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Aarhus Meetings in Geneva on 29 June until 2 July 2010

Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums met in Geneva to discuss about reporting requirements for Parties under the Aarhus Convention

08.07.2010 |Anke Stock

On 29 July the Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums met in Geneva. The aim of this meeting was the discussion about reporting requirements for Parties under the Aarhus Convention mon the Almaty Guidelines  and the future work of the Task Force.

The main focus was on the workshop on “Experiences of Promoting the Application of the Principles of the Aarhus Convention in International Forums” held the same day. Inter alia, WECF and some of its partner organisations, such as Khazer and the Ural Ecological Union, presented their experiences with international forums, such as the UNFCCC, the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Protocol on Water and Health. Some Parties also showed their undertakings in this regard and it became clear that still many shortcomings exist. However, this platform of a workshop to discuss different views and exchange experiences and best practices was seen by many participants as a good opportunity to overcome these obstacles.

The following day an extraordinary Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention took place. The Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-making was established which will work on improving the implementation of the Aarhus Convention’s provision on public participation. The Task Force will be chaired by Mr. Philip Kearney from Ireland.

The same day until Friday (2nd July) the 12th Meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention  took place. A new workplan was presented which introduced the idea to reduce the numbers of task forces within the mandate of the Aarhus Convention. The participants of the meeting had not been informed prior to the meeting of this workplan and NGOs expressed their concerns about the reduction of areas of work under the Aarhus Convention. The NGOs under the umbrella of the European Eco-Forum decided to submit a paper about their views on the workplan 2012-14 to the Secretariat and the Parties until 20 September 2010. All our members and other interested stakeholders are invited to take part in drafting this paper.

Furthermore, the Parties accepted the joint idea by the UNECE/WHO-EURO Secretariat of the Protocol on Water and Health and WECF to include the issue of public participation under the Protocol on Water and Health in the work programme of the newly established Task Fore on Public Participation of the Aarhus Convention. Some Parties particularly welcomed the idea of joining forces and using synergies of this future co-operation.

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