The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) was adopted on 25th June 1998 in the Danish city of Aarhus at the Fourth Ministerial Conference in the 'Environment for Europe' process. The Convention is a major initiative to strengthen environmental democracy and it acknowledges that achieving sustainable development requires the involvement of all stakeholders.

In response to countries requests for capacity building to implement the Aarhus Convention, UNITAR jointly with UNECE launched in 2004 a series of Pilot Projects to Assist Countries in Preparing a National Profile to Assess and Strengthen Capacities to Implement the Aarhus Convention. Project countries include the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Serbia. In support of national efforts, UNITAR and UNECE developed a pilot National Profile Guidance Document (available in English and Russian) which provides suggestions for preparing a National Profile through participation of interested parties, outlines the suggested structure of a National Profile, and covers various substantive aspects relevant to building national capacities for implementation of the Aarhus Convention.
In the long term, availability of National Profiles in many countries participating in the Aarhus Convention would facilitate information exchange across countries about challenges and opportunities related to implementation of the Convention. Additionally, the National Profile has the potential to serve as a tool to facilitate national reporting for Parties under the Convention (Reporting Requirements for Aarhus Convention: Decision 1/8; ECE/MP.PP/2/Add.9/).