Public Defender Submits Alternative Report on Implementation of Aarhus Convention

On May 31, 2021, the Public Defender of Georgia submitted her first alternative report on the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, the so-called Aarhus Convention, to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

The report reviews challenges in terms of implementation of the Convention in the reporting years of 2017-2020. In particular, it reviews important issues to assess the implementation of the Aarhus Convention, such as compensation for environmental damages, collection and dissemination of environmental information about ambient air, systemic problems in energy planning and development, systemic problems related to major infrastructure projects, access to information about environmental issues, public participation of decision-making and other challenges.

It should be noted that Georgia is one of the first out of 47 Parties to the Convention to ratify the Aarhus Convention (2000). Accordingly, the State has committed itself to implement three principles recognized by the Convention (access to environmental information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice) and to take measures to introduce and implement the relevant standards in the country. Georgia, as a Party to the Convention, is obliged to submit a national report on the implementation of the Convention.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia drew up the 6th national report (2017-2020) in 2020 and the Public Defender's Office was given the opportunity to submit its opinions in connection with the draft report.

The report submitted by the Government of Georgia will be discussed at the meeting of the States Parties to the Aarhus Convention in October 2021.

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