UNECE Aarhus Clearinghouse
The latest news from the Aarhus Convention Clearinghouse
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The European Commission is inviting contributions from interested parties as it begins working on its 2013 ENP progress reports in those of its Neighbourhood Partner Countries with a European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan or Association Agenda as they begin the preparations for the next set of progress reports, which will cover implementation in 2013 and will be adopted in spring 2014.
Russian authorities have been unable to join an international convention that would allow Russians to effectively protect their environmental rights for 15 years
The Aarhus Convention was adopted exactlz 15 zears ago, protecting the human right to a healthy environment, access to environmental information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. However, within the former Soviet Union, only two countries still cannot join the Aarhus Convention - Russia and Uzbekistan, despite the fact that each has taken a very active part in its development and discussion. Within the past decade Russia has had a tumultuous path, taking the road to de-ecologization, when all the basic laws - Forest, Water, Land Codes - were rewritten for the sake of the oligarchy and big business which made possible privatization of forests and natural water bodies and their destruction with impunity, the fatal changes were made to the legislation of the state. Ecological expertise of specifically protected natural areas was virtually destroyed by the sanitary-epidemiological legislation allowing in its current form to poison the population of industrial emissions. Throughout recent years, Russia, trying not to look like a rogue country, carefully imitated the process of accession to the Aarhus Convention. In June 2011, the then President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to address this issue, but at the designated time order was not fulfilled.
The details of Kyrgyzstan's second Aarhus Centre were discussed at an OSCE-supported roundtable meeting in Bishkek last Friday to support the implementation of the United Nations Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, also known as the Aarhus Convention. The new centre will raise awareness about environmental hazards, help mitigate conflicts and tensions over natural resources, and promote a constructive dialogue among those involved in environmental issues.
Stratford on Avon District Council had rejected proposals by developers Hallam Land Management Limited and J.S. Bloor for a development comprising 800 homes, a local centre, a highway and green infrastructure at Shottery village in 2011. However, after a public inquiry, SoS Eric Pickles last year granted planning permission on appeal for the scheme following recommendations set out in a report by a Planning Inspector. In concluding, the judge decided that the emerging plan should be given little weight, the Inspector had taken into account factors including the fact that the plan was at an early stage, that it did not include site allocations and that there was a "significant number" of unresolved objections to the plan and the Aarhus Convention did not require anything more than what the Inspector had done.
The process of legislating in the EU to improve access to justice in the field of the environment has been retriggered with the European Commission's launch of a public consultation from 15 July to 23 September. The consultation aims to collect opinions and concerns regarding the importance of ensuring effective and efficient access to environmental justice in the EU member states and ways to guarantee effective and efficient access to justice in environmental matters and elements on which action at EU level is possible.
This article discusses wheter the Chinese government build a park in the way they want regardless of a number of outraged environmentalists participating in puiblic discussions.
IT: PARLAMENTO EUROPEO: LA COMMISSIONE AMBIENTE SOSTIENE LEGGE PER FERMARE LA DEMOLIZIONE SCONSIDERATA DI VECCHIE NAVI
The European Parliament and EU member states have provisionally accepted a new law to clean up the demolition of old EU ships and ensure that materials are recycled in appropriate facilities. It aims to ensure that these ships are not dismantled on beaches in third countries, in order to protect the health of workers and the environment.
A new law provisionally agreed on between EP negotiators and EU member states to clean up the scrapping of old EU ships and ensure the materials are recycled in EU-approved facilities worldwide was backed by Environment Committee MEPs on Wednesday. It aims to ensure that these ships are not scrapped on the beaches of third countries, so as to protect workers’ health and the environment.
Opportunity to comment on draft Stakeholder Engagement Strategy for the implementation of the IPBES work Programme - deadline for comments 28 July 2013
IUCN, ICSU and the IPBES Interim Secretariat announces the availability for online review of the draft Stakeholder Engagement Strategy for the implementation of the IPBES work Programme. This document has been reviewed by the IPBES Bureau and the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel at their first meeting and will remain available for comments until 28 July 2013.
