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Joint High-level Segment under the Meetings of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on PRTRs

21 October 2021

Switzerland
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The seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) and the fourth session of the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (Protocol on PRTRs) were held in Palais des Nations, Geneva from 18 to 22 October 2021 in a hybrid format (combining on-site and remote participation).

The events provided a platform for Parties, signatories, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders to discuss achievements and challenges in promoting environmental democracy in the context of digital transformation and sustainable development. The Aarhus Convention and its Protocol provide essential cross-sectoral tools on which Governments can rely to meaningfully engage the public and other stakeholders in decision-making, thereby offering solutions that can deliver truly sustainable governance. In this regard, these treaties are more relevant than ever for implementing a Decade of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with Sustainable Development Goals. The Convention and its Protocol require that solid measures be taken to ensure that all persons, including the most vulnerable groups in society and rural communities, have access to reliable information and are able to participate in decisions that have an effect on their lives without any discrimination or harassment.

Spatial planning and large-scale infrastructure projects, for example, can have a substantial impact on the lives of thousands across countries and regions. Such projects create new opportunities for employment, travel and economic growth. At the same time, they may have an immense impact on ecosystems and human health and well-being.  With the above in mind, the two sessions featured a Joint High-level Segment on 21 October 2021 where delegations focused on the role of the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol in furthering sustainable infrastructure and spatial planning.

Parties to both treaties and a wide range of stakeholders adopted the Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development thereby reinforcing their commitment to promoting the transparent and participatory infrastructure and spatial planning, which will help to uphold the right of every person of present and future generations to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being and achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Information on side-events and media resources can be found here.

Documents

15797 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/15 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/15 - Provisional Agenda _ 359088 _ English _ 773 _ 333387 _ pdf
15797 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/15 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/15 - Provisional Agenda _ 359088 _ French _ 780 _ 333388 _ pdf
15797 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/15 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/15 - Provisional Agenda _ 359088 _ Russian _ 864 _ 333389 _ pdf
15797 _ AC/MOP-7/Inf.4/Rev.1-PRTR/MOP-4/Inf.1/Rev.1 - Programme of the thematic session of the Joint High Level Segment _ 360994 _ English _ 773 _ 340240 _ pdf
15797 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/17 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/3 - Item 4: Draft Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development _ 359089 _ English _ 773 _ 333700 _ pdf ECE_MP.PP_2021_17_E.docx (application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document, 70.96 KB) docx
15797 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/17 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/3 - Item 4: Draft Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development _ 359089 _ French _ 780 _ 333702 _ pdf ECE_MP.PP_2021_17_F.docx (application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document, 62.91 KB) docx
15797 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/17 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/3 - Item 4: Draft Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development _ 359089 _ Russian _ 864 _ 333703 _ pdf ECE_MP.PP_2021_17_R.docx (application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document, 73.34 KB) docx

In-session documents

19605 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/CRP.4 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/CRP.1 - Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development _ 361490 _ English _ 773 _ 340125 _ pdf
19605 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/CRP.4 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/CRP.1 - Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development _ 361490 _ French _ 780 _ 340126 _ pdf
19605 _ ECE/MP.PP/2021/CRP.4 - ECE/MP.PRTR/2021/CRP.1 - Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development _ 361490 _ Russian _ 864 _ 340127 _ pdf

Statements and Presentations

Title

ENG

FRE

RUS

Item 1: Opening of the Joint High-level Segment and adoption of the agenda
Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE PDF    
Message by UN Secretary-General     PDF    
Item 3: Thematic session on the role of the Convention and its Protocol in promoting sustainable infrastructure and spatial planning
Presentations by Parties and stakeholders:
H.E. Ambassador Anita Pipan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva PDF    
Mr. Serik Kozhaniyazov, Vice Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of Kazakhstan PDF    
Ms. Emmanuelle Lachaussee, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva PDF    
Mr. Michal Kiča, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of Slovakia PDF    
Ms. Galit Cohen, Director General, Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel PDF    
Ms. Iordanca-Rodica Iordanov, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova PDF    
Mr. Jeremy Wates, Secretary General, European Environmental Bureau, Representative of the European ECO-Forum PDF    
Mr. Antonio Hodgers, President of the Department of Territory – State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva – Swiss Confederation PDF    
Statements by the Parties and stakeholders:
Ms. Aleksandra Imsiragic, Assistant Minister of Environment, Serbia PDF    
Ms. Birgit Schwenk, Deputy Director General, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany PDF    
Ms. Martine Rohn, Deputy Head International Affairs Division,   Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland PDF    
Item 4: Geneva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Development
H.E. Viriato Luís Soares Cassamá, Minister of Environment and Biodiversity, Guinea-Bissau   PDF  
H.E. Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ireland (video message)

PDF

   
H.E. Mr. Simonas Gentvilas, Minister of Environment, Lithuania PDF    
H.E. Ambassador Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Italy to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva PDF    

H.E. Ambassador Aurora Diaz-Rato Revuelta, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Spain to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

PDF

   
Ms. Nino Tandilashvili, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Georgia PDF    
Ms. Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary, ECLAC (video message)

PDF

   
Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU PDF    
Mr. Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO PDF    
Ms. Tatjana Hema, Mediterranean Action Plan Coordinator, United Nations Environment Programme and Barcelona Convention Secretariat   PDF    
Ms. Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe PDF    
Mr. Ralf Ernst, Deputy Co-ordinator Head of Environmental Activities, OSCE PDF    
Item 5. Review and adoption of decisions of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention
H.E. Mr. Andrei Khudyk, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Belarus         PDF

Photos

Photos of the events are available here