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Past events



Aarhus at Rio+20


Eye on Earth
In December 2011, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) hosted, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme  (UNEP) the inaugural Eye on Earth Summit. It convened global leaders, innovators and decision-makers, its purpose to strengthen existing efforts and inspire new solutions to the critical issue of access to environmental data  and information by all those who need it. With the shared knowledge and understanding of the Eye on Earth Community, a suite of outcomes were committed to in 2011; the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration and eight Special Initiatives.
Thematic Special Initiatives
Eye on Biodiversity 
Eye on Community Sustainability & Resiliency 
Eye on Disaster Management 
Eye on Oceans & Blue Carbon
Eye on Water Security
Foundation Special Initiatives
Eye on Access for All
Eye on Environmental Education
Eye on Global Network of Networks
For more information please visit:


Consultation a draft code of good practice on information, participation and transparency in Internet governance 

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 15-18 November 2009
The Council of Europe, UNECE and APC have been reviewing the arrangements for information and participation in entities concerned with Internet governance since the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum in 2007. The aim of the CoE/UNECE/APC project is to consider whether there is scope for developing a code of good practice on transparency, information and participation in Internet governance. Such a code, if developed, could build on existing Internet governance experience and the principles concerning Internet governance which were adopted at the World Summit on the Information Society.
This document includes a first draft text for a code of good practice on information, participation and transparency in Internet governance. The project partners put it forward for consultation within the Internet community in the run-up to the 4th meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 15-18 November 2009), where it will be discussed at an IGF workshop.
Please submit any comments you may have on the draft code to Mr. David Souter (email: [email protected]) and Mr. Michael Remmert (email: [email protected]) by 7 November 2009.
WSIS Follow up Forum 2009
19 May 2009, Geneva
As part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Follow-up Forum 2009, the UN Regional Commissions organized an event. The Aarhus Convention secretariat reported on the consultation process to promote the application of the principles of the Convention in international environmental decision-making processes and within the framework of international organizations in matters relating to the environment.
Report of the UN Regional Commission's WSIS follow-up Forum event ENG


NGO Training on the Aarhus Convention Compliance Procedures 
16-19 December 2008, Geneva
The European ECO Forum Training on the Aarhus Convention Compliance Procedures took place on 16-19 December 2008 with the aim to raise capacity of environmental NGOs to strategically use the Aarhus Convention compliance mechanism. Twenty-eight NGO representatives from twenty-two countries took part in the training.

The training addressed major issues related to the Aarhus Convention compliance mechanism, among others Compliance Committee procedures, Committee’s case-law, and experience of applicants. The training was organized in parallel with the 22nd meeting of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee. This allowed training participants to attend the public sessions of the Compliance Committee.

The content of the meeting was prepared by the European ECO Forum compliance team under the auspices of the Public Participation Campaign. The team also assists organizations to clarify issues related to the use of Compliance mechanism and prepare communications to the Compliance Committee, if necessary.

For more information contact:
Mara Silina 
E-mail: [email protected] 
Public Participation Campaign
European ECO Forum

Green Spider Network Annual Meeting
1-4 October 2008, Annecy, France
At the European Network of Environmental Communicators annual meeting in Annecy, France, the Aarhus Convention Secretariat was invited to present an update on outcomes of the third meeting of the Parties to the Convention (Riga, latvia, 11-13 June 2008). The secretariat informed the "Green Spiders", as the European Network members are known, of the mandate to establish an expert group on communication strategy to support the Convention's Strategic Plan, which was adopted in Riga.
Stakeholder Consultation on Public Participation in Internet Governance
"Towards a code of good practice building on the principles of WSIS and the Aarhus Convention"

