As of 15 January, Ireland has become the only EU state not to ratify the Aarhus Convention.
The Aarhus convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters is the world's most far-reaching treaty on environmental rights.
It seeks to promote greater transparency and accountability among government bodies by
a. guaranteeing public rights of access to environmental information
b. providing for public involvement in environmental decision-making
c. requiring the establishment of procedures enabling the public to challenge environmental decisions.
It creates a means by which citizens from across the entire region can enforce their rights to protect and enhance the environment.
The Convention was adopted in Aarhus, Denmark, in June 1998 and signed by 39 European and Central Asian countries and the European Community. It entered into force in October 2001. Its Parties now include most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and nearly all EU member States.
Ireland is now the sole European Union country that has not ratified the Convention.
The two relevant EU Directives have also not been fully implemented by Ireland.
A spokesman commented that 'eastern European countries with no democratic tradition have embraced environmental justice more readily than Ireland.'