Aarhus Convention – your right to environmental information The Aarhus Convention is a UN Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. svenska Share Contact Listen The Convention links environmental and human rights issues. It focuses on the relationship between citizens and their governments and defines obligations placed on public sector authorities regarding transparency, participation and the ability to review decisions, documents and omissions in the environmental field. Citizens have the right to access environmental information, the ability to influence environmental decisions and the right to appeal environmental decisions or otherwise get a legal review whether their rights under legislation related to the environment have been violated. Briefly about the convention In June 1998, Sweden signed the UN Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention). The Convention, adopted within the framework of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN / ECE), entered into force in 2001 and was ratified by Sweden in 2005. Today the convention has 47 partners from Europe and Central Asia. The EU has also ratified the Aarhus Convention. The Convention consists of three fundamental components (sometimes referred to as pillars): access to information, i.e. public access to environmental information available at authorities, public participation, i.e. public right to participate in environmental decision making, access to justice, ie public access to justice in environmental matters. Aarhus Convention Clearinghouse The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is the Swedish node for the Aarhus Convention Clearinghouse; in this context a clearinghouse refers to a channel through which information is disseminated. The Aarhus Convention Clearinghouse aims to disseminate information about the three pillars of the Convention and thereby communicate news, experiences and examples as well as judicial cases of precedent nature. National Focal Points and Contacts: NFP Ministry of the Environment and Energy: Anna Josefsson, firstname.lastname@example.org PRTR Protocol, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency: Linda Linderholm, email@example.com Other issues, Environmental Protection Agency: Pontus Lyckman, firstname.lastname@example.org PRTR protocol The Convention includes a Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR - also known as the Kiev Protocol). Sweden ratified the PRTR Protocol 2008. The PRTR protocol aims at introducing a national pollutant register on emissions to air, water and land, as well as transfer to wastewater and transfer of waste. The register will make it easier for the public to find information about the pollutants emitted by industries and other facilities and where the facilities exist, to facilitate public participation in environmental decision making and to help prevent and reduce pollution of the environment. Even the EU has ratified the protocol and has adopted a regulation establishing a European PRTR (E-PRTR). In Sweden, the protocol has been implemented through the "Emissions in figures" emission register, which is available on the website of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. How are Convention decisions taken and implemented? The Parties to the Convention meet every four years (Meeting of the Parties) to discuss the implementation and development of the Convention, striving to make consensus decisions. In addition, parties meet annually in a dedicated Working Group of the Parties to evaluate how the Convention is implemented and should be developed. Within the Convention there are also working groups for each of the Convention's so-called pillars, the Task Force on Access to Information, the Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-making and the Task Force on Access to Justice. The Aarhus Convention contains, as mentioned, the PRTR protocol, and additionally the so-called genetically modified organisms (GMO) amendment. Sweden has ratified both the protocol and the GMO amendment.