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UNECE Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention addresses Public Participation, Human Rights and the Environment

WECF advocates for focus on women and girls as marginalised groups


Countries: The Netherlands, International
Issues: Gender & Rights
Duration: 07/2014 - 07/2014

From June 30th until July 4th, UNECE will hold the fifth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Aarhus Convention as well as the second session of the MOP to the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers in Maastricht, the Netherlands.

The Aarhus Convention, adopted in 1998 and entered into force in 2001, underscores three essential rights relating to public participation and the environment: the right to access to information concerning the environment from public authorities, the right to participate in decision-making processes regarding the environment, and the right to challenge public decisions that have breached either the previous two rights or environmental law.

The goal of the fifth meeting of the MOP to the Aarhus Convention is to promote the commitment to democracy, transparency and human rights in relation to the environment, particularly by coordinating joint efforts between parties. Furthermore, the parties will discuss achievements and challenges faced in promoting public participation and access to justice as well as decide on future strategic plans.

WECF attended the MOP as an active member of the Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-Making and stresses in particular the importance of promoting public participation of women and girls as a marginalised group. This relates strongly to all of WECF’s international work, including as part of the Women’s Major Group (WMG) in its work on the Sustainable Development Goals. “The Aarhus Convention does not explicitly recognise the right of public participation for women and girls”, writes Dr. Anke Stock, senior advisor on gender and rights, in a WECF position paper. “A stronger focus on women’s and girls’ participation in environmental decision-making is needed as they have different experiences and can provide different know-how than men”. Barriers to women’s participation in the public sphere must be removed. Read the full position paper here.

For more information on the event, visit
- the official event website of the Aarhus Convention
- the UNECE event page

For more information on the Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-Making see our review of one of its meetings in 2012.


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