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Aarhus Centers’ annual meeting in Vienna

On June 3-4 the 2015 annual meeting of the Aarhus Centers was held in Hofburg Congress Center in Vienna. The participants from Armenia were the director of NPDRR foundation Mr. Movses Poghosyan, coordinator of Hrazdan Aarhus Center Mrs. Anahit Mnatsakanyan, coordinator of Yeghvard Aarhus Center Mrs. Anush Beybutyan and the Armenian Aarhus Centers press officer Mrs. Mari Chakryan.
All the aspects related to the environmental security, where the Aarhus Centers have or may have a role, were discussed at the meeting. The newest tools related to the improvement of environmental management via the cooperation between the government

and the local governments, water security, disaster risk management, climate change, gender and public access to information were discussed at the meeting.

Welcoming speeches were made by Mr. Halil Yardakule Yigitgudene, the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, who wished fruitful work, as well as Mrs. Jovika Sekike, Serbia’s 2015 OSCE Chairmanship Minister’s Counselor, who emphasized the role of the Aarhus Centers in building the environmental democracy.

With regard to the partnership and networking activities the Armenian Aarhus Centers press officer introduced how the centers daily implement coordinated team working and networking in favor of an effective environmental management. She noted a successful experience of cooperation of the Armenian Aarhus Centers with local authorities, the formation of active groups around the centers, who perceive the problems in-depth, compatibility of other environmental projects of the OSCE Office in Yerevan stressing the importance of YSU Centre for Sustainable Development and Economic Analysis in the possible consequences of the natural resources exploitation, improvement of national legislation and dissemination of reasonable information on complying the Aarhus Convention. She mentioned Mr. Aram Gabrielyan, the goodwill ambassador of the Aarhus Centers, as an effective management model for resources owned by public, and by introducing the concept of a revolving foundation the process of cooperation with the Aarhus Centers was launched. The speaker noted the website of the Armenian Aarhus Centers, which has visitors from 110 countries, as the main tool for networking.

At the session transparency, accountability and public participation in environmental decision-making processes the coordinator of Yeghvard Aarhus Center introduced the role of the Aarhus Centers in promoting public participation and decision making processes. She referred to public active and effective participation in the activities related to the exploitation of HPP, a tailing dam construction, mining, as well as legislative projects with the immediate support of the Centers.

Photo: Riccardo Zennaro/ OSCE

Photo: Riccardo Zennaro/ OSCE

As a boost for future activities efficiency of the 59 Aarhus Centers in 14 countries, importance was attached to cooperation between the centers on general or regional level, the successful model of which can be regarded the networking system established among the 15 Aarhus Centers of Armenia. A memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Southeast European countries and the Aarhus Centers at this meeting.

Mari Chakryan
Armenian Aarhus Centers press officer
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com

Translated by Marine Mazmanyan