The decision of Geneva Meeting undermined the credibility of the Espoo Convention - the Ministry of Environment

10:07 / 12.02.2019
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The decision of Geneva Meeting of the Parties of the Espoo Convention that  Belarusian side allegedly did not provide the public with “sufficient” information in support of the rationale for choosing Ostrovets site for the construction of  Belarusian NPP, has undermined the credibility of the Convention. This is stated in the comments on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of Belarus, BelTA informs.

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«Due to the non-constructive politicized position of Lithuania on the location of the NPP, it was not possible to achieve optimal interaction in the framework of concluding a bilateral agreement on the implementation of the Convention, as well as on post-project analysis, as recommended by the meeting of the parties. Belarus took an unprecedented set of measures to defend its position and sought a decision by consensus on the draft decision on Belarusian NPP», — the Ministry of Natural Resources noted.

As a result of the two-day consultation process, the member countries of the European Union did not show willingness to take compromise decisions. «In addition, an exclusive disregard of the established rules and pressure on all participants were used. The parties to the Convention, recognizing the possibility of different approaches and practices in terms of filling the documentation on environmental impact assessment (EIA) and on the implementation of its provisions in the participating countries, used a counterproductive and discriminatory approach towards Belarus at this meeting of the parties. These circumstances undermine the credibility of the compliance mechanism and, in principle, question its viability», — the ministry stated.

Belarus strongly supports the approach to compliance monitoring laid down by the Espoo Convention, which is based on transparency and clarity of procedures. Taking into account the principle of the sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter, Belarusian delegation warned the meeting of the parties not to make quick decisions that could infringe upon the sovereign rights of any of its participants, and stated that the final decisions of the meeting of the parties should be taken by consensus.

«In fact, today's precedent legalized the manipulation of the Convention. Bringing the discussion of issues to a forced vote, the results of which are obvious in advance (the European Union votes in a single block of 28 votes, regardless of the presence of all EU member states at the meeting), having not exhausted all means to achieve consensus, has seriously undermined the credibility of the Convention, as well as the feasibility participation in it. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection proceeds from the premise that non-consensus decisions cannot and will not be important for the States Parties to the Convention», — the Ministry of Natural Resources underlined.

Written by BelTA


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