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On September 25-26, 2021 the member organizations of the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform Working Group 3 held a two-day outgoing workshop to discuss the role of civil society in environmental decision-making. The event was also attended by independent experts and representatives of state agencies.

The new draft Law “On Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise”, the issues of pollution of Lake Sevan and other basins, the problems of small hydropower plants and possible mechanisms for their solution were at the core of the event.

The workshop was held in Lchashen village of Gegharkunik region, which is a unique open-air museum. Lchashen was selected for the workshop, taking into account the exemplary experience of increasing the role of the community in solving sectoral problems, public engagement, and creation of environmental benefits through social entrepreneurship. During the two days, the speakers of the thematic discussions presented the pre-collected information, around which active discussions took place.

During the discussion of the draft law “On Making Amendments to the RA Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise” (EIA) held in Lchashen, the participants presented opinions, suggestions and remarks on the project and a number of other issues related to the field. In particular, it was mentioned that the need for elaboration of the environmental policy of our country in parallel with the reforms of the legislative regulation of EIA processes in the republic has been repeatedly highlighted by the interested NGOs and experts. It was noted that it is necessary to first develop a Concept with clear goals and principles, on the basis of which a solid and far-reaching national environmental policy with irrevocable, permanent and sustainable approaches should be developed, the key idea of ​​which should be the correct, reasonable and rational use of the country’s natural resources for the benefit of the life and health of present and future generations.

The WG3 members, emphasizing Lake Sevan as a strategic priority for Armenia, voiced the dangers threatening the lake and came up with recommendations: to ban fishing in Lake Sevan for at least 1 year, afterwards carry out a clear assessment of reserves, and then allow industrial fishing by defining, controlling and overseeing the exact size of fishing equipment. It was mentioned that it is necessary to take out all the nets from the lake, to clearly assess the areas covered by water as a result of the lake rise, to fully prepare the shores in advance for the rise, to work on the construction of biological treatment plants, etc.

The complete package of proposals developed as a result of the workshop was presented to the Minister of Environment, the recommendations on the pollution of the Hrazdan River and Yerevan Lake were also submitted to the Mayor of Yerevan.

The outgoing workshop of the EaP CSF ANP WG3 was held within the framework of the Armenian National Platform Secretariat support to the ANP Working Groups’ activities.