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Was lange währt, wird endlich gut? Zur dezentralen Umsetzung der Aarhus-Konvention in Österreich journal article

Birgit Hollaus

Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, Volume 17 (2019), Issue 2, Page 169 - 184

The implementation of the Aarhus Convention’s guarantees concerning public participation and access to justice has been far from straight-forward in rights-based legal systems. For Austria, the weaknesses and deficits of the way it implemented this Convention were repeatedly highlighted by both the Aarhus treaty bodies and the European Commission. However, only after the recent findings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the Protect case did the Austrian legislator take further steps to implement the Convention’s guarantees within the domestic legal system. The present contribution looks at these legislative efforts and assesses them in view of the Convention. It concludes that while the new laws have brought some positive changes, the Austrian legislator has missed the opportunity to finally give full effect to the Aarhus Convention.


Das Non-Compliance-Verfahren der Aarhus-Konvention journal article

Florian Zeitner

Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, Volume 17 (2019), Issue 2, Page 159 - 168

The paper examines the theoretical origins, the functionality and recent developments in the field of the non-compliance procedure under the Aarhus Convention. It looks at the fundamental research of Chayes and Handler Chayes as well as at the non-compliance procedure of the Montreal Protocol, which has a model character for the non-compliance procedure under the Aarhus Convention. The contribution emphasizes that there are important modifications in the non-compliance procedure under the Aarhus Convention, compared with the “Montreal model”, that are reminiscent of human rights fulfilment control mechanisms. The paper concludes in the face of the recent developments in case 32 that an upgrade of the ACCC to a possible “European court of environmental rights”, as suggested by Epiney et al., might be a courageous step to make the enforcement of the Aarhus Convention more effective.


Schwerpunkt: 20 Jahre Aarhus-Konvention ∙ 20 Jahre Umsetzung und Praxis der Aarhus-Konvention – Zwischenbilanz des Bundesumweltministeriums journal article

Matthias Sauer

Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, Volume 17 (2019), Issue 1, Page 33 - 43

The 20th Anniversary of the adoption of the Aarhus Convention gives reason for a brief overview on the implementation of the Convention’s three pillars on the level of the European Union and on the level of Germany as a party to the Convention. Following a description of the role of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety in the Aarhus process, recent developments are highlighted, with special attention being paid to matters on access to justice.


Schwerpunkt: 20 Jahre Aarhus-Konvention ∙ Die Aarhus-Konvention in der behördlichen Praxis: Herausforderungen und Perspektiven journal article

Ulrich Klein

Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, Volume 17 (2019), Issue 1, Page 44 - 50

The Aarhus Convention aims to democratize environmental decision-making in order to contribute to the protection of the right of every person of present and future generations to live in an environment adequate to his or her health and well-being. Since its adoption 20 years ago, the Convention has led to a fundamental change in German environmental administration. This article identifies challenges for environmental agencies and outlines perspectives for better implementing the Convention. The main challenges are: extended responsibilities for authorities, greater complexity of environmental decisions, increased transparency, more external communication, stronger procedural requirements and legal protection, and the reduction of enforcement deficits. The success of the Aarhus Convention largely depends on high-capacity administration, which adapts its way of decision-making to these challenges. In addition, substantive environmental law is the foundation upon which the three pillars of the Aarhus Convention rest. Therefore, the article argues that legal instruments and high requirements of substantive environmental law are essential for environmental authorities to achieve effectively the objective of the Convention.


Schwerpunkt: 20 Jahre Aarhus-Konvention ∙ Die Aarhus-Konvention im Werkzeugkasten des Rechtsanwalts: Universeller Türöffner oder stumpfes Schwert? journal article

Remo Klinger

Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, Volume 17 (2019), Issue 1, Page 51 - 54

Legal remedies under the Aarhus Convention have still not been adequately transposed into German law. As long as this has not happened, the Convention will continue to have the function of directly broadening the scope of legal protection. With the ruling of the European Court of Justice of 20 December 2017 in the case “Protect”, the legal basis has been laid for closing the existing gaps in German procedural law.


Schwerpunkt: 20 Jahre Aarhus-Konvention ∙ Die Aarhus-Konvention: Entstehung, völkerrechtliche Einbettung und Grundprinzipien journal article

Astrid Epiney

Zeitschrift für Europäisches Umwelt- und Planungsrecht, Volume 17 (2019), Issue 1, Page 2 - 17

The conclusion of the Aarhus-Convention was a major step in international environmental law. The following contribution focuses on the relationship between the Aarhus-Convention and (existing) international environmental law and illustrates this special character of the Convention before dealing in detail with the legal effects of the Convention in the legal orders of the European Union and of Switzerland. Special attention is paid to the discussion of the relevant case law.

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