Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia

Transboundary Environmental Governance in Asia

Practice and Prospects with the UNECE Agreements

Simon Marsden and Elizabeth Brandon

A comprehensive overview of treaty implementation and compliance concerning transboundary environmental governance in Asia is provided in this timely book. Recent United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) membership by Asian states in the Caucasus and Central Asia has shifted focus on environmental governance away from its Euro-centric roots and placed Asia at the forefront of discussion. The focus of this book is centred on the five UNECE treaties: Public Participation, Environmental Impact Assessment, Industrial Accidents, Water and Air Pollution. Twelve related protocols are discussed including Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Civil Liability, Water and Health, and Air Pollutants.

Chapter 3: The Public Participation Convention and Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers Protocol

Simon Marsden and Elizabeth Brandon

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, environment, environmental law, law - academic, asian law, environmental law, public international law, regulation and governance


The Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Public Participation Convention) was adopted on 25 June 1998, and entered into force on 30 October 2001, following ratification by the required number of states. There are currently 47 Parties. It is open to member states of the UN beyond the UNECE Region, subject to the approval of the existing Parties, and is hence open to Asian states. It has had a major influence on the development of both the EIA Convention and SEA Protocol, particularly in the area of public participation. It has also been influential in contributing to the development of democratic and constitutional principles in the countries of the EECCA, and beyond the nation state, and it has served to link the environment and human rights in international law. These are all significant claims and resonate in the Asian context where democratic traditions may be unfamiliar or emerging. Unlike the other UNECE agreements analysed in this book, the focus of the Public Participation Convention is upon the domestic, rather than the transboundary context, although transboundary process and decision making may also be affected by the Convention, particularly in relation to the EIA Convention (examined in Chapter 4). Despite a domestic focus, it is nonetheless the case that the Convention is a contributor to improving international environmental governance, as confirmed by the MOP at the fourth session. Given the focus of the book on transboundary governance, this chapter will emphasise the transboundary context.

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