Ratification of the Aarhus Convention – it has only taken 14 years

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (12 June 2012) presented a motion to the Select Sub-Committee on Environment, Community and Local Government proposing approval by Dáil Éireann of the ratification by Ireland of the Aarhus Convention .

  • Ireland signed the Aarhus Convention on its adoption in June 1998 and is the only EU Member State yet to ratify it.

Following the proposed approval of the Motion by the Dáil, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will arrange deposit of the formal instruments with the United Nations.  The Agreements will enter into force 90 days from that date

The Aarhus Convention lays down a set of basic rules to promote citizen’s involvement in environmental matters and improve enforcement of environmental law; its provisions are broken down into three Pillars:

  • Access to Information
  • Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making
  • Access to Justice.

The Convention has been implemented in the EU by two Directives

  • Directive 2003/4/EC on Access to Information on the Environment
  • Directive 2003/35/EC on Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making and Access to Justice.

The Convention is legally binding on those States that have chosen to become Parties to it.