October 6, 2005
Aarhus Centres to Open in Armenian Regions With OSCE Support
YEREVAN (OSCE)--Local public environmental information Centres (Aarhus Centres) will soon open in the capitals of the Syunik, Tavush, and Lori regions of Armenia with the help of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, which signed an agreement with the Ministry of Nature Protection and local administrations on October 6, 2005.
The Centres will promote access to information, including through the Internet, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environmental matters--the three main pillars of the Aarhus Convention, ratified by Armenia in 2001. They will also contribute to the creation of a public climate of transparency in environmental affairs and to the general democratization and good governance in the region.
The need for local Aarhus Centres in the regions was one of the recommendations of the OSCE-supported study of the perspectives of the socio-economic development of the Syunik region, conducted last year.
The Centres will also serve as a link between governmental authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the field of environmental policy-making, promote cooperation between all environmental stakeholders and their potential counterparts--such as national, foreign and international NGOs, as well as the business community--and serve as a basis for coalition-building among local environmental NGOs.
The Centres will open later this year and make use of the experience and expertise of the Yerevan Aarhus Centre, established in 2002 as the first one in Southern Caucasus.
The OSCE Office in Yerevan supports the establishment
of a network of Aarhus Centres in Armenia to promote the principles and
values of the international Aarhus Convention, which combines both environmental
issues and democratic spirit.