OSCE regional seminar on implementation of the Aarhus Convention calls for network of environment centres

A call was made recently for environmental centres to be set up in five Central Asian States.

DUSHANBE, March 1, 2004 -- A call was made recently for environmental centres to be set up in five Central Asian States. It came at the third regional seminar on the implementation of the Aarhus Convention in Central Asia Feb. 26 which was held in Dushanbe.

Organized by the OSCE Centre in Dushanbe, the Tajik State Committee on Environment and Forestry, and the Tajik Working Group on Aarhus Convention, the one-day workshop focused on the existing obstacles to the effective implementation of the Convention.

The event drew lessons from the experience of the three Aarhus environmental information centres working in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and examined the perspective of setting up similar centres in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

"It is a necessity to radically improve the information on environmental issues, and thus create mechanisms and structures able to raise awareness and provide the general public with access to information", said Abduvohid Karimov, Chairman of the Tajik State Committee on Environment and Forestry.

"Significant progress has been made regarding the observation of the Aarhus convention in Tajikistan", said Ambassador Yves Bargain, Head of the OSCE Centre in Dushanbe. He pointed out that a number of initiatives, seminars and regional meetings have been organized in the country recently.

The Aarhus Resource Centre in Dushanbe opened in 2003. It informs citizens on environmental issues, with a quarterly publication and a web page, and has proven to be an effective device in helping government authorities and non-governmental organizations work together on the implementation of the Aarhus convention.

The final resolution adopted by the Regional seminar recognized the necessity to set up new Aarhus Resource centres in Central Asian states, and then create a network linking them together. Governments of the region were recommended to join their efforts to increase the outreach of environmental information and strengthen the participation of civil society in decisions regarding environmental policy.

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