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The Aarhus convention

An implementation guide

image of The Aarhus convention
The Aarhus Convention is an international legally binding instrument giving the public the rights of participation in decision making, access to information and justice regarding the environment. These rights were emphasized in the outcome document of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The Convention’s twin protections for environmental and human rights, and its focus on involving the public, provide a mechanism for holding governments to account in their efforts to address the multidimensional challenges facing our world today, including climate change, biodiversity loss, poverty reduction, increasing energy demands, rapid urbanization, and pollution. The Guide is designed for policy-makers, legislators, NGOs, academics and civil society.

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Access to information

Access to information is the first “pillar” of the Convention. The environmental rights outlined in its preamble depend on the public having access to environmental information, just as they also depend onpubl ic participationan d onacc ess to justice. This section discusses both article 4 on access to environmental information and article 5 on the collection and dissemination of environmental information as the two components of the access-to-information pillar.

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