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Aarhus_cleaninghouse_1The decision on the electronic information tools and the clearing–house mechanism of the Aarhus Convention was adopted at the second meeting of the Parties (May 25-27, 2005, Kazakhstan, Almaty).
In order to ensure public access to environmental information for the parties offered to use the most effective electronic information tools. In particular, the meeting of the Parties and other stakeholders have proposed a number of measures to be taken.
In terms of general policy:

• Formulate and implement national “e-government” strategies for the use of electronic tools to facilitate administrative processes and services, to make public administration more transparent and efficient in providing available environmental information and dealing with requests for such information from the public;

• Support the reduction and as far as possible the removal of social, financial and technological barriers restricting public access to telecommunications networks, such as high connection costs and poor connectivity, as well as lack of basic computer literacy;

• Promote and use electronic information tools to facilitate public input to and monitoring of environmental decision-making processes, among other things to: alert the public to respective opportunities, ensure that the public can provide publicly documented feedback on proposed activities, plans, programmes, policies and legally binding instruments electronically and ensure that submissions received electronically are given equal weight to comments received non-electronically;

• Promote and contribute to international policy dialogue on the use of electronic information tools to promote public access to environmental information and public participation in environmental decisionmaking through the exchange of experience, documentation and sharing of best practice, the transfer of know-how and the provision of technical assistance;

• Base the provision of environmental information on the assessment of user needs, monitor the form and content of the information provided in relation to user needs, and assess the impact of the information delivered, in order to raise environmental awareness and facilitate active engagement;

• Provide information in the national language(s) and at least basic information of interest to the international community in English;

• Document good practices related to the national and local application of the Convention in those areas, and share information on these through the online gallery of case studies of the Task Force on Electronic Information Tools;

According to the priorities, to provide relevant legislative or regulatory measures under the Article 3 and 4 of the 4rd pillar of the Convention, including:

 Public access to environmental information is provided in electronic form, so that information required to be publicly available upon request under the Convention is to be provided in electronic form where so requested and where the information exists in that form;
 Documentation which is required to be drawn up and/or submitted in the context of environmental decision-making processes that are subject to the provisions of article 6 is provided in electronic form;
 In line with identified user needs, the following types of information progressively become publicly accessible, in a timely manner, through the Internet:
Input “Clearing Mechanism”, that is:

Maintain a national web site with information related to the nationwide implementation of the Convention, which will serve as the national node of the Convention’s clearing-house mechanism;

Designate contact points responsible for collecting, managing and updating the information contained in the national node and for providing the necessary information for the central node of the Convention’s clearing-house mechanism, and undertake to disseminate information to the public on the clearing-house mechanism; and

Develop capacity for public officials managing and updating information for the national node, and for providing the necessary information for the central node of the clearing-house mechanism.
The original version of the document is available at the following link:http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/a_to_i/1st_meeting/ece.mp.pp.2005.2.add.4.e.pdf

Prepared by Anush Beybutyan
Editor: Mari Chakryan
“To support the government and civil society to resolve problems relating to the environment” program