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About the Armenian Aarhus Centers Successful Participation in the 22nd Economic and Environmental Forum
The First Preparatory Meeting of the 22nd OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF) on “Responding to environmental challenges with a view to promoting cooperation and security in the OSCE area” took place in Vienna on 27-28 January 2014.

Opening addresses in the Forum were delivered by Dr. H. Y. Yigitguden, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Ambassador T. Greminger, the OSCE Permanent Council Chairperson and Ambassador L. Zannier, the Secretary General.
The framework of the discussed topics included various issues regarding losses and damages

caused by the natural disasters, human-environment interaction, co-operation in natural disaster management and prevention and role of civil society in disaster-risk management.

During the discussion, it was pointed out that natural disasters are never natural and result from the
human-nature interaction and human vulnerabilities. Throughout the two-day meeting, many participants acknowledged the link between natural disasters and security. Participants proposed concrete recommendations concerning responses to environmental challenges stemming from disasters in the OSCE area.

In the section regarding the role of civil society in disaster risk management through the example of the Armenian Aarhus Centers was presented the Aarhus Center important role in ensuring access to information, raising awareness of environmental problems, including natural hazards, enabling public participation in decision-making processes, and facilitating access to justice. Thus, they were considered to be a well-placed tool for the OSCE to intensify its work on disaster risk reduction.

Ms. L. Asoyan, Coordinator of Gavar Aarhus Center presented the Aarhus Centers actions taken towards informing the public about the dangers of natural and man-made disasters highlighting the importance of public awareness and preparedness to withstand the natural and man-made disasters and to orientate correctly. “This issue is consistent with our mission, as it is aimed at creation of stability of vulnerable groups and communities towards disaster risks purposing efficient management. Especially that Armenia is situated in seismically unstable zone where the disaster risk is high, so we welcome and encourage effective means of fighting”, said the latter. Responding to the various questions completely, L. Asoyan managed to strengthen the belief that the Aarhus Centers can have a small contribution in proper organization of community-based disaster risk reduction activities serving as a platform for dialogue between local self- government and society.

Dr. H. Y. Yigitguden, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities has expressed his appreciation to Ms. L. Asoyan, for her excellent contribution to the First Preparatory Meeting of the 22nd OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum.

Mary Chakryan
PR manager of the Armenian Aarhus Centers
Tell: 010 551364
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan