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On 3 March 2014, Switzerland ratified the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) and its amendment on genetically modified organisms (GMO amendment), raising the total number of Parties to the Convention to 47 and the Parties to the amendment to 28.
This ratification is very timely as it comes shortly before the fifth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention, which will be held back to back with the second session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention’s Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (Protocol on PRTRs) in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 30 June to 4 July 2014.
As a country with a rich tradition in participatory democracy and as a Party to the Protocol on PRTRs since 2007, Switzerland has been playing a leading role in the promotion of environmental rights and the protection of the environment in the UNECE region and beyond. Switzerland’s decision to join the Aarhus family has a significant added value as it bears testimony to the country’s commitment to further promote effective access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.
For further information on the Aarhus Convention, its GMO amendment and the Protocol on PRTRs please visit http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html