The civil society presented its approach during the event dedicated to Armenia’s becoming the EITI candidate country. This event was held on 24 March. Armenian PM Karen Karapetyan, Head of Staff of RA Government Davit Harutyunyan, US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, UK Ambassador to Armenia Mrs. Judith Margareth Farnworth and World Bank External Relations Senior Officer Vigen Sargsyan also gave congratulatory speeches.
“A multi-interest group has been established within the EITI, which involves six governmental representatives, 4 mining sector representatives and 5 civil society representatives,” “EcoLur” Informational NGO President Inga Zarafyan said in her speech, “Now we are in the pre-electoral period and when examining the election programs of 9 parties and alliances, we can see that mining is the only issue, which can be found in all programs. This means that the problems in this sector have been accumulated and it affects the electoral mass of our country, i.e. all of us. Whether we can solve these problems within the EITI. The civil society is, first of all, concerned with Armenia not to be included among those countries, where “mining appendix” or “mining curse” concepts exist. We hope that won't happen and both the economy and the mining will be developing in a sustainable manner. We expect to get open information about all those financial flows, which exist not only in our country, but also in offshore zones, where the names of the real owners and real profits are concealed. We want to understand to what extent they affect on the policy of the mining in the country. We are expecting environmental problems to pass with a red line in our roadmap. We want to know whether this concept, when a polluter shall pay, works in our country, how the state bodies treat when mining companies make violations.
We hope that the EITI will increase the accountability of the mining companies not only in front of the state bodies, but also our people, as according the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia, people are the owner of natural resources and soil.”
Replying to the working style of the multi-interest group, Arthur Grigoryan, President of «EcoRight» NGO and the representative of the EITI multi-interest group civil society, said, 'Group decisions shall be made based on the consensus, there is no other mechanism. If there is no consensus, discussion shall be held for one month with the participation of an independent mediator. If we don't reach an agreement, a voting will be held, as a result of which two third of the majority of all three factions involved in the multi-interest group shall support it to have a decision made.'
Arthur Grigoryan also refereed to the EITI priorities, 'The EITI standard envisages not only the accountability of a small group, but it also enables each country to decide on its priorities. In case of Armenia, the civil society has reached an agreement that matters of social and environmental accountability are priority. In the working program we prescribed such mechanims that will eventually result in the formation of soil management with incomparably higher accountability and increase in social and environmental commitment.'
18:21 March 27, 2017