Corruption Risks in Environmental Sphere of Syunik Marz

On 23 December 2015, the CSOs group of Syunik marz of CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition organized an Anti-Corruption event on the theme “Corruption Risks in Environmental Sphere of Syunik Marz.” The event for CSOs of Syunik marz was organized in the scope of the EU funded “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project and was held at the Syunik Branch Office of the Armenian Young Lawyers Association.

Miss Ani Asatryan, the Regional Coordinator of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” Project of the Armenian Young lawyers Association welcomed the participants and made a report on “Findings referring to the Corruption Risks in Environmental Sphere of Syunik Marz and the existing Corruption Occurrences.”

Further, Mr. Ashot Avagyan, Coordinator of Aarhus Center of Syunik Marz, Member of CSOs group of Syunik marz of CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition, presented the report “Activities of Syunik Marz CSO’s Group directed to the Solution of Problems existing in the Environmental Sphere of the Region.” He said there were a lot of problems in the sphere, and one of them was the leakage of wastewater from the formerly exploited mine in Davit Bek District of Kapan City. The leakage causes constant sediment and in dry seasons it turns to toxic dust that pollutes the environment and jeopardize the ecological situation. According to Mr. Avagyan, after numerous applications the city administration partially solved the problem. They conducted construction works and the wastewater leakage was closed. Another problem was illegal tree cutting in Shikahogh State Reserve. The CSO’s Anti-Corruption Coalition has undertaken certain steps in this direction and has applied to the relevant authorities.

Mr. Vladik Martirosyan, President of “Khustup” Ecological NGO said that as a result of the increase of electricity price, the cases of illegal woodcutting increased. He added that the CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition has circulated a statement. However it is due to mention that the relevant authorities show inaction, and this is an evidence of corruption occurrences. He also noted the issue of the low level of the communities’ sanitary cleanliness as one of the problems in environmental sector, as the community heads are absolutely indifferent to the prevailing sanitary conditions in their communities and do not carry out the relevant duties that are imposed on them by law.

Mr. Vladik Ghukasyan, President of “Meghu” NGO responded to the raised issue. He stressed the in addition to cleaning the issue of preservation of cleanliness is a problem, which may be achieved only through carrying out consistent activities.

Environmentalist David Hakobyan suggested creating a rapid-response working group, which will seriously deal with emerging environmental problems of the region. All participants agreed with this, as there is no better option to achieve results than joining the efforts.

All suggestions and recommendation of CSOs and Mass Media made during the public discussions should be summarized and provided to the AYLA for submission to the RA Ministry of Justice.