23 May 2008, 14:00-17:00 – International Telecommunications Union, Geneva
The Stakeholder Consultation on Public Participation in Internet Governance discussed the results of the exploratory research into a “Code of good practice on public participation, access to information and transparency in Internet governance”, undertaken through a trilateral initiative of the Council of Europe, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), initiated at the scond Internet Governance Forum (November 2007).
The aim of the proposed “Code of good practice on public participation, access to information and transparency in Internet governance” would be to enable all the institutions which play a role in some aspect of governing the Internet to commit to ensuring transparency, public participation (of all stakeholders) and access to information in Internet Governance.
The objective of the consultation was to consider the purpose and scope of the proposed instrument and to discuss with panellists and participants its possible opportunities, limitations and risks. Related initiatives in the field of Internet governance, such as UN Working Group on Internet Governance and International Telecommunication Union consultation on public participation in ITU processes, were discussed and analysed in respect of their compatibility or complementarity with the proposed instrument.
The consultation also aimed to identify other interested stakeholders from different stakeholder groups with a view to associating them with the initiative. A representative from the UN Economic Commission for Africa announced that the initiative would be considered at the African Regional Meeting on follow up to WSIS in November 2008.
The consultation laid the groundwork for a proposed workshop to be held at the third Internet Governance Forum, in Hyderabad, India, from 3-6 December 2008.
Read the Report of the conference “Towards a code of good practice building on the principles of WSIS and the Aarhus Convention”.
Click here for a list of speakers and discussants.
Participants attending the session were invited to intervene during the discussion, which following the presentations and discussants' interventions took the form of an open dialogue.
For background to the initiative, see the Council of Europe press release of 13 November 2007, report of the Council of Europe/UNECE/APC Best Practice Forum to the Internet Governance Forum in Rio de Janeiro, publication “Encouraging Implementation of the WSIS Principles” by William J. Drake and “Exploratory Report on...a Code of Good Practice” by David Souter.
Stakeholder consultation and background documents

Report of the consultation “Towards a code of good practice building on the principles of WSIS and the Aarhus Convention”
List of participants
Information note on Stakeholder consultation on public participation in Internet governance (23 May 2008, Geneva)
Council of Europe press release (dated 22 May 2008) announcing the stakeholder consultation 
Exploratory Report on the Concept and Possible Scope of a Code of Good Practice on Participation, Access to Information and Transparency in Internet Governance - Discussion paper for the Skakeholder Consultation on Internet Governance, 23 May 2008, Geneva 
Report of the IGF-2 Best Practice Forum (13 November 2007, Rio de Janeiro)
Council of Europe/APC press release (13 November 2007) 
"Encouraging Implementation of the WSIS Principles" by William J. Drake, from The Power of Ideas: Internet Governance in a Global Multi-stakeholder Environment, Wolfgang Kleinwächter (Ed.), with a foreward by Nitin Desai, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Internet Governance, (Berlin, Marketing für Deutschland GmbH, pp. 271-280).
For more information, please contact [email protected].
OECD Task Force on PRTR - Eleventh meeting 
12-14 March 2008, Paris
The Task Force discussed the utility of geographic information system and web mapping applications for future communication of PRTR information, within the context of the high-level portal on pollutant release and transfer registers launched in December 2007. The Nordic PRTR Group reported on a scoping study of chemicals in products. The International PRTR Coordinating Group reported on its planned contribution to reporting PRTR capacity building activities to the second International Conference on Chemicals Management, in May 2009.


R.A.V.E. Space Project Final Conference
Values fo Space and Sustainable Development: the Role of Education

3-4 December 2007, Ljubljana
The Conference will gather relevant stakeholders to discuss the ways and means for a step-by-step integration of concepts of sustainable spatial development into the regular educational process of schools at the European level. The Aarhus Convention Secretariat is invited to address the conference on the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development and its relation to the implementation of the Convention.
For more information on the Conference, click here.
"Public Participation in Internet Governance: Emerging issues, good practices and proposed solutions" Best Practices Forum, 2nd Internet Governance Forum
12 November 2007, Rio de Janeiro
The Council of Europe and and civil society organisations proposed a self-regulatory mechanism to foster participation, access to information and transparency in Internet governance at the Internet Governance Forum, featuring the European practices under the Aarhus Convention.
To see the Council of Europe's press release of the event, click here.
Sixth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe"
10-12 October 2007, Belgrade
Environment ministers and high-level government officials from 56 countries of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region, including Canada and USA, as well as hundreds of representatives of nongovernmental organizations, participated in the Belgrade Conference. The Conference addressed evaluation and implementation of regional environmental agreements, capacity building and partnerships, and the future of the Environment for Europe process, among other topics.
During the Conference, the Aarhus secretariat co-organized two official side events:
UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers: Ready for Take-off (UNECE, co-sponsored by the Government of Switzerland)
Lessons, Experiences and Remaining Challenges in Implementing the Aarhus Convention: Common Approaches and Best Practices
which addressed the experience of implementation of the Convention in Southeast Europe and EECCA countries. The latter event was co-organized by the Regional Environmental Center.
The programme of the Aarhus Convention side event may be accessed online. Click to read the Chairman's introduction and summary and the European Environmental Bureau's intervention.
For more information on the PRTR side event, visit the PRTR Working Group's side event webpage.
The Aarhus Convention secretariat also participated in an interactive broadcast on the relationship between environmental sustainability and information technology (IT): Greening IT: Europe's way to an environmentally sustainable information society.
NGO side events addressing the "Aarhus Convention and public participation in Serbia" and "The Access Initiative: measuring access rights implementation by indicators in Europe" were also held during the Conference.
For details, click here.
OECD Task Force on PRTR - Tenth meeting 
27 February - 1 March 2007, Copenhagen
The Task Force reviewed the design of a high-level portal on pollutant release and transfer registers provided byEnvironment Canada, among other topics addressing PRTR development.


UNECE Panel: Education for Sustainable Development in the UNECE region
14 September 2006, Hamburg, Germany
This panel discussion, held on the opening morning of the Second European Fair on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), focussed on implementing education for sustainable development in the UNECE region through the UNECE Strategy for ESD and the Aarhus Convention.
Workshop on Environmental Monitoring and Reporting by Enterprises 
4-6 September 2006, Debe, Poland
This workshop, organized by the UNECE Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, exchanged the latest experience and prepare guidelines on legal, normative, institutional, financial and technical measures to improve environmental monitoring and reporting by enterprises, above all in EECCA countries.
Symposium on public participation in environmental decision-making
15-17 August 2006, Beijing, China
The purpose of the symposium was to gather comments and to fine-tune a draft regulation for public participation in environmental decision-making under State Environmental Protection Agency of China. The symposium was part of a 6-month project to develop such a regulation for China.
Fellowship Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law
17 July-4 August 2006, Budapest, Hungary
The Fellowship Programme provides an intensive three-week course in environmental law and policy. The secretariat delivered a half day training on Human Rights and Environment: Procedural Dimensions (Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice).
PRTR Implementation Problems and Perspectives
5-7 July 2006, Volograd, Russian Federation
Representatives of NGOs and regional authorities, mainly from European part of Russia, discussed pollutant release and transfer registers in the workshop organized by Ecopress and European ECO Forum.


Working for Open Decision-Making: The Access Initiative European Regional Meeting 
7-8 November 2005, Warsaw, Poland
The meeting discussed partners and strategies to improve collaboration and achieve better access to information, participation and justice for more just and environmentally sustainable decisions.
Third Meeting of the Partnership for Principle 10 
Committee of the Whole

4-5 October 2005, London, England
Co-hosted by Capacity Global and the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the meeting brought together 54 participants representing 11 governments, 7 international organizations (including the Aarhus Convention secretariat), and 21 non-governmental organizations committed to implementing Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration. It addressed strategies for moving the Partnership forward.

2003 - 2004


Human Rights and the Environment


A resolution on Human rights and the environment as part of sustainable development was adopted by the Commission on Human Rights in April 2003. It requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Commission at its sixtieth session in spring 2004 a report "on the consideration being given to the possible relationship between the environment and human rights", taking into account the contributions that concerned international organizations and bodies.


The activities carried out under the Aarhus Convention are of great relevance to this topic. To a certain extent, the Convention may be said to embody the link between human rights and the environment, being an instrument which on the one hand aims to ensure better protection of the environment, and on the other, attempts to achieve this goal by seeking to guarantee specific rights of individuals. Hence a submission to the report was made recently by the secretariat, on behalf of UNECE.