27.06.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

UNESCO participation in the Fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties - Aarhus Convention

©Sehrio – public domainChisinau Presidential Palace

Engelbert Ruoss, Director of the UNESCO Venice Office, will be representing the Director-General of UNESCO in the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention). The event will take place in the Palace of the Republic in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, from 29 June 2011 to 1 July 2011, at the kind invitation of the Government of the Republic of Moldova.

Marking the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Aarhus Convention, it will provide a platform for Parties, Signatories, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders, to discuss achievements and challenges in promoting environmental democracy.

The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters was adopted on 25th June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment for Europe' process. The Aarhus Convention is a new kind of environmental agreement. The convention links environmental rights and human rights, acknowledges that we owe an obligation to future generations, establishes that sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders, links government accountability and environmental protection and, focuses on interactions between the public and public authorities in a democratic context.

The subject of the Aarhus Convention goes to the heart of the relationship between people and governments. The Convention is not only an environmental agreement, it is also a Convention about government accountability, transparency and responsiveness. The Convention grants the public rights and imposes on Parties and public authorities obligations regarding access to information and public participation and access to justice. The Convention is also forging a new process for public participation in the negotiation and implementation of international agreements. Participants in this fourth session will address a wide range of topics, including access to justice, access to information and public participation in national decision-making as well as in international forums. Participants’ attention will be drawn to the procedure for accession to the Convention by States from outside the UNECE region. The Meeting is expected to agree on a number of decisions and on the future work programme to guide the activities in the next intersessional period.

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