UNECE Aarhus Clearinghouse
The latest news from the Aarhus Convention Clearinghouse
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The Netherlands: We the people: a case for climate action
Dutch citizens have taken legal action against their government for its failure to combat climate change. Irish Campaigners intend to do the same using provisions of the Aarhus Convention and EU Laws.
UK: Estate owner awarded protective expenses order after Inner House rules costs would be ‘prohibitively expensive’
An estate owner who is challenging plans for a wind farm development in Ayrshire, Scotland has been granted a protective expenses order following an appeal in line with the provisions of the Aarhus Convention.
UK: Lloyd Austin: Environmental courts best way to resolve disputes
The Article explores the role of Environmental Courts and the efficaciousness that they achieve, being in spirit with the Aarhus Convention.
France: GMOs: A collective challenges the state and the EU for clearer labeling
The article explores the incident of civil society pressurising the Government of France to incorporate mandatory labeling of food products from animals, as required under the Aarhus Convention.
China: Company transparency could help overcome resistance to environmental action
The Article explores the need for Transparency and public participation in China, issues that formed the backbone of at least four of the 2015 report on establishing China’s Green Financial System report’s key recommendations. The article explores the possibility of bringing China and Australia, inter alia, under the umbrella of the Aarhus Convention.
Review and Update of the World Bank Safeguard Policies
The World Bank is updating its policies protecting the poor and the environment in Bank- financed projects. In this regard it has launched the 3rd round of consultations on the proposed Environmental and Social Framework, focusing on implementation and on an indicative list of complex issues that require further discussion. Between August and December 2015, the World Bank has held consultations in 18 countries across all regions. This is part of the third phase of one of the largest consultation efforts the Bank has undertaken. Feedback on a list of outstanding issues and on the implementation of the proposed safeguards requirements on the ground has been rich and valuable. The World Bank closed the year 2015 with consultations in Niger and Nigeria. In early 2016 consultation events are planned for Cameroon, Rwanda, Turkey, Egypt, Vietnam, and Belgium (for European constituencies).
France: COP21: What means a "binding agreement"?
Francois Hollande has again said Monday at the opening of COP21: the agreement will come out to be "binding". A qualification that the United States rather try to push. These verbal misunderstandings however not involve a substantive disagreement. The key concepts for understanding the debate also refer to the Aarhus Convention.
UK: Government attacks public right to environmental justice
The UK Government, through subtle changes in legal definitions concerning financial viability of bringing claims relating to the environmental laws, seeks to restrict the right to affordable environmental justice. In this endeavour, the Aarhus Convention's affordability provision, under Article 9, is sought to be diluted, thus limiting its application.
EU: When people kept out of law-making
The article explores the lack of backing to the Aarhus Convention in the EU legal framework, and the need to make the procedure more transparent, in line with the Convention.
Turkmenistan: Environmental awareness in focus at OSCE-supported events
A series of OSCE-supported seminars held in six cities across Turkmenistan concluded today in Turkmenbashi, raising awareness about the Aarhus Convention, a key UN document on access to environmental information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
Kyrgyzstan: Justice and the Aarhus Convention
Bishkek held a training on the basics of the Aarhus Convention on "Access to justice in matters relating to the environment." It was attended by representatives of human rights organizations, NGOs, lawyers and attorneys, who in their work apply the principles of the Convention.
EU: Democracy denied: How the Commission keeps people out of lawmaking
The article explores the need and hope for backing up the transparency, required under the Aarhus convention, with execution, by the EU. With its Better Regulation agenda, the European Commission talks big about making EU decisions more transparent and increasing public participation. But the reality is very different, writes Anaïs Berthier, lawyer at ClientEarth.
EU: More than half of EU officially bans genetically modified crops
More than half of the 28 countries in the European Union, including Germany and France, have decided to ban their farmers from growing genetically modified crops. Several regions, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have also joined the movement. Environmental groups long opposed to GM crops are delighted with the outcome. “There has never been a clearer signal that GM crops, and the companies that make them are not wanted in Europe,” says Mute Schimpf, of Friends of the Earth Europe. “The technology is not only risky, it’s redundant,” he says. “And people and the governments that represent them are rejecting them outright.”
EU: Parliament rejects national GMO bans proposal
A draft EU law that would enable any EU member state to restrict or prohibit the sale and use of EU-approved GMO food or feed on its territory was rejected by the European Parliament on Wednesday. Members are concerned that the law might prove unworkable or that it could lead to the reintroduction of border checks between pro- and anti-GMO countries. They call on the Commission to table a new proposal.
Ireland: The bar fights to keep fees quiet
The Bar Council has told a European watchdog that publishing Irish barristers' fees would "encourage a race to the bottom" by putting too much emphasis on price. The representative body said if its members were to publish the rates they charge for services, it would lead to "an unsustainably low level" of legal costs, which have been "dramatically" reduced since 2008. In some cases there have been "unilateral cuts of more than 50%" in barristers' fees. The council, which represents about 2,300 barristers, made the claims in its formal response to a complaint under investigation by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that Ireland's legal fees are "prohibitively expensive" and are restricting access to justice.
Israel: Factory emissions levels fall again in 2014
The Environmental Protection Ministry of Israel unveiled the data contained in its 2014 Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) which includes a survey of 507 factories and their emissions levels. According to this survey, air pollution levels dropped as much as 53 percent in 2014 in comparison to those in 2012 – after falling as much as 40% in 2013. In addition, the Environmental Protection Ministry director-general Yisrael Danzinger mentioned the National Action Plan for the Haifa Bay Area which contains measures approved in August by the government to curb air pollution in this particularly problematic region.
Lviv hosted the training for judges-trainers of the course “Human rights and environmental protection”
On 28-30 September 2015, International charitable organization “Environment-People-Law” (EPL) jointly with the National School of Judges of Ukraine at financial support of USAID Fair Justice Project held a training for judges – trainers of the course “Human rights and environmental protection” on the basis of methodological materials developed by EPL.
UK: Green activists worry about government plans to raise cost of legal challenges
Proposals to expose claimants in environmental cases to higher financial liabilities if they lose their cases could deter people from bringing actions, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The consultation has been launched to update the UK’s responsibilities under the Aarhus convention, which guarantees public participation in decision-making as well as access to information and justice in environmental matters.
Spain: On the declaration of 5 projects of strategic interest to the Canary Islands
Ben Magec-Ecologists in Action claims that law 3/2015, entitling the Canary Islands Government to "streamline project deadlines they themselves decide", violates the right of citizens to a reasonable time frames for their participation in matters related to the environment as granted by the Aarhus Convention
Austria: Fundamental right question to a small power plant
A small hydroelectric power plant is planned in Innervillgraten. Environmentalists invited the Ministry to stop the construction of power plants and are going to petition the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, whether or not the exclusion of environmental organizations from administrative procedures violated a fundamental right under the Aarhus Convention.