Environmental Protection Ministry commits to following UN protocol on air pollution; pledges to grant public access to transparent emissions data

Israel has joined the UN’s Kiev Protocol on air pollution, the Environmental Protection Ministry said.

The Kiev Protocol, also known as the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTR), was introduced and enacted in 2003.

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The environmental treaty aims “To enhance public access to information through the establishment of coherent, nationwide pollutant release and transfer registers.”

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), it is the first legally binding international tool to that effect.

The Kiev Protocol demands that government exercise freedom of information and transparency regarding emissions data.

By requiring transparency, instead of regulating emissions output, the protocol’s effectiveness hinges on the idea that companies will want to avoid the stigma of being large polluters.

The protocol will enter into force in Israel on April 14, according to UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

“The secretary-general appreciates all ratifications and accessions to the treaties deposited with him, including the Kiev Protocol,” he said.

By signing the environmental treaty, Israel will be joining 36 countries, in addition to the European Union, which have individually signed the protocol.

Kiev Protocol members so far include: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Macedonia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Israel is the second country in the Middle East, after Cyprus, to join the protocol. The decision also coincides with Israel’s duties as an OECD member.