Research Brief on the Financial Contributions to the Aarhus Convention Presented

A new research brief analyses the financial contributions of the parties to the Aarhus Convention.

An IEEP research brief was presented by Marc Pallemaerts at a side event of the Third Meeting of the Parties (MOP3) to the Aarhus Convention in Riga, Latvia, on 11 June 2008. The brief analyses the financial contributions of the Parties and Signatories over the five-year from 2003 to 2007, leading up to MOP3, to assess who are the leaders and laggards in financing the international cooperation activities under the Convention work programme.

In the ten-year period since its adoption, the Aarhus Convention has established a system of international legal standards and procedures to guarantee a number of procedural environmental rights of citizens and civil society organisations throughout the UNECE region. Contributing to the budget of the Aarhus Convention is not legally speaking an obligation for any Party, but rather a political commitment made at the first MOP in 2002. Nevertheless, effective implementation of the Aarhus Convention work programme depends on the availability of sufficient financial and human resources. Implementation reports of the Work Programmes have repeatedly revealed a shortfall between the estimated spending requirements and the contributions received. This research brief shows that financial contributions received over this five year period were predominately from the European Commission (631,542 US$) and the old EU-15 Member States, including Italy (622,657 US$), France (518,714 US$) and Germany (310,390 US$). However, comparison between the amounts actually contributed and those that would result from the application of the UN scale of assessments shows a more nuanced picture.

Of the 46 Signatories or Parties, only 16 have paid their fair share of the budget. Five countries gave more than half of their ‘fair share’ (Croatia, France, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic), while another thirteen countries paid less than half their ‘fair share’ (Germany, UK, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Greece, Ireland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Romania, Turkmenistan, Hungary, Kazakhstan). Eight Parties made no financial contribution at all (Armenia, Azerbaijan, FYR Macedonia, Albania, Cyprus, Ukraine, Luxembourg and Portugal).

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