On September 25-28, the 38th Meeting of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee reviewed measures undertaken by Kazakhstan to comply with the decision IV/9c. This decision was made by the Forth Meeting of the Parties of the Aarhus Convention which issued a warning to Kazakhstan in relation to the repeated violations of the requirements of the Convention and incompliance with the decision III/6c. Had Kazakhstan not executed the conditions stipulated in the decision IV/9c in the full extent, the warning would have come into action on May 1, 2012. But consideration of the case was delayed.
In the report (1) of the 38th Meeting of the Committee, it is said that after having heard from the representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ecological Society “Green Salvation”, the Committee came to a conclusion that Kazakhstan had taken some measures which could be considered sufficient for the warning not to be brought into an action. But this does not mean that all other propositions of the decision IV/9c were followed. Nevertheless, taking into account the measures undertaken by the Party of the Convention, the Committee is concerned by the slow actions of Kazakhstan in introduction of necessary legal norms, in order to comply with the paragraph 4, Article 9 and the paragraph 3, Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention (p.3: “…each Party shall ensure that, …members of the public have access to administrative or judicial procedures to challenge acts and omissions by private persons and public authorities which contravene provisions of its national law relating to the environment;” p.4: “…shall provide adequate and effective remedies, including injunctive relief as appropriate, and be fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive.”).
It was also decided that in November 2012, Kazakhstan shall provide information about the further actions on implementation of the decision IV/9c. The information is scheduled for a review at the 39th Meeting of the Committee on December 11-14, 2012.
On the 41st Meeting in 2013, the Committee intends to come back to the question about compliance of Kazakhstan with the decision III/6c resulting in a decision if a recommendation to issue another warning to Kazakhstan shall be made for the Fifth Meeting of the Parties of the Aarhus Convention.
Once again, the Committee ignored the information (letter of the ES “Green Salvation”, conclusions based on the experience of the ES “Green Salvation”) presented by the public about the following facts:
– Kazakhstan did not comply with the decision II/5a of 2005;
– A legal act (Rules on conducting pubic hearings), which is in a direct contradiction to the Convention requirements, operates in the country since 2007;
– The national legislation does not provide the public with a mechanism for realization of their right to participate in the decision making process;
– Access to justice is reduced to a permission to freely enter a courthouse.
1 – Report of the Compliance Committee on its thirty-eighth meeting. Geneva, 25–28 September 2012, p.8; http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/env/pp/compliance/CC-38/ece.mp.pp.c.1.2012.8_as_submitted.pdf.
Ecological Society Green Salvation.