Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Environmental protection and accountability is a fundamental test for EU - de Brún

17 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today called upon the European Parliament to approve a regulation which would see citizens and statutory authorities working together to improve the environment in EU member states.

The report was completed by Eija-Riitta Korhola MEP and aims to protect the rights of every person adequate to their health and well-being, as agreed in the Aarhus Convention signed in 1998 by the European Community.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin is in favour of the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention which includes access to environmental information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters. The premise that the public and statutory bodies enter into an agreement which has at its heart environmental protections, is a positive step forward.

"The linking of environmental rights and human rights is a fundamental acknowledgement that we owe an obligation to protect future generations. Today's debate and the subsequent vote is about strengthening the requirements of the Aarhus Convention and this is one of the reasons we are supporting a number of amendments which have been put forward.

"Kofi Annan has described the Aarhus Convention as 'the most ambitious venture in the area of environmental democracy so far undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations'. It is essential that the European Union builds upon this and that there is a recognition that the Aarhus Convention is contributing to increased environmental accountability of public authorities.

"At the moment, environmental NGOs are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to influencing policy-making. I urge my fellow MEPs to join me in voting to change that. A huge responsibility has been placed upon the current generation to reverse much of the damage done to our environment globally. That responsibility is placed on society as a whole, but with specific emphasis on the industrial sector and statutory bodies." ENDS

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