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Get your right to a healthy community

How best to implement Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs)?  What synergies with other international instruments, in particular with the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention) and its protocols, can be used? These were some of the main topics discussed by some 50 representatives of authorities from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia responsible for PRTRs, air quality, chemical and waste management, and environmental protection, as well as representatives of civil society and intergovernmental organizations, and international PRTR experts in Minsk on 19-21 September 2016.

A PRTR is a national or regional environmental database or inventory of potentially hazardous chemical substances and/or pollutants released to air, water and soil and transferred off-site for treatment or disposal. The Protocol on PRTRs to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) is the only legally binding international instrument on PRTRs. Its objective is to enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, nationwide PRTRs.

The workshop “Get your right to a healthy community” was organized by UNECE in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus and its scientific and research centre RUE “Bel SRC “Ecology”. The workshop participants discussed solutions to existing deficiencies in relation to the implementation of the Protocol on PRTRs, including the importance of improving the coordination in reporting under different international agreements. Key outcomes of the workshop include the conclusion that further exploring and using existing synergies between reporting of PRTR data and reporting under other international agreements, such as the Air Convention, would be beneficial for their countries.