The topic area supports the practical implementation of the UNECE Convention on Public Accessto Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the so-called Aarhus Convention), and of the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) Protocol and related EU directives.
Activities are built on significant expertise gained during the past 15 years of drafting, ratification and putting into practice these international legal instruments. We provide assistance for EU member states, Turkey, SEE and EECCA countries, including:
- Support to selected parties and other countries implementing the Aarhus Convention through legal and policy analysis and assistance to various stakeholders focusing on problematic areas identified as gaps or difficulties.
- The development and implementation of capacity-building programmes for officials and NGOs in applying public participation in environmental decision making at regional and local levels and integrating it in different fields such as water management and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive; climate change; nuclear and other energy issues; local environmental action plans; sustainable consumption and production; Natura2000; waste management etc. Capacity-building programmes are also developed for judges, prosecutors, ministry officials, and NGOs in understanding and implementing the access to justice pillar of the Aarhus Convention, related EU directives and national legislation.
- Assistance to environmental agencies in setting up and operating PRTR systems in line with the PRTR Protocol and the EU’s E-PRTR requirements, as well as in preparations for the ratification of the PRTR Protocol, and in building the awareness and understanding of operators and NGOs about their roles and responsibilities and the benefits of the process.
The services provided by the topic area include:
- Assessment of progress in the implementation of the Aarhus Convention and the PRTR Protocol at national and regional level.
- Development of strategies, action plans and assistance in institutional development and practical application to support the implementation of the Aarhus Convention, the PRTR Protocol and the E-PRTR Regulation.
- Design and implementation of capacity-building programmes on public access to information, public participation in decision making (including public participation in EIA, SEA, IPPC, WFD, E-PRTR/PRTR) and access to justice in environmental matters including the development and delivery of training programmes; workshops for officials, NGOs and businesses at national and local level; pilot projects at community level; and the development of guides and manuals.
- Facilitation of stakeholder involvement and dialogue through roundtable meetings and workshops enabling NGOs and other stakeholders to provide input to decision making on environmental policy and drafting legislation.
- Assistance in the use of electronic tools to support the implementation of the Aarhus Convention’s three pillars via assessments, comparative analyses, best practice examples and trainings.
- Dissemination of information, promotion of best practices and awareness-raising activities through web-based tools, events, publications and networking.
- Development, management and implementation of projects in cooperation with government, NGO and other partners on the implementation and ratification of the Aarhus Convention, the PRTR Protocol and related EU directives in new EU member states, SEE and EECCA countries.