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Aarhus Convention Focuses on Public Participation under the UNFCCC

2 July 2010: The 12th meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 30 June–2 July 2010, and addressed, inter alia, the application of the principles of the Convention in international fora.

Working Group participants discussed the case study of the UNFCCC, on the basis of the outcome of a workshop held on 29 June 2010, on access to information and public participation in the lead up to, during and after the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. The Working Group welcomed the attendance of the UNFCCC Secretariat at the workshop and took note that the UNFCCC Secretariat is currently inviting submissions from all its parties and observer organizations regarding ways to enhance the engagement of observer organizations in its processes (FCCC/SBI/2010/L.21). They underlined that the deadline for submissions is 16 August 2010, noting that this will provide an opportunity for parties to the Aarhus Convention to submit their views.

The Group further took note of the suggestion made by the Aarhus Convention's Task Force on Public Participation in International Forums that parties may wish to consider appointing one or two members of their national delegation for the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November-10 December 2010, to act as a focal point for civil society regarding any problems they may encounter regarding access to information or public participation during the Conference. They also highlighted the Task Force's invitation to national focal points to report at the next meeting of the Task Force regarding the initiatives that focal points were able to take at the national and international levels to promote the implementation of the Almaty Guidelines on promoting the principles of access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in international forums dealing with matters relating to the environment in the lead up to, during and after UNFCCC COP 16. Aarhus is a Convention of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). [Working Group Outcomes] [Convention Website]