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Gormley takes initiative on UN environmental taskforce
Sun 4 Jul 2010 03:50 pm filed by the Editor - Ireland
The Environmental Pillar of social partnership has welcomed the "bold initiative" taken by Minister John Gormley to take the lead on the establishment of a Taskforce to strengthen the implementation of the Aarhus Convention.
"Environmental groups will welcome this new initiative, and we hope this will lead to Ireland finally ratifying the Aarhus Convention" said Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.
The Aarhus Convention is an international legal instrument providing for the public's rights on access to environmental information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.
Although Ireland signed the Convention in 1998 it is the only member of the EU not to have ratified it. "We are denying people in Ireland the same human rights of access to information, participation in decision-making and justice that are enjoyed people in the six counties of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as well as the other 43 Parties to the Convention" said Michael Ewing.
The Task Force on Public Participation, to be chaired by Irishman Phil Kearney, will work on improving the implementation of the Convention's provisions on public participation in environmental decision-making, including through sharing expertise and good practices, developing recommendations, strengthening civil society and building capacity for public authorities and other stakeholders.
What's been said about Aarhus
"The Aarhus Convention it is the most ambitious venture in the area of environmental democracy so far undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations."
Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)
"The serious environmental, social and economic challenges faced by societies worldwide cannot be addressed by public authorities alone without the involvement and support of a wide range of stakeholders, including individual citizens and civil society organizations."
"Vision and Mission" of the Aarhus Convention Strategic Plan, paragraph 4, adopted by the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention, in Riga, Latvia, on 13 June 2008
Parties to the Convention
As of 2 November 2009, there were 44 Parties to the Aarhus Convention: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Aarhus Convention Website http://www.unece.org/env/pp/
Simplified Guide to the Convention http://www.unep.org/dec/docs/Aarhus_Convention_English.pdf
Map of UNECE showing Parties and Signatories to the Convention http://www.unece.org/env/pp/ratification.htm
The position expressed in this release has been developed by members of the Environmental Pillar but is not necessarily the policy of each member group in the pillar.
About the Environmental Pillar
The Environmental Pillar represents 28 national environmental groups in social partnership. It uses the Irish Environmental Network as its secretariat.The Environmental Pillar representatives are:
Oisín Coghlan (Friends of the Earth),
Karin Dubsky (Coastwatch).
Siobhán Egan (BirdWatch Ireland),
Charles Stanley-Smith (An Taisce).
Michael Ewing coordinates the Pillar's activities.
Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership
Michael Ewing. Coordinator
Knockvicar, Boyle, Co Roscommon
Tel: 00353 (0)71 9667373
Mob: 00353 (0)86 8672153
Skype name: michaelk.ewing
Irish Environmental Network
10a Lower Camden Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 4054834/5
Email: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org