In an effort to support the implementation of the Convention and provide members of the public with practical resources to exercise their environmental rights under the Aarhus Convention, the OSCE has founded a network of Aarhus Centres.
These Centres play a crucial role in promoting all three pillars of the Aarhus Convention, namely Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in environmental matters. They improve awareness among the public and governmental authorities by disseminating environmental information and carrying out numerous educational and training projects relevant to the implementation of the Convention. By providing a venue where members of the public can meet to discuss environmental concerns, the Aarhus Centres strengthen environmental governance. They assist the public with participating in environmental decision-making and facilitate access to justice on environmental; matters sensitizing the public and governments to their shared responsibility for their natural surroundings.
Since 2002, OSCE has been supporting the establishment of Aarhus Centres and Public Environmental Information Centres (PEICs) in several countries, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Serbia and Tajikistan. (Map)
In this initiative, the OSCE partners primarily with the Governments of the participating States where these Centres are located as well as the leading environmental NGOs in these countries. The Aarhus Centres are usually based on an agreement between the relevant OSCE field operation and the Ministry for Environment in the respective country and managed by a board consisting of an equal number of representatives from government and civil society.
The Aarhus Convention secretariat provides guidance for the initiative and contributes capacity-building and training to Aarhus Centre staff members.
For more information about the Aarhus Centres and about OSCE activities on the Aarhus Convention visit the website.