CLARIFICATION on making supplements to the law on “Freedom of Information”

03-04-2020

The only objective of the Ministry of Environment is to increase the level of environmental security; the Ministry pursues no other objective.
The proposed amendment stems from the strategy on environmental education and upbringing development yet approved by N7 protocol decree of the Government on February 22, 2018.
First, we find it necessary to state that the proposed regulation is defined in the Aarhus Convention, moreover, this regulation is also set out in Directive 2003/4/EC, particularly in (h) point of the 2nd paragraph of Article 4 thereof. By the way, the Republic of Armenia has also undertaken the responsibility to approximate the definition of applicable exceptions established in Article 4 of Directive 2003/4 EC by EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
The basis are set out in 3rd and 4th paragraphs of Article 4 of the Aarhus Convention, for which a request for environmental information may be refused.
Since most of the basis provided under Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus) have already been submitted by the law on “Freedom of Information”, therefore it required to make supplements to the law - only to the grounds for refusal set out in (h) point of 4th paragraph of Article 4 of the Convention.
Article 4 (h) of the Aarhus Convention states that a request for environmental information may be refused;
h) if it may adversely affect the environment, including breeding sites of rare species (literal translation of the aforementioned point of the article of Aarhus Convention).
The draft has been approved by the Government and will be discussed in the National Assembly. If there are any proposals that will enable to address this problem, which are in line with the RA legislation and international obligations, we are willingly to include them in the draft.
By the way, these regulations become more relevant in terms of strengthening the monitoring system in the Ministry, as a result of which information in the Ministry (including on rare species of flora and fauna) will be more complete, better developed and coordinated.
P.S. By the current legislation, if, for example, a person requests for information about the breeding site of the Caucasian leopard, we are obliged to provide that information within five working days.

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