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Identification of Strengths and Weaknesses of the Aarhus Centres in Armenia, Outlining Priorities for Future Activities

On the initiative of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, on December 16-19 was held the year-end meeting of the Armenian Aarhus Centers, aiming at assessing the centers works with stakeholders, setting priorities and directions for further activities. The event was attended not only by employees of the centers, but also the Economic and Environmental Programme Officers of the OSCE Office in Yerevan headed by Radka Rubilina, Human Rights Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan, representatives of the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency, regional administrations of Shirak, Lori, Tavush and Gegharkunik provinces, dean of the Faculty of Geology and Geography of the YSU, employees of YSU Sustainable Development Center, ARNAP Foundation, NGOs actively operating in the field of environment and minority rights as well as independent experts.
Eric Grigoryan, instructor, expert through previously developed self-assessment and evaluation sheets
carried out evaluation of the Centers strengths and weaknesses (SWOT) as well as opportunities and threats.

As a result of analysis of the preliminary collected information particularly was mentioned that the Armenian Aarhus Centers offer a unique platform aimed at strengthening actions carrying out towards democratic values in the field of environment, which are exceptional as a long-term cooperation platform among the regional State governance agencies and international donors.

As the main obstacle in effective functioning were mentioned the absence of the public participation procedural rights and access to justice in environmental protection issues. Identification of the Centers’ further activities was continued through teamwork.

Taking into consideration the suggestions of all participants have been separated 10 directions, including those in which the centers have been engaged till now. Through the team work have been specified more specific and targeted actions aimed at the desired goal. It was highlighted the status of the Aarhus Centers and the Aarhus Convention pillars introduction, including support for development of the Convention implementation strategy.

In addition to practical work, the event participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the content of the methodological guidelines of effective realization of the rights in the field of environmental and economical management in the context of legal analysis of the international experience, economic analysis of the Armenian natural resources exploitation, the MTEA activities in the field, as well as had the opportunity to discuss the issues related to cooperation of the Aarhus Centers with the state and local government agencies.

Mari Chakryan
Armenian Aarhus Centers Press Officer,
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan