Today RA Minister of Nature Protection Artsvik Minasyan outlined the undertakings of 2017 year implemented by the ministry and identified the foremost projects of the coming year at the meeting with journalists.
Earlier, the Minister of Nature Protection pointed at existing problems in environmental sector at 2016 final press conference, thus the Minister emphasized that in order to address them a number of actions have been envisaged by the RA Government Program until 2022, which are conducted timely and there are actual actions meant for all directions.
In the context of implementation of legislative reforms, presently there are more than six dozen legal acts available on e-draft.am website; it means that the policy of accomplishing key revisions in regulatory sphere is in large-scale process.
Artsvik Minasyan notified that there is distinct progress in reducing direct contact with the citizens, state structures and responsible subdivisions with the view to reducing corruption risks. If paper and electronic document circulation were 60/40 percent in 2016, thus at present the ratio is 67/33 percent. Due to which, personal contacts, terms of service delivery were brought down.
According to the Minister, Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body was established within the framework of institutional reforms, which will be under subordination of the government empowered with new authorities and a toolkit. Due to another institutional reform, an integrated monitoring system was set up: 4 state non-commercial organizations operating in the ministry were reorganized and electronic united data of monitoring has already been formed. Pivotal changes are in progress towards this to spotlight the country's all major environmental components in a single state monitoring system.
The Minister of Nature Protection also pinpointed the institutional solution of integrated forest management and informed that while implementing it, the President of the Republic of Armenia signed a decree on establishing State Forest Committee, thereby eliminating forest fragmentation. Three guiding principles of forest management will dominate in the future: environmental, economic and social. “Forest protection policy will undergo rudimentary changes. The protection will be prioritized, exploitation of which will be excluded and further forest protection will be conducted without exploitation. The RA Ministries of Agriculture, Economic Development and Investments will take the opportunity to be engaged in the protection of these principles and implementation of development projects”: Artsvik Minasyan noted.
One of the most important achievements of the year was the cooperation buildout with state and public institutions, in the context of which energy efficiency grant projects were realized along with Yerevan Municipality and a number of other communities, including the allocation of over 5000 thousand Euros was provided to 32 communities of Syunik Region of the Republic of Armenia. The latter will tackle these problems in the communities to lessen the pressure on forests. The Minister of Nature Protection informed that within the cooperation scopes with the Office of RA Prosecutor General the equipment was handed over to the latter that will enable to reveal the timing of illegal cutting of trees.
In 2017, cooperation with the public sector was boosted, memorandums were signed with various organizations and citizens concerned about environmental issues, enabling the involvement of public and science-related representatives in addressing environmental issues. Information Technology and Donor Councils attached to the RA Minister of Nature Protection were established. Apart from international organizations of the Donor Council, local organizations implementing environmental projects will also be involved in the next phase. The Artists' Union of Armenia signed a cooperation platform. The Memorandum of Cooperation was signed with V. Hambardzumyan Observatory of the RA National Academy of Sciences in Byurakan and activities on establishing an arboretum were initiated. According to the Minister, the goal of these steps is to transfer public's participation in management procedures up to the mark, that will make a contribution to forging eco culture within the society and sustainable management of nature protection sphere.
The water usage regime was changed due to the agreement reached with the SHPP over the river for well stocked operation of Shaki Waterfall Minasyan noted and added: ''The objective of the undertaking is to balance environmental and economic interests, which denies the idea that economic decrees are in conflict with environmental ones. In fact, it is possible to find a balanced solution and it should be the main starting point for our development. It can not be an economic decision, taking no notice of environmental one and may not be exclusively environmental decree, without taking into consideration the economic or social sector”.
Outlining 2018 undertakings, the Minister of Nature Protection mentioned that the Government has already envisaged making amendments to the functions of the RA Ministry of Nature Protection in the Government’s several projects which should be accomplished and the ministry must fully and deeply assume the responsibility for the implementation of the integrated environmental policy.
One of 2018 priorities will be the reduction of deep water amounts and the increase of efficiency of the above mentioned water usage through secondary, tertiary water use.
As a consequence of water saving activities implemented in Ararat Valley in 2017, only 150 million m3 of water has been saved in breeding entrepreneurship, in the form of which the works will be carried on.
In addition, the Minister of Nature Protection reflected upon the natural disasters recorded this year and stated that practical steps were taken to improve technical upgrades and capacity building of SPAs. "In 2018, all specially protected areas of nature will have fast-moving trucks with relevant equipment. We will have utensils for rapid detection and response, as well as illegal hunting and cutting of trees via information technologies'': A. Minasyan noted and added that within the framework of ongoing reforms this year management modes have changed. For instance, ''Dilijan National Park'' has put into effect a twenty-four-hour supervision regime and large-scale changes will be made in that direction, particularly in terms of clarifying the implementation mechanisms of the twenty-four-hour regime.
Concluding the speech, the Minister expressed confidence that 2017 recorded achievements will be multiplied and practiced in 2018.
Artsvik Minasyan handed over Certificates of Appreciation to a number of journalists and media means for consistently identifying environmental issues and fairly covering the sphere.