It was a great honour for us on Wednesday 7/2/2024 to be present and the President of the ΜΒ of KyklOIKOdromio to moderate the discussion that the UN Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders under the Aarhus Convention, Mr Michel Forst had with Environmental NGOs and civil society. During the meeting, experiences, threats, or harassment of individuals or groups acting to protect the environment or nature were reported. Mr. Forst mentioned the process that an organized group or a citizen can go through to report these events to the UN Special Committees.
The Aarhus Convention is a landmark legal instrument for environmental democracy. The Convention includes 3 main "pillars": access to information, public participation and access to justice. The Aarhus Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement through which opportunities for citizens to access environmental information are increased, reflecting the concepts of open society (Karl Popper) and participatory democracy. The main recipients of the obligations contained in the Convention are public authorities, which are defined to cover governmental bodies from all sectors and at all levels (national, regional, local, etc.) and bodies performing public administrative functions. As such, the Aarhus Convention is also a binding international instrument to address state accountability, transparency, democratisation and access to justice. It is a way of strengthening the environmental governance network by introducing a responsive and accountable relationship between civil society and governments and by adding the innovation of a mechanism created to enhance the value of public participation in the decision-making process and ensure access to justice.