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Fourth Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

29 June - 1 July 2011 | Chisinau, Moldova
 
Summary Highlights of the Meeting
 
DAILY WEB COVERAGE

MOP 4 Chair Dusik consulting with the EU and European ECO Forum about text on the accession by non-UNECE states to the Aarhus Convention.
 

Friday, 01 July 2011

On Friday morning, Mihai Moldovanu, Moldova Deputy Prime Minister, opened the High-level Segment of the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (MOP 4), under the theme “The role of the Aarhus Convention in promoting sustainable development.” Ján Kubiš, UNECE Executive Secretary, delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, stressing that the Aarhus Convention is today more important than ever.

The first session of the High-level Segment was devoted to “Advancing sustainable development in the UNECE region: a success story or a missed opportunity for the Aarhus Convention?” Panelists and delegates underscored, inter alia, the: link between environmental governance and security; need for international assistance and regional cooperation; challenges in implementing legislation and involving local communities; and importance of public participation in the areas of climate change, energy and the green economy.

The second session of the High-level Segment was devoted to “The Aarhus Convention as an inspiration for promoting Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.” Panellists and delegates underscored, inter alia: cooperation at subnational and local levels; the role of public participation in integrating the pillars of sustainable development and in ensuring responsible economic development; and the importance of innovation and education.

Jeremy Wates, Secretary-General of European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and European ECO Forum, supported by other NGOs and Uzbekistan, urged parties to commit to amending the Convention provision subjecting accession by non-UNECE states to the MOP approval, and reflect this commitment in the Chisinau declaration. The EU expressed doubts about the proposal. Following informal consultations, delegates agreed to request, in the meeting report, the Working Group of Parties to report about the effectiveness of MOP 4 decision on accession by non-UNECE states, to enable MOP 5 to “take any action considered relevant” to further encourage the accession on non-UNECE states. European ECO Forum expressed hope that an amendment to the Convention will be adopted by MOP 5.

Delegates then adopted the Chisinau Declaration "Rio Plus Aarhus - 20 Years On," as well as all draft decisions and all outcomes included in the draft meeting report. Ukraine expressed interest in hosting MOP 5. Gheorghe Salaru, Moldova Minister of Environment, drew the meeting to a close at 5:24 pm.

1Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)
1Visit the full ENB coverage for Friday, 01 July 2011

 
PLENARY:
 
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Ján Kubiš, UNECE Executive Secretary
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Mihai Moldovanu, Deputy Prime Minister, Moldova
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Janusz Zaleski, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of the Environment of Poland, speaking on behalf of the EU.
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L-R: Raimonds Vejonis, Minister of Environment, Latvia; Aram Papyan, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Nature Protection, Armenia; MOP 4 Chair Dusik; Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Moldova; Mihai Moldovanu, Deputy Prime Minister, Moldova; Philippe Henry, Minister of Environment, Land-use Planning and Mobility, Walloon Region, Belgium; Esra Buttanri, OSCE; and Marta Szigeti Bonifert, REC CEE
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Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Moldova, presented an award to Veit Koester, Chair of the Compliance Committee.
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Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Moldova, presented a gavel to MOP 4 Chair Dusik
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Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Moldova, gave Marco Keiner, UNECE, a commerative book on Moldova.
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Group photo of participants to the Aarhus Convention MOP 4.
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Aarhus Convention birthday cake.
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Birthday cake for the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Aarhus Convention.
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Moldovian youths giving their wishes for the future.
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Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Moldova, gavelled the meeting to a close at 5:24 pm.
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Thursday, 30 June 2011

On Thursday morning, delegates to the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (MOP 4) considered a draft decision on reporting requirements, heard a report on the preparation of the updated implementation guide to the Aarhus Convention, and discussed reports on capacity building. Delegates then tackled a draft decision on accession to the Aarhus Convention by states from outside the UNECE region, which clarifies procedural steps for the MOP’s approval of such accessions. Several NGOs cautioned that the draft decision creates excessive burdens on non-UNECE states willing to accede to the Aarhus Convention, and should rather send the right signals to welcome them.

