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The visit of the OSCE Secretariat’s Representative to the Aarhus Centers of Armenia

On September 1, Ms. Desiree Schweitzer Deputy-Coordinator of the OCEEA – Office of the Coordinator on Economic and Environmental Affairs paid a working visit to Armenia. On the agenda has been also included a visit to the Aarhus Centers of Armenia to get acquainted with the centers activities on the spot.
D. Schweitzer accompanied by T. Dembski, Economic and Environmental Programme Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan, G. Ghazinyan and A. Shahbazyan, officers of the same department visited Gavar and Dilijan Aarhus Centers.
In Gavar the guests along with the representatives of the Aarhus Centers also met with A. Hakobyan, deputy

Governor of Gegharkunik, S. Khlghatyan, head of the staff of regional administration, who highlighted the role of Aarhus Centers, in the face of Gavar center, in terms of informing public on the environmental conditions, draft documents refer to the surrounding environment and ensuing their participation in the discussion of the arisen issues.

It was mentioned that Gavar Aarhus Center has repeatedly filed requests both the regional administration and community leaders, in order to obtain public information under their control, submit proposals, which make easier their work and promote collaboration.

“It is no coincidental that the center is located in the building of the regional administration, it talks about our solidarity and healthy cooperation,” said A. Hakobyan, the deputy governor.

L. Asoyan, coordinator of Gavar Aarhus Center presented the guests the centers activity.

The guest arrived from Vienna especially was interested how the centers inform the public about the draft legislation, involve them in the process of discussion and address the public proposals.

The Armenian Aarhus Centers press officer as a fresh example provided the legislative initiative on the additional water outlet from Sevan, which became possible to prevent and change by reducing the 5-year period up to 1 year, due to the joint efforts of the Centers and NGOs as a result of properly informing the public and standing against.

For their part, the state officials attended the meeting recalled numerous other examples, when as a result of the Center’s activities, involving the public had enabled to prevent or change environmental risks containing decisions.

In Dilijan the guests were welcomed by A. Haroyan and D. Ghazaryan, coordinators of Dilijan and Idjevan Aarhus Centers. Through a detailed presentation coordinator of Dilijan Aarhus Center presented the center’s activity indicating how the center is being able to support public participation in the decision-making process at the local level by providing vivid examples of documents acceptance procedures of the community budget, four-year development plan and the strategic planning. The coordinator informed the attendees that it’s one of the strong sides of the center and presented detailed the entire process of those projects, from early stage to the approval by the Council of Elders.

Dilijan Center’s coordinator informed that the centers are cooperating with all parties concerned and interested, but more active partnerships they have with local governments, environmental organizations and NGOs.

Regarding the ways of creating citizens’ awareness, the latter mentioned that in many places because of the lack of local television, local newspapers with great frequency, the main sources of information remain the electronic mails, social networks and telephony services.

Mary Chaqryan
Armenian Aarhus Centers Press Officer
Tell: 010 551364
E-mail: aarhusnews@gmail.com
Translated by Anush Beybutyan