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Environment

Since 1979, 16 international legally binding instruments – 5 conventions and 11 protocols[1] – have been developed within UNECE on air pollution, environmental impact assessment, industrial accidents, transboundary waters and public participation. These treaties, which are important elements of a common European legal framework, are concrete and effective instruments to bridge the former dividing line between East and West and to integrate countries with economies in transition into a pan-European legal and economic space.

Environmental conventions and protocols

1. Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, done at Geneva, on 13 November 1979

There are eight Protocols to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

  • Protocol on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP), done at Geneva, on 28 September 1984
  • Protocol on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions or their Transboundary Fluxes by at least 30 per cent, done at Helsinki, on 8 July 1985
  • Protocol Concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes, done at Sofia, on 31 October 1988
  • Protocol Concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds or their Transboundary Fluxes, done at Geneva, on 18 November 1991
  • Protocol on Further Reduction of Sulphur Emissions, done at Oslo, on 14 June 1994
  • Protocol on Heavy Metals, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 24 June 1998
  • Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 24 June 1998
  • Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol), done at Gothenburg, Sweden, on 30 November 1999[2]
2. Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, done at Espoo, Finland, on 25 February 1991 (in force since 10 September 1997) [3]
  • Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, done at Kyiv, on 21 May 2003 (in force since 11 July 2010)
3. Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, done at Helsinki, on 17 March 1992 (entered into force on 19 April 2000)[4]
  • Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters, done at Kyiv, on 21 May 2003 (not yet in force)
4. Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, done at Helsinki, on 17 March 1992[5]
  • Protocol on Water and Health, done at London, on 17 June 1999
  • Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters, done at Kyiv, on 21 May 2003 (not yet in force)
5. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, done at Aarhus, Denmark, on 25 June 1998 (entered into force on 30 October 2001)[6]
  • Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, done at Kyiv, on 21 May 2003 (entered into force on 8 October 2009)

Website: http://www.unece.org/env/welcome.html

As of 29 December 2014


[1]A twelfth Protocol – the Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters – was adopted in Kyiv on 21 May 2003 but is not yet in force. The Protocol is a joint instrument of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes and the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.

[2]The Gothenburg Protocol and the Protocol on Heavy Metals were amended in 2012; the Protocol on Persistent Organic Pollutants was amended in 2009. The amended Protocols are not yet in force.

[3] The first amendment to the Espoo Convention opening the Convention to accession by any UN Member State not member of the UNECE was adopted in 2001 and entered into force on 26 August 2014; the second amendment to the Convention introducing inter alia the requirement for review of compliance and a revised list of activities (appendix I) was adopted in 2004 and as of 1 January 2015 eight ratifications were missing for it to enter into force.

[4] Annex I of the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents setting out hazardous substantives for the purpose of defining hazardous activities has been amended on 19 March 2008, and 4 December 2014. The amendment adopted by the Conference of the Parties in December 2014 is expected to enter into force in 2015.

[5] The Water Convention was amended to open it to all Member States of the United Nations; the amendment entered into force in 2013.

[6] Parties to the Aarhus Convention adopted in 2005 an amendment to the Convention on genetically modified organisms. As of 1 January 2015, five ratifications are missing for the amendment to enter into force.