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Aarhus Centers activities will be directed to the capacity building of state agencies and CSOs for implementation of the Aarhus Convention
With financial support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan “Beljan” NGO has launched the “Support the government and civil society to solve environmental issues by strengthening state institutions and CSOs capacity for implementation the Aarhus Convention” program. On March 31, Yerevan Aarhus Center hosted the launching meeting of the program with participation of representatives of the OSCE Office in Yerevan and the Armenian Aarhus Centers Coordinators.
Mr. Oliver McCoy, Economic and Environmental Programme Officer at the OSCE Office welcomed the participants highlighting the OSCE’s role in the

development of the Aarhus Centres during these years. The latter noted that during this period changes have occurred in terms of development of democracy, legislation, environmental policies, development of civil society, therefore the Aarhus Centers, established as structures ensuring community security, are in need of structural and strategic changes.

Mr. Oliver McCoy highlighted the Centers independence, noting that this year the Centers will have professional support to develop guidelines for the future. At the invitation of the OSCE the international group of experts will evaluate the Centers activity, to what extent they contribute to the development of democracy in Armenia and what needs to be done still in finding their role within framework of local government activities. The speaker stressed the importance of the local self-government’s transparency and accountability issues observing the Centers not to be just responsive structures, but also providing solutions.

Gevorg Petrosyan, coordinator of Gyumri Aarhus Center said that the local government system in our country is independent according to the law, but actually is considerable the effect of unitary system of administration. Consequently, in this system offering such solutions, which will be adopted unambiguously, is not that easy. This claim he was substantiated by the lack of state control system over local government, which would be consistent with regard to correction of various violations identified in performance of local government budgets and would apply punishment mechanisms for wrong costs or rooted shortcomings in management.

Mr. Oliver McCoy, Economic and Environmental Programme Officer at the OSCE Office expected to see the Centers proactive, self-organized that they would be able to find funds for their maintenance.
Narek Beglaryan, Yeghnadzor Aarhus Center Coordinator highlighting the review of Centers strategy, raised issue of their status and emphasized the importance of international experts’ consultations.

Other speakers also noted that leaving the Centers further development on the ACs coordinators is not so logical, as since the beginning the Centers had been established by direct participation of state authorities, which should be actively involved in the process of solving the existing problems. There were discussed a number of issues concerning the implementation of the program.

Lianna Asoyan, Project Manager presented the goal of the program, which is to promote ensuring good environmental management and community security, contribute to dissemination of information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental issues via involvement of stakeholders at local and national levels through the Aarhus Centers in Armenia. As the principle of this year the latter pointed out the importance of an individual, as individuals bring about changes and for them the Centers should be mentoring winds, providing affordable and accurate information, creating favorable conditions to believe that even one’s participation can make a difference. The way for easily reaching the results of the project is clearly outlined in the schedule of actions and clearly distribution of works. Recommendations were given for the upcoming months, have been created preconditions for effective work.

Lianna Asoyan, Project Manager highlighting the issues discussed with the representatives of the OSCE Office in Yerevan in terms of maintenance stability of the Aarhus Centers, mentioned that the most important activity of this year should be theelaboration of a new strategy on the basis of revaluation of the years activity and suggestion of equivalent solutions to our time requirements with stakeholders.

Mary Chakryan
Armenian Aarhus Centers Press Officer
Translated by Anush Beybutyan