Participate Newsletter

Participate 26

Participate EN-26 1From 20 – 22 April 2010, the first  session of the Meeting of the Parties to  the Protocol on Pollutant Release and  Transfer Registers (MOPP-1) to the Aarhus Convention was held in Geneva.  The PRTR Protocol was adopted in Kyiv  in 2003 and entered into force in October 2009. The meeting in Geneva adopted the rules of procedure, compliance mechanism, financial arrangements, agreed on reporting on implementation of the Protocol, established the Working Group of the Parties to the Protocol, and also adopted
a Geneva Declaration.

The Meeting elected nine members of the Compliance Committee, namely Alistair McGlone (UK), Sveto Vasileski (FYRo Macedonia), Merab Barbakadze (Georgia) and Akos Fehervary (Hungary) to serve until the end of the Second Meeting of Parties to the Protocol, and Gor Movsisyan (Armenia), Martina Sorsa (Croatia), Didier Guiffault (France), Barbara Rathmer (Germany) and Fritz Kroiss (Austria) to serve until the end of the Third Meeting of Parties to the Protocol. Three of the elected members (Vasileski, Movsisyan, Kroiss) were proposed by NGOs, including the European ECO Forum, and officially nominated by Parties (Belgium, Spain and Latvia).

Participate 25

participate25In February 2003, the Albanian council of territorial adjustment approved the construction of an energy and industrial park in the vicinity of Vlora, a coastal city in the south of Albania, orientated mostly towards tourism. The park was planned to include different industrial facilities, together with several thermo-power plants (TPP), a hydrocarbon terminal and an outpost for the AMBO trans-Balkan pipeline. It was intended to border the city of Vlora to the south (100 metres from residential areas), the protected Narta Lagoon to the north (500m) and the Adriatic Sea to the west.  

Despite the fact that the whole park would have several oil- and hydrocarbon-related facilities, there was no  strategic environmental assessment (SEA) study for estimating the impact on the environment of the park as a whole.

Participate 24

Participate24The Aarhus Convention entered into force in Slovakia on 5 March 2006 but, since the Convention was ratified, developments regarding public participation and access to justice have, paradoxically, been very negative. Indeed, it appears that Slovakia did not ratify a Convention on public participation and access to justice but, on the contrary, one
that is in fact ‘against’ public participation and access to justice.

From the beginning of 2007, the new government began to weaken the position of civic associations and environmental NGOs in permit proceedings that have an impact on the environment, privacy and health. Laws passed in 2007 and 2008 abolished the obligation of public authorities to take the general public’s comments and positions into account, and the right of environmental NGOs to challenge unlawful permit decisions in court. Such changes were made with regards to all permit proceedings subject  to environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures, for example the permitting of highways, power plants, mines, waste dumps, chemical factories, and many permit proceedings that have a serious impact on nature (for example killing protected animals or using pesticides in  protected areas). The bill was proposed by members of parliament, but was also...

Participate 23

Participate 23The Third meeting of Parties (MOP-3) to the Aarhus Convention in Riga is over and now starts a time to evaluate its results and focus all our efforts on further implementation of the Aarhus Convention.  

What does this meeting brought to us? First thing which comes in our minds is the adoption of a new strategic plan for the Convention, which includes elements outlining details for improving public participation, funding for access to justice and expansion of the Convention to the global level.

Participate 22

Participate 22RIGA -- We hope you enjoyed the last issue of Participate, which was happily released  after a publishing break. This issue of Participate of course largely focuses on the Third Meeting of Parties (MOP-3), taking place in Riga from 11 - 13 June 2008. 

MOP-3 includes representatives from the Environment Ministries from all 41 Parties to the Aarhus Convention, members of environmental citizens' organisations, representatives of international organisations and other stakeholders. Participants will discuss and decide on a range of issues, including the Almaty Amendment on GMOs, electronic information tools and the clearinghouse mechanism, access to justice, public participation in international forums and strategic decision making. MOP-3 will also examine in detail the procedures and mechanisms for implementation of the Aarhus Convention (like National Implementation Reports), the compliance mechanism, capacity building activities and financial arrangements and will agree on the work programme of the Aarhus Convention and Long Term Strategic Plan which is expected not only to highlight the importance of implementation but also raise awareness for its expansion and emphasise the necessity of further development. Special sessions with the involvement of Ministers will focus on, among other issues, achievements during the first 10 years of the Convention and future challenges as well as the Protocol on PRTRs.

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