“Ekolur” informational NGO president Inga Zarafyan said that their primary demand is to raise the government’s accountability to the civil society.
“We suggest giving up collective accountability. Government members should confirm their decisions by their signatures. Second, transparency should be a must, third, we suggest that all governmental plans be discussed with the civil society”, says Zarafyan.
She adds that the environmental activists prioritize Amulsar and Teghut mines.
“Lake Sevan problems are also urgent. Every year we face the issue of additional water intake from Lake Sevan. We demand that this issue be removed from the agenda totally given that the lake situation is already deteriorated. The other suggestion has to do with the Ararat Valley. Its underground waters have been used for fishponds and the situation is detrimental. The monitoring of small Hydroelectric plants must be conducted in another way, we have long crossed the border of using water resources for small Hydro plants”, says Zarafyan.
Levon Galstyan, a geologist and Armenia’s Environmental Front Representative says that through all ideologies for many years in Armenia the ecological component has been at the last place.
He is hopeful that the velvet revolution will be followed by a cognitive revolution in the government.
“”Unfortunately I don’t spot that right now, because the economic interest note is again prioritized, and the ecological interest is undermined. Eco security is equal to military security. Our mining industry yields 3% of GDP and 10.000 temporary work places. The profit of the mines is also temporary given 5-10 years of mine life. We have only a few mines that have existed for more than 50 years”, says Galstyan.
The environmental activists stress a few points in their proposal package concerning mining industry:
Artur Grigoryan, Representative of “Ecological Right” NGO presents the indices of mine industry in Armenia.
“2,5% GDP is the index of mine industry for the last 5 years and 0,8% employment, compared to the 15% of agriculture. They also say that mining industry provides 1/3 of exported goods equal to $600 mln”, says Grigoryan.
He finds tourism and agriculture more vulnerable fields together with the mining industry.
“The managing system should totally be reviewed ”, says Grigoryan.
Karine danielyan, Chair person of “For Sustainable Human Development” NGO finds that the National Security Council should include a representative from the Ministry of Environment.
“We have suggested excluding the development of mining industry as RA priority dimension. Yesterday we met with the newly appointed Environmental minster and put forward our proposals. The minster was informed of our letter and their suggestions to be presented to the government partly overlap with ours. The minister stressed that he took advantage of our suggestions, he acknowledges them and his concerns are in line with the phenomena that we are striking today ”, said Danielyan.
You can follow the full discussion in the video.
Lilit Arakelyan, Media Center program editor/coordinator,
You can contact the author via Lilitarakelyan@pjc.am