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Fourth Aarhus MOP Addresses Sustainable Development, Adopts Chisinau Declaration

1 July 2011: The fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 4) to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) took place from 29 June-1 July 2011, in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Aarhus Convention, the session addressed, inter alia: access to justice; access to information; public participation in national decision-making as well as in international forums; genetically modified organisms (GMOs); compliance; other procedures and mechanisms facilitating implementation; and promotion of the Convention, including the procedure for accession to the Convention by States from outside the region of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

A high-level segment focused on the role of the Aarhus Convention in promoting sustainable development, in connection with the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), providing an opportunity to discuss how the implementation of the Aarhus Convention has helped to enhance good governance and sustainable development across the region and beyond.

The MOP adopted the Chisinau Declaration “Rio Plus Aarhus – 20 Years on: Bearing Fruit and Looking Forward,” which includes sections on Aarhus and the green economy, Aarhus and environmental governance, and looking ahead.

In a message delivered by delivered by Ján Kubis, UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Executive Secretary, to the MOP, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined that the Convention's "twin protections for the environment and human rights" can help address numerous challenges, "from climate change and the loss of biodiversity to air and water pollution." He underscored that the Convention "is building synergies through cooperation" with other international organizations, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHA), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Ban welcomed the focus of the session on the role of the Aarhus Convention in promoting sustainable development, noting that the Convention is one of the results of the 1992 Earth Summit. In reference to the upcoming UNCSD, he added that the meeting's work "can help foster success at next year's vital Conference." [IISD RS Coverage] [UN Press Release] [Statement of UN Secretary-General]