Delegates then considered a draft communication strategy, focusing on target audiences and key messages; and a draft decision on the work programme for 2012-2014. They also heard reports on the implementation of the work programme for 2009-2011, and on UNEP activities on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

In the afternoon, delegates addressed synergies between the Aarhus Convention and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements, and heard a report from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity making reference to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing. Then, delegates considered draft decisions on the future strategic plan and on financial arrangements, with a party and NGOs lamenting that the MOP could not agree on a more predictable financial scheme for the Aarhus Convention instead of the current voluntary contribution scheme.

At the closing, European ECO Forum attributed the “Order of Knight of the Aarhus Convention” to several individuals that contributed to the work of the Convention.

1Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)
1Visit the full ENB coverage for Thursday, 30 June 2011

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L-R: Christine von Weizsacker, ECOROPA, with Gwenda Zuurbier, EU
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Aksel Erik Hillestad, Norway
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Lieselotte Feldmann, Austria
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Serhiy Vykhryst, European ECO Forum
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Patterns of an old Moldovian rug that is estimated to be more than 100 years old.
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National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History booth at MOP 4.
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MOP 4 booth of the Ministry of Environment of Moldova.
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L-R: Nicu Vrednic, Moldova; Grigore Prisacaru, Moldova; Gheorghe Salaru, Minister of Environment, Moldova; Gerard Cunningham, UNEP;and Petru Cocirta, PRONATURA
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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

On Thursday morning, delegates to the fourth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention (MOP 4) considered a draft decision on reporting requirements, heard a report on the preparation of the updated implementation guide to the Aarhus Convention, and discussed reports on capacity building. Delegates then tackled a draft decision on accession to the Aarhus Convention by states from outside the UNECE region, which clarifies procedural steps for the MOP’s approval of such accessions. Several NGOs cautioned that the draft decision creates excessive burdens on non-UNECE states willing to accede to the Aarhus Convention, and should rather send the right signals to welcome them.

Delegates then considered a draft communication strategy, focusing on target audiences and key messages; and a draft decision on the work programme for 2012-2014. They also heard reports on the implementation of the work programme for 2009-2011, and on UNEP activities on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

In the afternoon, delegates addressed synergies between the Aarhus Convention and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements, and heard a report from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity making reference to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing. Then, delegates considered draft decisions on the future strategic plan and on financial arrangements, with a party and NGOs lamenting that the MOP could not agree on a more predictable financial scheme for the Aarhus Convention instead of the current voluntary contribution scheme.

At the closing, European ECO Forum attributed the “Order of Knight of the Aarhus Convention” to several individuals that contributed to the work of the Convention.

1Summary of the meeting in English (in HTML and in PDF format)
1Visit the full ENB coverage for Wednesday, 29 June 2011

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Participants were treated to a traditional Moldovian cultural performance during the opening of the Aarhus Convention MOP 4.
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View of the opening plenary of the Aarhus Convention MOP 4.
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MOP 4 Chair Dusik in informal consultations with member delegations.
 
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NATIONAL PAINTING CONTEST ORGANIZED
BY THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT OF MOLDOVA:
"THE NATURE OF MOLDOVA IN THE VISION OF CHILDREN"
 
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Aarhus Convention
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1 Sustainable Development Policy & Practice 1
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Related Links
UNECE resources
*Official website
*Introduction to the Meeting of the Parties
*Provisional organization of work
*Meeting documents
*Exhibition and side events
*Working Group of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention
*Thirty third meeting of the Compliance Committee

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the Second Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2012 UNCSD, 7-8 March 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the First Intersessional Meeting of UNCSD, 10-11 January 2011, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS Summary and Analysis of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for UNCSD, 17-19 May 2010, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF) (Spanish: HTML - PDF)
IISD RS coverage of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 26 August - 4 September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa
*IISD RS coverage of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, 3-14 June 1992, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
*IISD RS archive of sustainable development meetings
*Linkages sustainable development news page
*UNCSD-L - A mailing list for news on sustainable development policy
*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
*SIDS Policy and Practice - A Knowledgebase on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy
*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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