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WECF and Eco Forum at the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention

"The world needs a stronger Aarhus Convention" according to a coalition of NGO's who defend an effective and reliable mechanism for environmental human rights

04.07.2011 |Anke Stock




June 29 the Fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (MOP-4) started in Chisinau, Moldova. For three days, negotiators from 44 signatory countries were discussing the status of the implementation, the work programme for the coming years, the compliance mechanism and individual cases of non-compliance, public participation in international fora (PPIF), and whether to open the Aarhus Convention to other countries outside the UNECE region

WECF participated in the MOP-4 to the Aarhus Convention in Chisinau from 29 June to 1 July 2011. About 400 participants attended the session marking the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention.


WECF's Anke Stock, receiving the certificate from ECOforum that she has been named "knight to the order of knight of the Aarhus Convention"

The meeting closed with the Chisinau Declaration “Rio Plus Aarhus – 20 Years On” (see soon on http://www.unece.org/env/pp/mop4/mop4.doc.htm), jointly drafted by parties and other stakeholders, including civil society, which highlights in particular the importance to promote the Aarhus principles of openness, transparency, wide participatory approach and accountability in international environmental decision-making processes and in the preparations for the Rio+ 20 Conference in 2012. The call of NGOs, in particular the European Environmental Bureau and the European ECO Forum, to commit to amending the Convention provision regarding the accession by non-UNECE states was not reflected in the Chisinau Declaration. So far Art. 19 (3) requests approval by the MOP. However, it was decided that the Working Group of the Parties will report about the effectiveness of the MOP-4 decision on accession by non-UNECE states.
MOP-5 will then have the possibility to “take any action considered relevant” to encourage the accession of non-UNECE states.

WECF is particularly involved in the work on the public participation pillar of the Convention. So far WECF has been heading the NGO coalition under the auspices of the European ECO Forum in the Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums. Even though significant work on this issues remains to be done the Task Force as such is not going to be continued. The promotion of the Aarhus principles in international forums will be proceeded under the authority of the Working Group of the Parties with the support by France continuing to lead this area of work (see soon Decision ECE/MP.PP/2011/CRP.5 on http://www.unece.org/env/pp/mop4/mop4.doc.htm). 

Regarding the newly established Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-Making the MOP agreed to extend its mandate and to endorse the proposed workplan (see ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2011/5)

WECF welcomes France’s commitment to proceed with the important work on public participation in international forums and will keep to stay involved in the work on public participation in order to shape the concept via the exchange of best practices and desktop research as well as via outreach to other regions and other forums to promote the concept which fosters real democracy and transparency. It is 20 years that Rio principle 10 was first born and it is now time to review it in order to reach its global acceptance.

More documents:

ECO Forum press release on the MOP 4

Declaration by ECO Forum on the MOP 4

Intervention by Anke Stock during MOP 4

Speech Jeremy Wates, Secretary General European Environmental Bureau



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