ECO Forum statement speaks to all facets of the Aarhus Convention
September 20, 2017
The European ECO Forum, a loose network of more than 80 non-governmental organizations from countries of Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, issued a strong general Statement to the 6th Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Aarhus Convention, which took place last week in Budva, Montenegro.
Entitled “Today paves the way for the future”, the Statement speaks to all facets of the Convention, its current state of implementation, and – importantly – the larger context in which civil society finds itself today. Indeed, the Statement underlines precisely how the Convention can address, and was intended to address, many of these very issues.
While taking the Parties to the Convention to task for a deepening environmental crisis and troubling anti-democratic trends, the Statement is in no way a mere litany of complaints. Rather, it represents the combined reflections of experts from throughout the broad European ECO Forum network on both the achievements and challenges that have occurred in the intersessional period (since the last MOP in 2014).
In terms of substance, the Statement does not confine itself to the three pillars of the Convention (access to information, public participation, and access to justice), but also comprehensively speaks to commonly overlooked or misunderstood aspects surrounding the Convention, such as implementation and compliance, public participation in international fora, the PRTR Protocol, the GMO Amendment, and supporting Principle 10 implementation globally.
In terms of its spirit and intent, the Statement is the product of a range of experts seeking to engage each other in identifying and sharing the most pressing issues we commonly face. It is also intended to then engage the Parties to the Convention, to serve as a call to them to address these challenges and keep the Convention a living and vital instrument. Finally, it is also addressed to those countries who are not parties, and to civil society at large.
For further information, please contact:
Summer Kern, Aarhus Topic Leader for Access to Justice, J&E, summer.kern(at)oekobuero.at, phone + 43 664 7327 7556