The port of Dunkerque, northern France, has launched a project for informing the general public about environmental issues. The first Sustainability Morning was held on June 18, 2013, bringing together environmental associations, local industrialists, design offices, local and regional authorities, government departments and representatives of French ports. The main topic of the event was the port's strategy of sustainable development in dredging operations, the management of information and the re-use of sediment in road-building
European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) is hailing a ruling by the European Court of Justice as a first victory in holding the European Commission accountable for the ‘catastrophic’ results of its energy policy. The European windfarm policy is based on the idea that any electricity produced by windfarms would save the amount of fossil fuels that would be necessary to produce it by conventional means. However, the EC failed to conduct technical studies calculating how many tons of fossil fuels would be saved by thousands of wind turbines that would be set up on rural land, affecting the public, as well as avian and marine population. The ruling of the Court is expected in 12 to 18 months.
How can public participation support societal decision making? End Users Conference of the IPPA Project, Prague, 30 September - 1 October, 2013 The End Users Conference will focus on how public participation can support societal decision making and strengthen democratic institutions. Senators, members of parliament, ministry representatives and stakeholders will be invited to speak and express their opinions on matters of fundamental importance to the practical implementation of public participation. Results from the IPPA project will be presented, discussed and challenged by these “end users”; there will be three panel discussions; and new initiatives on how to proceed with governance and socioeconomic issues will be presented. The target group of participants for the conference is not limited to people involved in nuclear waste management, but includes anyone who has an interest in how public participation can support societal decision making in complex and controversial matters.
Consultation on Access to justice in environmental matters – options for improving access to justice at the EU Member State level
The objective of the public consultation is to seek the views of the general public and all stakeholders in order to help: - Assess whether legislative action at EU level would have added value in ensuring effective and non-discriminatory access to justice in environmental matters across the EU Member States (subsidiarity test) - Identify those issues where targeted EU legislative action would be needed to fulfil the objective of ensuring access to national courts in environmental matters (proportionality test)
Public Interest Environmental Litigation and the European Court of Human Rights: No love at first sight, by Riccardo Pavoni
The following article is a summary and analysis os Riccardo Pavoni's article Public Interest Environmental Litigation and the European Court of Human Rights: No Love at First Sight by David Hart QC. Pavoni argues that if the Strasbourg Court were to assert jurisdiction over environmental cases as a common good, alongside adverse impacts on private victims, this would not result in a major overhaul of the Court’s current principles. The article also discusses the case prescedent and convention law relevant in the Strasbourg Case.
The national debate on energy transition is nearing the end. Tensions are clear between those who want energy management to continue as before and those who really want to engage the energy transition. Many citizens feel as though it is necessary to change the energy model and engage transition urgently, while others are opposed.
Aarhus and EU Law? What are they? This online survey intends to measure the awareness by the public in European countries of the Aarhus Convention and the Environmental Law of the EU. Some questions ask about the awareness of the targeted environmental NGO while others ask about the awareness of the general public. For this we have prepared 2 surveys available here: Aarhus: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G88Q9PB EU Law: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GLPNP76 We would kindly like to ask every NGO willing to contribute with 2 x 5 minutes to this survey, and knows basic English, to answer the questions, indeed anonimously. We thank you for your contribution!
The EU General Court declared action by European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW) admissable.
AT: GLOBAL 2000 an Landeshauptmann Voves: Zeigen Sie endlich Rückgrat und retten Sie die schwarze Sulm!
The Environmental Protection Agency GLOBAL 2000 in Styria stands in solidarity with the activists of the black Sulm. "We are alarmed because a unique river landscape of the destruction is threatened. The Black Sulm is one of the last original preserved stretches of river in Austria. Initially the project by the Water Authority of the country was approved by Styria, but cancelled later on. In Austria international environmental law, in particular the Aarhus Convention, has been poorly implemented and the Environmental organizations have few opportunities to appeal. The courts will soon decide the fate of one of Austria's most beautiful rivers. http://www.ots.at/presseaussendung/OTS_20130701_OTS0019/global-2000-an-landeshauptmann-voves-zeigen-sie-endlich-rueckgrat-und-retten-sie-die-schwarze-sulm
ST. PETERSBURG – Numerous press conferences, round tables, seminars, and other actions were held across Russian cities on Tuesday in support of Moscow giving due substance to its declared Year of the Environment 2013 by fully embracing a critical international treaty – the 1998 Aarhus Convention, which unites its member countries in a pledge to provide their citizens access to environmental information and an unencumbered right to participate in environmental decisions
In interest of ratifying the Aarhus Convention, the Swiss senate has requested that the Environmental Commission discuss its implementation. Some argue that the Convention will only lead to more bureaucracy and more cost, while others see it as a barier to the implementation of a new energy policy. Despite these concerns, the Senate joined with 20 votes to 13 on the implementation of a decision. The decision will now go back to the Commission.