Ireland ratifies Aarhus Convention on Environmental Matters
As of 20 June 2012, Ireland has become the latest country to ratify the Aarhus Convention of the UN Economic Commission for Europe. The Convention was adopted in June 1998 and Ireland is now its 46th party. The Aarhus Convention provides for the right of everyone to access environmental information held by public authorities. This can include information on the state of the environment, policies implemented, or information about human health and safety conditions where these can be affected by the environment. Public authorities are also obliged to disseminate environmental information in their possession.
The Aarhus Convention also provides for the right to participate in decision-making on environmental issues. Members of the public affected by such decisions, as well as environmental NGOs, must be engaged in the decision-making process.
Ireland's Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, has said that "my objective is to make Ireland an environmental leader. Ratifying the Aarhus Convention will be another step towards this goal."