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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE)


Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters


Introduction                                                                                         [ Up ]

The ECE is incorporating countries from North America, Western, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is the forum forging the tools for their economic co-operation. Moreover, as a forum for dialogue, the Commission aims to bring about a better understanding and fuller agreements on common guidelines and policies. It also provides a stage where agreements are negotiated and assistance activities prepared. The main purpose of these activities and objectives is to harmonise the policies and practices of its member countries. This harmonisation does not only facilitate economic exchange investment and the integration of transport networks, but also makes environmental procedures more effective.

The ECE’s position as a regional UN agency allows it to contribute to the dissemination of conventions and standards negotiated under the its auspices to other interested UN members states. In addition, it is able to represent the regions concerns and problems at UN world conferences. The ECE is also able to cross the boundaries of other regional institutions such as the European Union, NAFTA and the Commonwealth of Independent States. This position enables the Commission to reduce cross-border tensions and disagreements between these, and other, agencies whilst representing the interests of its members at large.

The ECE defines its activities at its annual formal sessions where it reviews the economic situation in the region and decides its work programme. The programme of work is based on proposals from members, its own initiatives and decision adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and/or the Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC). In return the Commission then submits its recommendations to its parent body, ECOSOC. In addition, quarterly meetings are held to focus on specific questions.

14 principle subsidiary bodies, and approximately 30 working parties of experts  covering the various prescribed sectors are undertaking the activities defined at the annual sessions are. To support its work the Commission produces publications and studies. Principally these include the Economic Survey of Europe and the Economic Bulletin for Europe.

For further information on the ECE visit their homepage at


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Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters   [ Up ]

This was submitted by the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy through the Ad Hoc Preparatory Working Group of Senior Officials at the Fourth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" in Aarhus, Denmark, 23-25 June 1998.

The document is particularly relevant to NGOs and other stakeholders working in the field of environmental matters as well as working towards information access and public participation in decision making. For example, NGOs are taking this document forward to other regions outside Europe.

More information at

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