The twenty-third meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention was held on 26-28 June 2019 in Geneva (Palais des Nations, Salle VII). The Working Group reviewed the progress in implementing the current work programme and discussed a number of items, including, progress achieved in promoting access to information, public participation and access to justice, and in ratification of the Convention's amendment on genetically modified organisms; financial matters; and promotion of the Convention and relevant developments and interlinkages. Two thematic sessions, on public participation in decision-making and on promoting the application of the principles of the Convention in international forums, were held during the meeting.
Thematic session on public participation in decision-making
A thematic session on public participation in decision-making was organized in the format of an interactive panel discussion followed by a general discussion on several topics, including:
a) identification and notification of the public concerned, including vulnerable and marginalized groups;
b) early public participation;
c) the taking of due account of the outcome of public participation;
d) innovative practices that facilitate more effective public participation;
e) the role of private actors and project developers in carrying out public participation procedures;
f) public participation in decision-making related to changes to or extensions of existing activities;
g) public participation in a transboundary context; and
h) protection of persons exercising their rights in conformity with the provisions of the Convention.
The examples discussed illustrated public participation in decision-making in different sectors.
Thematic session on the promotion of the principles of the Convention in international forums
The meeting featured a thematic session on promoting the application of the principles of the Convention in international forums. The session focussed primarily on the promotion of the principles of the Convention in the policies of international financial institutions and also on cross-cutting issues, such innovative practices, different modalities for engaging stakeholders, self-organization of stakeholders, hosting an international event and identification of the public.
Additional topics ncluded: a relevant update on the processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; the policy on stakeholder engagement of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme; and the high-level political forum on sustainable development and Sustainable Development Goal-related processes.
Consultation on the draft Strategic Plan for 2022-2030 and self-assessment by Parties on Strategic Plan 2015-2020
The Working Group of the Parties agreed on the proposal for developing a new Strategic Plan for 2022-2030 (ECE/MP.PP/WG.1/2019/7). For information on consultations on the draft Strategic Plan and self-assessment by Parties see this web page.
Find out more about the outcomes of the meeting here