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Aarhus Convention: First Task Force Meeting on Public Participation

On 25 and 26 October 2010 the first meeting of the newly established Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-Making under the Aarhus Convention took place in Geneva

27.10.2010 |Anke Stock




On 25 and 26 October 2010 the first meeting of the newly established Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-Making under the Aarhus Convention took place in Geneva. Experts from Parties to the Aarhus Convention, from NGOs from EECCA countries as well as from international organisations participated in this meeting as well as some guest speakers, such as from The Access Initiative. Unfortunately, not many Parties attended this important meeting about the issue of public participation.

The Task Force discussed good practices, innovative forms and tools and challenges of public participation from their experiences. Furthermore, the importance of capacity-building for NGOs and local and national authorities was discussed and once more highlighted.

Participants discussed the draft work plan 2011-2014 (http://www.unece.org/env/ pp/ppdm.htm) of the Task Force and a list of draft elements of recommendations (http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ppdm.htm) which the Task Force was mandated to work on. The draft recommendations will be sent out for comments by the end of this year or early next year; a revised version will be available for the next meeting at the end of 2011. It was agreed that a set of recommendations (excluding the issues of further development of Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Convention and public participation for sustainable development) will be finished by 2012. A template of a questionnaire (http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ppdm.htm) for the collection of case studies was presented by the Secretariat. The Task Force and other interested experts are invited to further comment on this before 20 January 2011.

Important is the cross-sectoral approach which is intended to be taken up by the Task Force. Closer cooperation as well as workshops with the Aarhus and Nuclear Initiative, the Protocol on Water and Health and the Espoo Convention are planned for the future.

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