03 May 2016 | United Nations Economic Commission for Europe News Release
Yesterday, on 2 May 2016, Ukraine ratified the UNECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, becoming the thirty-fourth Party to join this Protocol to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention). The “Kyiv” Protocol has now come home, as it was originally opened for signature in Kyiv in 2003 in the framework of the Fifth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference.
UNECE welcomes Ukraine to the PRTR family and is confident that the country will greatly benefit from the exchange of experience with other Parties to the Protocol. Ukraine is now expected to establish a national Pollution Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) and to implement the related institutional, legal and technical measures laid out in this international environmental treaty.
A PRTR can be best described as a national environmental database or inventory of potentially hazardous chemical substances released to air, water and soil and transferred off-site for treatment or disposal. The data should be searchable by different categories, such as industry sector, facility or chemical substance. A PRTR allows the public authorities to track each release and transfer of a hazardous chemical substance consistently over time. Authorities can then set priorities for reducing or even eliminating the most potentially damaging releases. The Protocol supports fact-based decision-making on chemicals. It is therefore also expected to facilitate the implementation of a number of Sustainable Development Goals related to sound management of chemicals and healthy environment.
An equally important objective of the Protocol is to enhance public access to information. By providing access to information on pollutants and hazardous substances, the Protocol strengthens the Aarhus Convention’s pillar on access to information.
The UNECE Protocol on PRTRs is the only legally binding international instrument on pollutant release and transfer registers. Adopted on 21 May 2003 in Kyiv, it entered into force and became legally binding for its Parties on 8 October 2009. The Protocol has now been ratified by 33 countries and the European Union. All United Nations Member States can join the Protocol, regardless of whether they have ratified the Aarhus Convention or are members of the Economic Commission for Europe. It is by design an open, global treaty.
For further information on the Aarhus Convention, its amendment on genetically modified organisms or the Kyiv Protocol, please visit: http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html.
Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
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