Which Gaps Were Recorded by EcoLur in Yerevan's Green City Action Plan?

Which Gaps Were Recorded by EcoLur in Yerevan's Green City Action Plan?

On March 30, 2023, a round table on "Citizens' right to live in a clean and healthy environment" was held at "EcoLur" press club organized by "EcoLur" Informational NGO within the framework of the "Be informed about plans and programs of Green cities in Yerevan and Gyumri" project with the support of “CEE Bankwatch Network” global network. Representatives of Yerevan Municipality, RA Environment Ministry, “CEE Bankwatch Network” global network, non-governmental organizations, representatives and experts took part in the discussion.

President of "EcoLur" Informational NGO Inga Zarafyan mentioned in her opening speech, “Among the components of "Yerevan's Green City Action Plan", "energy" has made noticeable progress, but obstacles have been identified in connection with the implementation of some components, which have accumulated over the years. When we mention the shortcomings, we should understand what can be done to make Yerevan a truly green city, and be sure that future generations will live in good conditions," she noted.

Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath, Strategic Area Leader - Cities for people, at “CEE Bankwatch Network” global network, said: “We monitor the investments of banks such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank, etc. Our task is to control the flow of money. 5 years ago the EBRD started the Green City program and invested $1 billion, now $5 billion has been invested in the project, and big players like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have joined the project. Yerevan was one of the first to be involved in this program.

Our experience has shown that development plans are very well designed, but problems arise during the implementation phase of the plans. We call on the EBRD, program funding institutions and the public to provide more space to NGOs in similar programs so that they can make their voices heard. Experience has shown that the higher the transparency and participation, the better such programs are planned and implemented," she said.

Victoria Burnazyan, Vice President of "EcoLur" Informational NGO, presented the results of the studies carried out on Yerevan's Green City Action Plan.

 She mentioned that 3 projects were financed within the framework of the EBRD "Green City" program, which are as follows:

·        2017 - "ENA - Distribution Network Modernization" project, for which the EBRD provided an 80-million-dollar loan. The total cost of the project is $200 million.

·        2021 - "Armenian Electric Networks" investment program, for which the EBRD provided a $60 million loan. The total value of the project is $148,400,000.00, including up to $20,000,000 in syndicated funds.

·        2021 - "Yerevan Bus Project", for which EBRD provided 20 million euros to Yerevan Municipality. The total cost of the project is 25 million euros.

Victoria Burnazyan referred to the mid-term targets for "Atmospheric air", "Energy", "Transport", "Waste" components and greening of Yerevan's Green City Action Plan and the actions and results aimed at achieving them.

 Regarding the "atmospheric air" component, she mentioned, "During the last 5 years, atmospheric air pollution in Yerevan has increased because of the excesses in dust and nitrogen dioxide MPC.

 "Yerevan has not reached the mid-term targets specified in "Atmospheric Air" component of the Yerevan Yerevan's Green City Action Plan," she said.

Turning to the "Energy" component, she mentioned a number of energy saving and energy efficiency improvement projects that were implemented and are being implemented in Yerevan. Although not all projects were implemented without obstacles, the results of the projects generally indicate that energy saving, as one of the main goals of "Green City" project, is being implemented in Yerevan.

While presenting the "Waste" component, Victoria Burnazyan said that the capital city still does not have a new sanitary landfill in accordance with the EU standards provided for by Yerevan's Green City Action Plan, nor does it have a waste processing plant.

Regarding the "Transport" component, Victoria Burnazyan mentioned that there is still no unified electronic ticket system in Yerevan. Yerevan is importing new big buses, as a result of which the city transport fleet will be renewed by around 45 percent.

Referring to the issue of greening, Victoria Burnazyan mentioned, "Yerevan Municipality has not yet reached the target set by Green City Action Plan of having more than 8.5 square meters of green space per inhabitant by 2022. Yerevan has lost a significant part of its green spaces. Today, there are not enough free spaces for large-scale planting. Forest lands are being developed, forest restoration in the capital is becoming impossible."

At the discussion, Nora Martirosyan, Deputy Director of Yerevan Development PIU, presented the investment programs implemented by Yerevan Municipality, whereas Gorik Avetisyan, Acting Head of Environmental Protection Department of Yerevan Municipality, addressed environmental issues. A discussion then ensued.

To be continued.

April 03, 2023 at 13:52