CENN: Parties to the Protocol on PRTRs Focus on Assistance

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Parties to the Protocol on PRTRs Focus on Assistance to Countries and on
Global Promotion of the Protocol

The second meeting of the Working Group of the Parties to the Protocol on
Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the Convention on Access to
Information, Public

Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental
Matters (Aarhus Convention) was held at the United Nations in Geneva from 20
to 21 November 2012. The meeting, attended by around 60 delegates from
Governments, non-governmental and international organizations, focused,
among others, on global promotion of the Protocol and strengthening
countries’ capacities in establishing pollutant release and transfer
register (PRTR) systems.

At the meeting, an expert from the Ministry of Environmental Protection of
China expressed interest in collaborating with Parties to the Protocol on
establishing a PRTR

system for the country, and Parties mandated the secretariat and the Bureau
to follow up on possible advisory support to China. Delegates applauded
significant progress achieved by Chile and its PRTR system, used by over
10,000 facilities, which was presented by a representative of the Ministry
of Environment of the country. Participants also welcomed the positive
experience of other countries in Latin America and Central America in
establishing PRTR systems and thanked Spain and the United Nations Institute
on Training and Research for promoting the Protocol in that region.

Furthermore, the Working Group expressed its appreciation to the Republic of
Moldova for the political leadership it had provided to the promotion of the
PRTR Protocol at the side events during the United Nations Conference on
Sustainable Development (Rio+20 Conference). To further the Protocol’s
global promotion, the Working Group agreed on a format for a joint global
round table on PRTRs to take place in Geneva on 19 November 2013 under the
auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
and UNECE.

Another highlight of the meeting was “PRTR speed dating”, an informal
thematic bilateral session specifically designed to match countries’ needs
with available technical assistance from countries with developed PRTR
systems. The positive outcomes from the session included the provision of
free open-source PRTR database software, assistance with setting up a PRTR
and advice on release measurement and estimation methodologies for countries
that are in the process of establishing PRTR registers, in particular in
Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and in South-East Europe.
Thematic surveys carried out by the secretariat were used to help in
matching, as they provide significant data and useful background information
for assistance and show the specific technical needs and remaining problems
related to pollutant monitoring and releases in countries.

Delegates also debated a proposal on promoting the Protocol in countries in
Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia put forward by Belarus, and
mandated Belarus and Armenia to hold further consultations with national
focal points from those countries and to report to the Working Group at its
next meeting in 2013.

In addition, the Working Group started preparations for the second session
of the Protocol’s Meeting of the Parties, to take place in 2014 in the
Netherlands at the invitation of the Dutch Government. Parties agreed on the
procedures with regard to preparing a work programme for 2014-2017 and a
strategic plan for 2015-2020, but failed to reach consensus on future
financial arrangements under the Protocol and specifically whether the
scheme of contributions to support the work programme should remain
voluntary for the next intersessional period.

Transport and mobility are critical to economic activity and our daily life.
If we consider all its ramifications, transport-related activity can account
for up to 20% of gross domestic product.

But transport also affects our health and our environment through
congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas and noise emissions and road
accidents. And most of these are exacerbated in urban agglomerations.
Countries therefore need to find innovative policy responses to minimize the
negative impact of transport.

On 14 November, policymakers and technical experts from the transport,
environment and health sectors examined these issues in depth at THE PEP
2012 Symposium

During the Symposium, panelists explored the many challenges arising in
today’s urban centres, with a view towards the city of the future, one that
supports green growth, low emissions and encourages healthy lifestyles
through, e.g. eco-driving, e-mobility and active (non-motorized) transport
such as walking and cycling.

Moving into its second decade The Symposium preceded the 10th anniversary
session of Steering Committee of the Transport, Health and Environment
Pan-European Programme (THE PEP). The discussions “Green and Health-friendly
Mobility for Sustainable Urban Life”.

For further information, please visit:

or contact Ella Behlyarova at: [email protected]