The policy conducted in the sphere of environmental protection has undergone drastic changes


Acting Minister of Nature Protection Erik Grigoryan reported on the guiding directions of the policy, ongoing reforms, current and promising projects performed in the sphere of environmental protection over the past 6 months.  The representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, initiatives doing environmental-related activities and the mass media were invited to the meeting.
Referring to the pivotal principles of the policy conducted in the sector, the Acting Minister singled out the introduction of a preventive mechanism instead of compensation.
Erik Grigoryan noted that in the course of six months, salaries were raised by an average of 40% in specially protected areas and up to 100% in some areas; technical upgrades were accomplished, solar power plants and online control systems were installed.
The lighting systems of the Ministry of Nature Protection and its organizations have been completely replaced with energy efficient LED light bulbs.
Two dozen conservation and firefighting vehicles have been provided to the organizations operating under the Ministry. Also, "Zvartnots" Aviameteorological Centre" CJSC and Monitoring Center have been technically equipped. The entire aforementioned capacity-building activities have been implemented through funding of grants and savings.
Erik Grigoryan emphasized that the expertise system has radically changed: in the case of non-compliance, the defined fines will be considerably increased before the full-fledged legislative adjustment is assumed; internationally well-qualified experts have been hired by the grant program, thus expertise conclusion is not given without taking into account these experts' recommendations.
The speaker pointed out the complete inventory of tailing dumps supervised by the Ministry for the first time and the introduction of monitoring system of mining impacts. The latter has been imposed on entrepreneurs in a bid to execute environmental monitoring by dint of licensed laboratories and publicize. 

The road map for actions arising from the agreement was developed within the scope of measures undertaken by the Ministry of Nature Protection to address the legislative approximation within the framework of a comprehensive and enhanced partnership agreement signed  between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, including about 97  approximation measures alongside  30 EU  directives, which has become an exemplary  model for other government  agencies, after the approval by EU partners.
The Acting Minister of Nature Protection advised that presently, USD 78 million international grants are being fulfilled under the ministry.
In the frames of € 23.2 million grant project approved by the German Development Bank (KfW) for biodiversity conservation, the project will focus on Nork Forest and the restoration of forests of Hrazdan Gorge, which is crucial for the ecological state of the capital.
Down to water resource management issue, E. Grigoryan informed that in the wake of inspections conducted by the agency, there  were detected violations in 259 water users and according to the defined order, the above mentioned violations on norms were sent to the Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body. 
As a consequence of the researches realized in 27 metal mines by the Ministry, there were revealed deviations from requirements of the draft documents that received expertise assessment in 7 metal mines. Due to the implemented activities, the funds earmarked for recultivation have increased 66 times.
Additionally, Erik Grigoryan reflected upon the accomplished works apropos of Amulsar gold-bearing quartzite deposit and briefed that multilateral measures assumed in several phases resulted in a tender announced for attraction of an international organization, due to which better in-depth  information about Amulsar's impact on key environmental components would be achieved.
Over the last half-year, Minister of Nature Protection spotlighted the establishment of a household waste sorting infrastructure in Ararat community for the first time in Armenia, legislative initiatives meant for promoting the import of electric vehicles and reduction of single-use plastic, as well as draft decrees on announcing 2019 as the year of the Caucasian Leopard.
Erik Grigoryan responded to the questions of the media representatives and non-governmental organizations. Afterwards, members of “Armenian Environmental Front” Civic Initiative  expressed their complaints and concerns about environmental bottlenecks, and by handing the  sludge of Debed River and drainage water taken from the abandoned  mine in Tandzut to the Acting Minister, left the building.