On 11 October 2017, Montenegro ratified the UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, becoming the thirty-sixth Party to join this Protocol to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention). UNECE welcomes Montenegro to the “PRTR family”.
Ratification of the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (Protocol on PRTRs) by Montenegro follows the country’s active support to activities under the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol. This was illustrated most recently by the country’s hosting of the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention and the third session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, including a joint high-level segment, which were held in Budva, Montenegro, from 11 to 15 September 2017. It also corroborates the commitment of Montenegro, as a self-proclaimed “Ecological State”, to adopt the highest standards of environmental protection and pursue the principles of transparency and accountability, thereby promoting implementation of a number of Sustainable Development Goals.
By ratifying the Protocol, Montenegro joins a group of countries that lead efforts to enhance access to information and raise public awareness on releases of hazardous chemical substances to air, water and soil. As a Party to the Protocol, Montenegro will also have the opportunity to promote green economy, eco-innovation and prevention and reduction of pollution by supporting implementation of the decisions adopted at the third session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol and the Budva Declaration on Environmental Democracy for Our Sustainable Future, adopted jointly by the Meetings of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol.
A PRTR is a national environmental database or inventory of potentially hazardous chemical substances released to air, water and soil and transferred off-site for treatment or disposal. A PRTR allows the public authorities to track each release and transfer of a hazardous chemical substance consistently over time. Authorities can then set priorities for reducing or even eliminating the most potentially damaging releases. Therefore, an important objective of the Protocol is to enhance public access to information. By providing access to information on pollutants and hazardous substances, the Protocol strengthens the Aarhus Convention’s pillar on access to information. Moreover, the Protocol supports fact-based decision-making on chemicals. It is therefore also expected to facilitate the implementation of a number of Sustainable Development Goals related to sound management of chemicals and healthy environment.
The UNECE Protocol on PRTRs was adopted on 21 May 2003 in Kyiv and entered into force on 8 October 2009. The Protocol has now been ratified by 35 countries and the European Union. All United Nations Member States can join the Protocol, regardless of whether they have ratified the Aarhus Convention or are members of the Economic Commission for Europe. It is by design an open, global treaty. While there are other initiatives promoting PRTRs, the UNECE Protocol on PRTRs is the only legally binding instrument on these registers to ensure minimum standards for equal rights and transparency in the use of environmental data.
For further information on the Aarhus Convention, its amendment on genetically modified organisms or the Kyiv Protocol, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html.
Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
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