The Aarhus Convention
Every person has the right to be informed, to be involved in decision-making and to have access to justice in environmental matters. In short, this is the content of the Aarhus Convention. This key text contributes to creating trust amongst the public in relation to its institutions and, on a broader level, their democratic way of operating. By offering the public involvement in environmental discussions, it meets the requirements of transparency and community, synonymous with good public governance.
- Ongoing public consultations:
16/08/2023 – 16/10/2023: Public consultation on the draft of the Third National Environment-Health Action Plan (NEHAP3)
03/07/2023 – 18/09/2023: Public consultation on the 360° Biodiversity Strategy project
- Past consultations
- 19/10/2021: Governments and civil society look to enhance public engagement and protection for environmental defenders at Geneva meeting
- 14/09/2020: The Aarhus Convention and the COVID-19 pandemic
One convention, three levers of democracy
The Aarhus Convention grants three fundamental rights to the public and the associations representing it:
It specifically deals with two major issues regarding transparency:
The Aarhus convention in Belgium
The Aarhus Convention was adopted on 25 June 1998 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). On 30 October 2001 the European Community ratified the Convention and adapted its legislation to the Convention’s provisions (see Implementation in the EU). Since 21 April 2003 the Convention has been in force in Belgium. The belgian federal and regional authorities have adapted their legislation to the Convention’s provisions (see Implementation in Belgium):
- the federal public service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment;
- DGARNE for the Walloon Region;
- Bruxelles Environnement / Leefmilieu Brussel for the Brussels-Capital Region;
- Environment, Nature and Energy Department for the Flemish Region.
Every three years, Belgium has to write an Aarhus Convention implementation report and submit it for public consultation.