Environment Minister Defends Nature Protection Skip to content

Environment Minister Defends Nature Protection

Minister of the Environment Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir has submitted a special report on environmental issues to the Althingi parliament, the first of its kind, which was discussed in session yesterday.

“It is time to correct the injustice nature and environmental protection has faced because of heavy industry,” the report says according to Fréttabladid.

Sveinbjarnardóttir believes that Icelandic nature is a natural resource which can create sustainable value greater than harnessing nature. Nature protection is therefore a form of harnessing this resource, she argues.

In her report, the minister also discusses the international Aarhus Convention on environment issues, encouraging Iceland to fully ratify it.

“Iceland is the only country within the EEA that has not ratified this agreement,” said Árni Finnsson, head of the Nature Protection Organization of Iceland.

The convention is in many ways valid in Iceland but lacks one important point: access to legal justice for environmental protection associations. “And that is because of Landsvirkjun [the national power company] because of fear that legal processes will delay power plant operations,” Finnsson explains.

Finnsson stated the Social Democrats, Sveinbjarnardóttir’s party, wants to ratify the Aarhus convention while the Independence Party, the other governmental party, is against it.

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