Aarhus Centres from 14 countries discuss green economy and resource efficiency at OSCE-hosted meeting in Vienna
VIENNA, 21 November 2016 – Green economy and resource efficiency are the focus of the OSCE-organized Aarhus Centres Annual Meeting which opened today in Vienna.
In his opening remarks, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier emphasized that the Aarhus Centres are among the OSCE’s flagship initiatives that uniquely link the Organization’s efforts to strengthen democratic institutions, environmental protection and security. “Aarhus Centres are at the heart of the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security,” said Zannier.
Zannier noted that the transition to a green economy is a tremendous task requiring co-ordinated efforts by all stakeholders. “This is an area where the Aarhus Centres can make a difference as they have become a trusted bridge between citizens and authorities, and in some cases with the private sector,” he said.
The meeting provides an opportunity for the Aarhus Centres to deepen their understanding of the green economy concept and to discuss how they can contribute further to this endeavour. A green economy aims at increasing economic prosperity while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
Green economy is important in the context of sustainable development. “Aarhus Centres can support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by ensuring strong engagement of local communities and civil society,” said Zannier.
The meeting brings together Aarhus Centre representatives and Aarhus Convention National Focal Points from 14 countries, partners from international organizations and civil society, as well as experts and representative from the OSCE field operations.
On 23 November, participants will make site visits to see successful examples of resource efficiency, green economy and environmental protection in Vienna and its surroundings.
The OSCE, in close partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Europe and other partners in the Environment and Security Initiative, has been supporting the establishment and operation of a network of Aarhus Centres since 2002. Currently 60 Aarhus Centres in 14 OSCE participating States disseminate environmental information, ensure public participation in decision-making, and facilitate access to justice. They also provide platforms to engage citizens, governments and the private sector in a dialogue on environmental challenges.
The 2016 Aarhus Centres Annual Meeting is supported by the 2016 OSCE German Chairmanship, the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and the Government of Switzerland.