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The Aarhus Convention in operation: EEB Survey Initial Results

Ralph Hallo

elni Review 2007, Issue 2,  pp. 2-4.

The Aarhus Convention is generally recognised as the most important international legal instrument in the field of environmental rights. All 27 EU Member States (with the exception of Slovakia) and the European Union have signed the Convention and all of these signatories (except Ireland) have now ratified the Convention. The Convention is generally described as having three pillars: access to information, public participation and access to justice. The EU prepared for ratification by adopting two directives and proposing a third, one for each of the three pillars (collectively, ‘the EU’s Aarhus Convention directives’).
The EEB (the European Environmental Bureau) has been actively involved, over many years, in efforts to develop and use the Aarhus Convention. Two years after the deadline for transposition of the Information Directive and a year and a half after the deadline for transposition of the Public Participation Directive, the EEB determined that the time was right to launch an investigation into the initial experience with the implementation and use of the two directives. The EEB also wished to examine experiences with access to justice and the need for the currently stalled proposal.

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