What is the PPC

peopleThe Public Participation Campaign (PPC) or Aarhus campaign is an environmental NGOs campaign to promote the existance of the Aarhus Convention, to involve environmental citizens organisations and general public in using the Convention to exercise our citizens right for access to information, participation in decision-making and access to justice on environmental matters and to be involved in implementation of the Aarhus Convention at the pan-European region. It is one of the issue groups of the European ECO Forum (an ad hoc network following the "Environment for Europe" process within the UNECE, including its outcomes and other .

The PPC unites more than 200 organisations in the East and West, North and South of the UN ECE region and aims at establishing the environmental democracy throughout the whole region.

The PPC has a long history of involvement with the Aarhus Convention, beginning with the development of the Guidelines on Access to Environmental Information and Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making (known as Sofia Guidelines) and the Convention itself in 1996. NGO representatives played an unprecedented role in the negotiations over the text, being seated around the table as observers at the UN but able to join in the debate on an ongoing basis. NGO interventions were principled, spirited, well-researched, co-ordinated and helped to strengthen the Convention. The PPC reports of those meetings can be read in the archive or requested from the coordinator. 

The text of the Convention and its rules of procedure recognise the role the NGOs played and set the basis for the continuation of this involvement. The Convention is unique in the UN context for having observership for NGOs institutionalised in its Bureau, for giving NGOs the right to nominate candidates for the Compliance Committee, and above all, giving citizens the right to address that Compliance Committee with complaints about non-compliance by Parties.

Over the years, the PPC has organised NGO conferences, workshops and strategic meetings and has maintained a web site and email discussion groups. We also published PARTICIPATE newsletter since 1997 but it was stopped with increased use of electronic media. A number of  useful publications were produced aiming to keep citizens and NGOs updated and contribute to an exchange of information. Participation in the official process has been backed up by position papers and declarations. A challenge is to achieve a sound representation of the different views and positions of our NGOs and special attention has been given to the participation of NGO representatives from those countries that encounter more difficulties or lack the tradition of actively taking part in such processes.

In the past,in order to organise the work of the PPC and provide and NGOs input into all official Aarhus Convention related meetings, the Public Participation Campaigns Committee (PPCC) was established. During the last Aarhus Convention NGO Strategy meeting in 2014 the new structure of working in clusters was introduced. Each of the clusters have the contact person (focal point) who would organise the input from interested NGOs from the specific area he/she is covering.

The clusters and contact persons are as follows:

Access to Justice (AtoJ) - Joanna Cornelius (SSNC)

Access to Information (AtoInfo) - Mara Silina (European ECO Forum)

Compliance Mechanism - Andriy Andrusevych (RACSE), Thomas Alge (Oekobuero) and Yves Lador (Earthjustice)

GMOs - Antje Lorch (Ecoropa) and Ilya Trombitsky (Eco Tiras)

Public Participation in Decision Making - Anke Stock (WECF)

Public Participation in International Forums - Sebastian Duyck

 

If you or your organisation is interested in issues related to the Aarhus Convention and would like to join other environmental organisations in their work for an effective implementation of the Aarhus Convention, please contact Jeremy Wates.

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