Published: 04 March 2016
A human rights perspective on environmental protection not only promotes human dignity, equality and freedom, but also improves the effectiveness of policymaking generally. Ensuring that those most affected by development and environmental policies are able to obtain information, freely express their views and participate in the decision-making process makes the policies more robust and sustainable. These are some of the findings of the Implementation Report that the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, presented to the Human Rights Council today.
In his report the Special Rapporteur acknowledges the “leading example” of the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) in this work, and specifically cites its Compliance Committee and Task Force on Access to Justice. Today the Convention has 47 Parties — ranging from the wealthiest countries in the world to lower-middle income countries. This confirms the universal importance of environmental democracy. Being the only legally binding international treaties to promote human rights with regard to the environment, the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers offer effective solutions to address a number of challenges identified in the report.
The secretariat of the Aarhus Convention stands ready to collaborate with the Special Rapporteur and the United Nations human rights bodies. Joining efforts will help to promote more effective implementation of human rights obligations relating to the environment. These rights are becoming even more critical now in the context of efforts undertaken by all countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.
For further information, please contact:
Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation
in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters and Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers
Tel: + 41 (0)22 917 2376