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Aarhus Convention: Third Meeting of the Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums

The Almaty Guidelines and their future after MOP 3

30.11.2007 |Anke Stock

The third meeting of the PPIF Task Force on 8 and 9 November 2007 in Geneva mainly dealt with the future work on the issue of public participation in international forums beyond the third Meeting of the Parties in June 2008 in Riga.

The Secretariat presented the report of the workshop of 20 and 21 June 2007 and a synthesis of comments received on experiences regarding the application of the Almaty Guidelines. Furthermore, France presented findings of a study of public participation. After the discussion about the above-mentioned agenda items had closed, the chair presented a paper on future options. The main discussions then evolved around this issue.

All members of the Task Force agreed on the fact that at the moment there was no need to amend the Guidelines, in particular since so far not sufficient experience had been gained with the Guidelines in their current form. But members agreed that the need to review the Guidelines should be reassessed before the fourth Meeting of the Parties. Main divergences were seen in whether the Task Force should be kept as such. The UK did not support this idea as it saw the work of the Task Force completed, however, Moldova, Armenia and Sweden support the continuance of the Task Force.

Furthermore, there was no agreement on the purpose of the ongoing work and the concrete activities that should be planned for the next inter-sessional period. Nevertheless, the Task Force agreed that substantial work remained to be done on the issue of public participation in international forums. An indicative list of possible future activities was drawn up, including the idea of the European ECO-Forum to prepare an accessible and attractive publication on the outcomes of the consultation process for NGOs and civil servants who had not been involved in the process.

Final decisions about the future of the Task Force and its work remain to be taken by the Meeting of the Parties in June 2008 in Riga.