individual Parties. The Committee's considerations with regard to specific provisions of the Convention made in 2004-2008 have been compiled in a brochure by organization Society and Environment.