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Turkey’s Young Environmentalists in Yerevan Aarhus Center
On February 24-28, the Forum for the 21st Century Leaders NGO hosted young environmentalists of Turkey, within the framework of the platform of young environmentalists of Armenia and Turkey program, the goal of which is the creation of sustainable framework of peaceful cooperation between the two countries in the field of the environment.
Within the framework of the visit to Armenia the Turkish young people also visited Yerevan Aarhus Center. Silva Ayvazyan, coordinator of the Center presented the history, goals and objectives, the scheme of activity not only of Yerevan but also the other 14 Aarhus Centers operating in Armenia.

The latter provided a few positive examples, when as a result of a struggle the society succeeded to amend this or that decision concerning the environment, including maintenance of “Jrvezh” forest-park completeness, building a road through Shikahogh reserve, salvation of Trchkan waterfall, suspension of operation of Hrazdan iron mine, etc.

The guests marked that they had repeatedly tried to persuade the government of Turkey to join the Aarhus Convention, but their efforts have been failed. They also informed that in their country the public hearings are conducted not in order to notify the public in advance for taking into consideration their suggestions and remarks, but simply to inform them about the undertaken activity.

The Armenian Aarhus Centers Press Officer noted that in this respect there is substantial progress in Armenia, but the real participation of the public in hearings mostly is succeeded due to the Aarhus Centers, civil initiatives and NGOs active members being kept informed and conducting public involvement activity. The guests were also interested in the availability of a control body observing the Aarhus Convention implementation and monitoring mechanisms in the state parties.

The representatives of the Aarhus Centers have provided relevant information, presented details on the procedure for applying to the Convention’s Compliance Committee and the importance of the decisions adopted by the Committee in regard to ensuring the implementation of the Convention’s pillars for the given country.

Turkey’s young environmentalists expressed hope that they will manage to convince the government to honor this document ensuring public’s environmental rights as well in Turkey. In this context they also called for further cooperation, to which the representatives of the Armenian Aarhus Centers responded willingly.

The meeting was held in a mutually cordial, educational and peaceful atmosphere.

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