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The Aarhus Convention and its application at the local level. Kapan

23.10.2017

On October 20, within the framework of the “Raising Awareness on Implementation of Aarhus Convention in Armenia” program a seminar was organized by Kapan Aarhus Center Coordinator in Kapan branch of the National Polytechnic University of Armenia. The project is implemented by “Public Awareness and Monitoring Center” NGO, with the support of the “A. D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Center” NGO.

Welcoming remarks was made by Anik Yeghiazaryan, dean of the Faculty of Technology and Branch Economics, highlighting the importance of the meeting and the topic.

Welcoming the participating lecturers and students, the Aarhus Center coordinator briefed on the proposals directed to Armenia on access to environmental information and public participation in decision-making at the sixth meeting of the Aarhus Convention Parties held on September 10-15 in Montenegro. Then the latter presented the presentation on “Public Participation in Public Environmental Decision-Making”, prepared by the Public Awareness and Monitoring Center, focusing on the importance of awareness-raising at the local level.

Participants were also presented the achievements of Kapan Aarhus Center, which were recorded using as a tool the Aarhus Convention:
• Closure of new landfill nearby Kapan;
• Cancellation of the decision to build 27 garages adjacent to the children’s park in the center of Kapan,
• Change of the Kapan-Meghri road project, which in accordance with the preliminary version should be passed through the “Mtnadzor” virgin forest through a specially protected area,
• The importance of public opinion on the development of Shahumyan gold-polymetallic mine, as a result of which the enterprise refused to open the exploitation program and currently the mine is exploited though the underground method and so on.

These examples have convinced the students that they have a practical opportunity to apply the rights granted to them by the Aarhus Convention to be more informed and more active in the decision-making process on environmental issues in the region.

In the course of the question and answer session, the issues of non-conformity of national legislation to the convention, the barriers to the public participation and access to justice in practice were discussed.
Martin Galstyan, a lecturer at the university, thanked the students for their active participation in the workshop, urged the students to be active in the protection of their rights.

Ashot Avagyan,

“Public Awareness and Monitoring Center” NGO

“The content of the article, the views and opinions expressed therein belong to the author and may not coincide with the views of the A. D. Sakharov Human Rights Center NGO.”