At its seventh session (Geneva, 18-21 October 2021), the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention adopted decision VII/9 on a rapid response mechanism to deal with cases related to article 3 (8) of the Convention (ENG, FRE, RUS). Austria and Ireland announced their commitment to co-lead the rapid response mechanism.
Paragraph 7 of decision VII/9 establishes the mechanism under the authority of the Meeting of the Parties in the form of an independent Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders to provide a rapid response to alleged violations of the obligations under article 3 (8).
Under paragraph 10 of decision VII/9, the Meeting of the Parties decided to hold an extraordinary session of the Meeting of the Parties in 2022 in order to elect the independent Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders.
In this regard, the third extraordinary session of the Meeting of the Parties to elect the Special Rapporteur was held back-to-back with the 26th meeting of the Working Group of the Parties on 22-24 June 2022. The Meeting of the Parties elected by consensus Mr. Michel Forst as the independent Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders.
The secretariat opened the call for nominations of candidates for the election of the Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders on 26 January 2022. The deadline for nominations was 30 March 2022.
The following candidates, listed in alphabetical order, have been nominated for the Special Rapporteur under the Aarhus Convention:
|Mr. Paul Cackette||Self-nomination|
|Mr. Jonas Ebbesson||ClientEarth, Earthjustice, European Environmental Bureau, Guta Environmental Law Association, and Justice and Environment|
Mr. Michel Forst
|ClientEarth, Earthjustice, European Environmental Bureau, Guta Environmental Law Association, and Justice and Environment|
|Mr. Vadim Ni||Public Foundation “Socio-Ecological Fund”|
In accordance with decision VII/9, the Special Rapporteur shall be a national of the Parties and signatories to the Convention and a person of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of the human rights defenders and shall preferably have relevant legal experience.
Candidates meeting the above requirements could be nominated for election by Parties, signatories and non-governmental organizations promoting environmental protection. Candidates could also nominate themselves.
Nominations had to be sent to the Aarhus Convention secretariat ([email protected]), with the subject line “Nomination for Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders”, in at least one of the official languages of the Convention (i.e. English, French or Russian) not later than 12 weeks before the opening of the third extraordinary session, i.e. by 30 March 2022.
Each nomination had to be accompanied by the curriculum vitae (CV) of the candidate not exceeding 600 words in length.
In accordance with the requirement in rule 10 of the Convention’s Rules of Procedure that all documentation be distributed at least six weeks before the opening of the meeting, the secretariat distributed the nominations and the CVs to Parties (national focal points) and to other States, organizations and bodies referred to in rule 6 of the Convention’s Rules of Procedure on 6 April 2022.