AUA Center for Responsible Mining Leads Civil Society Dialog2 min read
In the coming year, 2021-22, the Government of the Republic of Armenia (RA) will develop its long-awaited mining policy and strategy, including necessary legislative reforms. To prepare civil society organizations to engage in forthcoming policy and strategy formulation discussions, on April 16-17, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining conducted an intensive two-day policy dialog with over 30 civil society members and government representatives. Recommendations from civil-society groups will be formally shared with national authorities responsible for developing mining policy.
The two-day policy dialog was implemented as part of the “Mining Sector Policy Dialog, Information Portal, and Youth Engagement” project, financed through Transparency International with funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“We considered this as the start of a longer process to constructively engage civil society in some of the topics related to mining,” says Alen Amirkhanian, director of the AUA Center for Responsible Mining. “We also hope there will be a chance to continue dialog on other key topics that we did not get to cover.” Amirkhanian elaborates that those other issues include management of state revenues from mining, the process of mining permit applications and approvals, technological modernization of the mining sector, and more.
Based on initial stakeholder consultations, four areas were prioritized for this two-day dialog. These included work conditions and occupational safety in Armenia’s mining sector; disaster resilience in Armenia’s mining communities; mitigating the negative legacy of mining in Armenia, going back to pre-soviet, soviet, and post-soviet periods; and environmental and public-health responsibilities in Armenia’s mining sector.
To enable in-depth and informed discussions, the Center commissioned four papers, one on each topic. “We identified experts in the country who could review the completed research and projects in each of those topics and prepare a review, identify gaps, and make preliminary recommendations for discussion,” says Alexander Arakelyan, the project manager.
The structure of the policy meetings was as follows: presentation of the results of the analysis covered in discussion papers; clarification of facts and situation by invited experts; discussion and deliberation among civil society representatives; and, in conclusion of the meetings, generating a list of recommendations to be shared with the government.
The American University of Armenia (AUA) Center for Responsible Mining promotes the creation as well as transfer and adoption in Armenia of best practices in socially, environmentally, and economically responsible mining. AUA Center for Responsible Mining works with companies, civil society, and the public sector to achieve this goal. More information can be found at http://crm.aua.am.