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Report of the Meetings of the Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums and of the Expert Group on Public Participation, 6, 7 and 8 July 2009 in Geneva

WECF participated heading the NGO coalition on behalf of the European Eco-Forum during the Fourth meeting of the Task Force

15.07.2009 |Anke Stock

On 6 July 2009 the fourth meeting of the Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums took place in Geneva. WECF participated heading the NGO coalition on behalf of the European Eco-Forum.

It was the first meeting of the Task Force after the MOP3 in Riga where the mandate of the Task Force was focused on the level of the parties. Thus the topic was started off with three presentations from different countries re experiences in implementing article 3 para 7 of the Aarhus Convention. This showed that there are good practices promoting actively public participation on a national level within different countries.
Afterwards an outline proposal for a workshop (see UNECE website for document, http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ppif.htm) for parties in early 2010 was introduced; the particular focus on parties was highlighted. Furthermore, the secretariat presented its analysis of the national implementation reports (see website for document) and the draft terms of reference (see website for document) for developing means of reporting for discussion. The European Communities expressed their concerns that the proposed questionnaire was too detailed which was opposed by the European Eco-Forum. The next Task Force meeting will be held together with the workshop for parties in February/March or April 2010 and towards the end of 2010 there will be another meeting. The official report will be finished soon and be published on the UNECE website.

On 7 and 8 July the Expert Group on Public Participation met for the first time. The Meeting of the Parties decided at its third session to address implementation of the Convention’s provisions on public participation by establishing an inter-sessional body under the authority of the Working Group of the Parties in the form of an Ad Hoc Expert Group on Public Participation. The Ad Hoc Expert Group was given a mandate to coordinate information-sharing on public participation in decision-making, including through the collection of good practice examples, and to advise the Working Group of the Parties on the terms of reference for a Task Force on Public Participation. The Expert Group focused on the draft terms of reference (see UNECE website for document, http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ppeg.htm) for a future Task Force. The decision to establish this Task Force will either be taken during an exceptional MOP next year or at the MOP4 in 2011. The Expert Group also exchanged information on examples of good practices in the area of public participation in environmental decision-making. Discussions on the TORs were ongoing when the delegate of WECF had to leave. The outcome will be on UNECE’s website in due course.

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