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Summary of Activities aimed at Environmental Protection

On December 2-5, within the frameworks of the environmental national programs of the OSCE Office in Yerevan Aarhus Centers in Armenia, YSU Center for Sustainable Development, representatives of “Bird Lovers Center”, “Center of Economical-Legal Analyses” and “Sinjar” Yezidis National Union NGOs were gathered under the same roof in Tsahkadzor, to present activities undertaken by them in 2014 and to discuss future actions.

The event also was attended by Gohar Ghazinyan, Environmental Programmes Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan and other department employees led by Tomasz Dembski, Economic and Environmental Programme Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

Representatives of the Armenian Aarhus Centers one by one represented activities undertaken by them, highlighted achievements and plans. The joint work of the all Centers was presented through a film, in which was not only represented the current year’s statistical data, but the coordinators in a unique way also presented the nuances of the centers adopted policies.

Particularly it was stressed that the Aarhus Centers have made all possible in direction of early notification of public, formation of public opinion and ensuring feedback, public notification on the final decision, but still needed some efforts in ensuring full participation of public, which is not conditioned only by the Aarhus Centers activities.

In the current year, centers have done much works in direction of informing public on the draft legislation and ensuring participation in the final decision.

Remarkable achievement was the amendments to legislation that allow additional drainage from Lake Sevan, for which the Aarhus Centers have displayed great activity. Highlighting the importance of taxpayers’ awareness on the effective use of money paid by them, centers have worked on ensuring properly public notification on the community budgeting and reporting issues. On a new level was set the cooperation between the state government agencies and local government. ACs are highlighting the issues related to ecological education and ecological thinking, and with their actions this year also tried to promote formation of a such society in which each member not only should be aware of the environmental issues, but also display willingness and enthusiasm individually or in joint efforts in order to prevent future problems. Strengthen cooperation with NGOs and civil initiatives. Within the frameworks of the actions aimed at ensuring access to information the ACs have not only provided support to NGOs, members of civil initiatives and individual citizens in making requests, but based on demands, the centers have filed more than 100 information requests to the proper authorities holding information.

The number of visitors of the Aarhus Centers website already speaks about the information being requested, more than 33,000 visitors annually and more than 93000 viewed page. In addition at the half of this year, more than 5000 online TV viewing.

Through healthy discussions the event participants tried to disclose the shortcomings and draw future plans based on them.

At the end of the measure L. Asoyan, Program Manager coordinating the Armenian Aarhus Centers on behalf of the all participants thanked the staff of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and especially T. Dembski, for dedicated support and cooperation.

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