Protection of environmental rights ‘not a priority’ for Moldova, shadow report

Protecting environmental rights, including those enshrined in the Aarhus Convention, is not a priority for the Moldovan authorities. Even though Moldova ratified the Convention, from 2014 to 2020 the government did not submit any national report on its implementation. It only happened this year. But the document was not consulted with the public, says Natalia Zamfir, lawyer and associate professor at the State University of Moldova, and also the main author of the shadow report on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention.

The Convention provides for unrestricted access to environmental information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters.

During a press conference on Monday, Natalia Zamfir said that the latest Action Plan to implement the Convention covered the period 2011-2015. Since then, no other document with specific measures has been developed. There is a piece of information posted on the Environment Agency’s website about a Plan for 2020-2022, but it hasn’t been put into practice. A public consultation document has not been proposed either.

“This indicates a limited understanding among the public authorities of the notion of environmental democracy,” said Natalia Zamfir, stressing the importance of civil society’s opinion in making sustainable decisions.

The press conference was held by the environmental non-governmental organizations Arnika (Czech Republic) and Eco-TIRAS (Moldova). Ilya Trombitski, executive director of the Eco-TIRAS River Keepers, says that he has repeatedly warned the authorities about how slow the Aarhus Convention is implemented. He stressed once again the importance of access to reliable information without which environmental issues cannot be properly addressed. The expert called on the authorities to take further action to ensure such access.

According to Zuzana Vachůnová, of the NGO Arnika, the Aarhus Convention or the Convention on Access to Information is about justice and society’s participation in environmental issues. The Convention was signed in June 1998, and in less than a year Moldova became the first country to ratify it. The convention covers not only the environment but also human rights. Each country shall report every four years on compliance with the Convention. The content of shadow report on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention by Moldova is available on


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