The Aarhus Convention

The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters is a landmark in environmental democracy. It creates procedural rights for individuals and organisations with respect to decisions that affect the environment. It was adopted in Aarhus in 1998 and entered into force in 2001. A list of the countries that have ratified the Convention is below. Further legal instruments and guidelines have been developed under the Aarhus Convention.

The official web pages contain a wealth of information on all the processes and decisions of the official bodies. Many of the documents are available in French and Russian.

Our Publications pages link to some NGO-produced booklets that help to explain the workings of the Convention and related instruments.

Further legal instruments

An amendment with respect to public participation in decisions on the deliberate release and placing on the market of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was adopted in 2005, but is not yet in force. It has 25 Parties as of today.

A Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (information on pollutants and their sources) was negotiated and finalised in 2003. It entered into force on 8 October 2009 and will have its first Meeting of Parties in April 2010.

Text of the Convention

Text of the GMO amendment (not in force)

Text of the PRTR Protocol

Guidelines on promoting the application of the principles of the Aarhus Convention in International Forums

In 2005, a set of guidelines on public participation in international forums was adopted. These are known as the Almaty guidelines .

The Aarhus Clearinghouse (maintained by the UNECE Aarhus Secretariat) is a searchable database of material such as legislation, reports, meeting information related to the Convention.

Parties to the Aarhus Convention

Total 47 Parties now. If your country is on this list, then you have rights of access to environmental information (which could include information on the economics of projects that are affecting the environment), rights to participate in environmental decision-making and certain rights of access to justice if your rights are not being respected or if national environmental laws are being contravened. If your country is not on this list, then you should join in campaign to promote ratification of or accession to the Aarhus Convention. But in both case we encourage you to join other environmental organisations within the PPC for better implemntation of the Aarhus Convention.

Albania

Armenia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Estonia

European Union

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

Kazakhstan

Kyrgyzstan

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malta

Moldova

Montengro

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Serbia

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Tajikistan

The Former Yugoslav 
Republic of Macedonia

Turkmenistan

Ukraine

United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland

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