Expectations for Introduction of Socio-Ecological Policy in Five-Year Development Programs for Akhtala and Odzun Communities

Expectations for Introduction of Socio-Ecological Policy in Five-Year Development Programs for Akhtala and Odzun Communities

Socio-ecological policy will soon be incorporated in the five-year development programs of Akhtala and Odzun consolidated communities in Lori Region, as it was mentioned by the leaders of the beneficiary communities on June 8 during the regional forum within the framework of the "Social and Ecological Responsibility" project. "EcoLur" collected the positions on the effectiveness of the community development prospects as a result of the policy implementation from the representatives of the local self-government and project experts participating in the forum.

Head of Akhtala Consolidated Community Arkady Tamazyan

"Community participation is very important and mandatory. Policy is good in that the opinion of the population and the community coincides to some extent. According to the decision of Aldermen’s Council, the provisions of the policy document may be included in the five-year community development plan. We expect to ensure the development of the community.

Head of Odzun consolidated community Arsen Titanyan

"Business is fulfilling its obligations, but it is another question how acceptable that money is for the community. I think the amount of damage is more than the amount given. When we see pollution, we think environmental charges are lower. In fact, the package should be reviewed by the Government. Not only should the environmental agencies deal with it, but the community should play an active role, because the community knows better about its internal problems, how much the rivers are polluted, how much the residents suffer.

I think that both community-business separation and rapprochement should be reconsidered with the government.”

Hasmik Mkrtchyan, Head of Programs, Tourism and Analysis Department of Lori Regional Municipality

"We support such initiatives to the extent that there are three main components. The first is that the communities work openly. The open government method works much better because the community leader and the community think alike, have the same vision, and are able to set community development priorities. Second, the most important issue is the activity of non-governmental organizations in the process of community development programs.

The other component is that the organizations have been able to develop, engage and involve active non-governmental organizations operating in other regions of Armenia. If there is a good example in other regions, it can be implemented in our region.”

Abraham Artashesyan, Vice President of Union of Community Financiers NGO, Project Expert

"The most important part of socio-environmental policy is the ability to make long-term decisions. The policy points out the very principles on which we will make these decisions - these decisions will be the best for the community from an ecological viewpoint.

The policy provides an opportunity to combine the development of alternative business sectors. If any business interferes with alternative development, harms the environment, we will be able to mitigate or eliminate its impact through the program. We raised the issues through surveys and focus groups, we tried to present the problems to the community in a way that does not exclude each other, but complements each other.”

Oleg Dulgaryan, President of Center for Community Consolidation and Support NGO

“The participation of the local self-government in the project was very high, all the administrative heads of the community participated in the process, whereas each administrative head defended the interests of his residence. Administrative heads are deprived of authority, the main responsibility is the head of the community. By not having authority in the participatory process, he seems to be gaining that authority. Relying on the opinion and voice of the citizen, he defends the interests of his place of residence, mentions the priorities of the place of residence.

At the moment, the grounds are evident to say that there is the awareness, but a policy is need, communities have a drive for alternative development, that there are institutional-level relationships with businesses. Moreover, the community leaders, after hearing the views of all the residents and the civil society, finally came to a participatory decision that, yes, this policy is a necessity.”

"Social and Ecological Responsibility” project is carried out by the NGOs involved in "Social-Ecological Consortium” - “Center for Community Mobilization and Support”, “Martuni Women’s Community Council”, “New Horizons”, “EcoLur” and “Forests of Armenia” NGOs within the frameworks of The Data for Accountable and Transparent Action (DATA) project.

“Data for Accountable and Transparent Action” (DATA) project is implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) in a consortium with SOCIES Expert Centre NGO (Socies), Boon TV Foundation (Boon TV), Youth Cooperation Center of Dilijan NGO (YCCD) and Sose Women Issues NGO (Sose) co-created with and supported by United States Agency for International Development. 

The Data for Accountable and Transparent Action (DATA) project is made possible by the generous support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of DATA Project are the sole responsibility of “Center for Community Mobilization and Support” NGO and project partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, EPF, and DATA Consortium.

June 17, 2022 at 12:55