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Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; UNCE

Murdoch and Hunt’s Encyclopedia of Irish Law

Brian Hunt
Bloomsbury Professional

Also referred to as the Aarhus Convention. The Convention was adopted on 25 June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus. Ireland ratified the Aarhus Convention and the associated Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Amendment and the Pollutant Release Transfer Register (PRTR) Protocol in June 2012. It entered into force in Ireland in September 2012.

The Convention originates in the 1992 Rio Declaration, specifically Principle 10 on the Environment. Principle 10 sets out three fundamental rights: access to information, access to public participation and access to justice, as key pillars of sound environmental governance.

In Ireland, over 60 pieces of legislation have been used to implement the Convention. At EU level two Directives seek to implement the Convention: Directive 2003/4/EC on Public Access to Environmental Information and Directive 2003/35/EC on Public Participation.

The Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee serves as a compliance mechanism whereby Parties to the Convention or members of the public may raise issues regarding a country’s compliance with the Convention.