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Thirteenth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Justice under the Aarhus Convention

15 - 16 February 2021
Palais des Nations, Geneva Switzerland

The thirteenth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Justice took place from 15 to 16 February 2021 in a hybrid format.  

The meeting provided a platform for exchanging information, experiences and good practices with regard to key recent developments in the implementation of the access to justice pillar of the Convention and possible measures to remove barriers hampering its implementation. It thereby supported the implementation of environmental dimension of Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its target 16.3 (Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all) that undergo in-depth review in 2021.

The thematic session of the meeting focussed on promoting public interest litigation in environmental matters. The Task Force identified good practices, barriers, challenges, innovative approaches, priority actions and needs in this area. In addition, delegates continued the discussion on measures to promote effective access to justice in information cases and cases relating to air quality. Delegates also took stock of recent and upcoming developments related to the implementation of the third pillar of the Convention on a general level.

Documents

Provisional agenda and other meeting documents are available below. 

 

Title 

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Provisional Agenda (AC/TF.AJ-13/Inf.1) 

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List of speakers (AC/TF.AJ-13/Inf.1/Add.1) 

PDF 

 

 

Guide for remote participation 

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Report of the meeting 

PDF 

PDF 

PDF 

List of key outcomes 

 PDF

 

 

List of participants 

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For all agenda items 

 

 

 

Decision VI/3 on promoting effective access to justice,

ECE/MP.PP/2017/8 

PDF 

PDF 

Note by the Chair of the Task Force on Access to Justice (AC/WGP-24/Inf.3) PDF    
Consultation on the draft decision on access to justice       
Item 2      
Outcomes of WGP-24 thematic session on access to justice      
Item 3      
Outcomes of the twelfth meeting of the Task Force      
Item 4      
Study on access to justice in information cases (see tab below)      

AJAI study

http://unece.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/13TFAJ_III.8_AJAQ_J%26E_Bluelink_Peev.pdfStudy on access to justice in information cases

Pursuant to decision VI/3, para. 14 (a) (i), of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention, the Task Force on Access to Justice at its 11th meeting (Geneva, 27-28 February 2018) agreed to prepare a study on access to justice in information cases.

To gather the required information, a survey was carried out among several institutions dealing with this subject in the selected Parties, namely in European Union, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Portugal, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland.  The draft report by the Chair of the Task Force was then prepared summarizing the responses received to the survey. The report provided a basis for the discussion at the 12th meeting of the Task Force on Access to Justice (Geneva, 28 February – 1 March 2019).

The draft report was further revised by the Chair in the light of the comments made at the  12th meeting of the Task Force and comments submitted to the secretariat after the meeting.

The present draft report is made available for comments by the Aarhus Convention national focal points and stakeholders (see the revised draft report (v. 29 July 2020) in the table below). The comments should be sent to the secretariat (aarhus.survey[at]un.org) by 1 November 2020. The receipt of the comments will be acknowledged by the secretariat and they will be made available online in the table below.

Following this round of consultations, the final text of the report discussed and finalized at the thirteenth meeting of the Task Force on Access to Justice.

Documents

Title ENG FRE RUS
Questionnaire on access to justice in cases on the right to environmental information (AC/TF.AJ-11/Inf.4 (final)) PDF    
Responses received to the above Questionnaire      
Draft report by the Chair (v. 22 February 2019 ) discussed at the 12TFAJ meeting PDF    
Revised draft report by the Chair (v. 29 January 2020)  DOC    
Comments received on the draft report by the Chair      
Revised draft report by the Chair (v.29 July 2020) for comments by 1 November 2020 DOC    
Report by the Chair (v. 28 January 2021)         PDF    

Statements and Presentations

Title

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Item 2: Thematic focus: Promoting public interest litigation in environmental matters.

Setting the scene

II.1. Justice Luc Lavrysen, President, European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment

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II.2. Mr. Richard Buxton, Partner, Richard Buxton Solicitors: Environmental, Planning and Public Law

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II.3 Ms. Olha Melen-Zabramna, Head, Legal Unit, Environment-People-Law

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Experiences of Parties and stakeholders

 

 

 

II.4. Ms. Egle Pauzuoliene, Chief Desk Officer, Law and Personnel Division, Ministry of the Environment, Lithuania

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II.5. Ms. Francesca Carlsson, Legal Officer, European Environment Bureau

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Item 3: Access to justice in cases relating to air quality.

Setting the scene

III.1. Mr. Filip Meysman, Professor, University of Antwerp, Belgium

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III.2. Ms. Natalia Kobylarz, Senior Lawyer, the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights

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III.3. Mr. Ugo Tadei, Director of Nature and Health, ClientEarth

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Experiences of Parties and stakeholders

 

 

 

III.4. Mr. Christoph Sobotta, Legal Secretary, Chambers of Advocate General Juliane Kokott, Court of Justice of the European Union

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III.5. Justice Luc Lavrysen, President, European Union Forum of Judges for the Environment

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III.6. Justice Serhii Burlakov, Supreme Court, Ukraine

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III.7. Mr. Oscar Alarik, Legal Counsel, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation

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III.8. Mr. Plamen Peev, Senior legal and policy expert, BlueLink Foundation

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III.9. Ms. Dorothee Saar, Project Manager, Environmental Action Germany

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Item 4: Access to justice in information cases

Experiences of Parties and stakeholders

 

 

 

IV.2. Ms. Maja Raicevic, Independent Advisor, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Montenegro

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IV.3. Ms. Nato Macharashvili, Acting Head, Legal Support Division, Ministry of Environmental protection and Agriculture, Georgia

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IV.4. Mr. Dragoslav Djukic, Senior Advisor, Office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Serbia

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IV.5. Justice Beibut Shermukhametov, Supreme Court, Kazakhstan

 

 

 

IV.6. Mr. Siarhei Mahonau, Legal advisor, Ecohome

PDF

 

 

IV.7. Ms. Regina Stoilova, Lawyer, Environmental Association Za Zemiata

PDF

 

 

Item 5. Taking stock of recent and upcoming developments

 

 

 

 Experiences of Parties and stakeholders

 

 

 

V.1. Mr. Adam Daniel Nagy, Legal Policy Officer, DG Environment, European Commission

PDF

 

 

V.2. Mr. Robert Murataj, Executive Director, Aarhus Information Centre Vlore, Albania

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V.3. Ms. Carol Day, Consultant Solicitor, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

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V.4. Ms. Senka Sifkovic Vrbica, Environmental Lawyer, Legal-informational centre for NGO

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Developments related to other internation forums

 

 

 

V.5. Mr. Guilherme Canela De Souza Godoi, Chief, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section, UNESCO

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V.6. Ms. Marianna Bolshakova, Regional Coordinator, Environmental Law and Governance, UNEP

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V.7. Mr. Marcelo J. Cousillas, Director of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Uruguay

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V.8. Ms. Mariana Neves, Oslo Governance Centre, United Nations Development Programme

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V.9  Mr. Frédérique Bourque, Associate Human Rights Officer, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment)

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