Panel discussion on Ozone Layer Protection

AUA Celebrates International Day of Ozone Layer Protection

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On September 16, 2021, the American University of Armenia (AUA) celebrated the International Day of Ozone Layer Protection. More than 70 people attended the event at AUA’s Manoogian Hall. The event was organized by the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, in collaboration with the European Youth Parliament (EYP) Armenia, the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to raise awareness on the global and national efforts to protect our planet’s stratospheric ozone layer, which is critically important for human and ecosystem health.

“The degradation of the stratospheric ozone layer would create domino effects that would echo through all ecosystems, whether terrestrial, marine or freshwater. Thus, its protection is paramount to ensure the survival and sustainability of all ecosystems, as well as the health of human populations,” notes AUA Assistant Professor and Acopian Center researcher Garabet Kazanjian. 

The key component of the event was a panel discussion addressing questions on the significance of protecting the ozone layer, its history, Armenia’s specific steps to adhere to the international agreement on eliminating harmful chemicals, and the challenges ahead. The panel, moderated by Yeva Gharibyan from EYP, included representatives from government, academia, and civil society. The panelists were Deputy Minister of Environment Anna Mazmanyan and Ozone Layer Protection focal point in Armenia Liana Ghahramanyan; Director of the Acopian Center Alen Amirkhanian, PONTOS project manager at the AUA Acopian Center Aghavni Harutyunyan, and Garabet Kazanjian; and Silva Adamyan representing the Center of Bird Lovers NGO. 

“The thing that struck me most was the positive tone of the event. In a time of extensive environmental challenges that we’re facing, from climate change to ocean acidification and habitat destruction, this is one major environmental success story that needs to be celebrated. It is the proof that when individuals and governments alike realize the seriousness of a problem and act effectively through behavioral change and the implementation of correct legislation, that natural recovery and sustainability are indeed possible. It is also a case to learn from to tackle other contemporary environmental issues with the same rigor,” Kazanjian reflected on the main takeaways of the event.

Harutyunyan, who talked about the use of satellite imagery for ozone layer monitoring, believes that the event was a great success as it brought together many young individuals from diverse backgrounds and affiliations around the topic of the ozone-layer protection. “Towards the end of the event, we saw many participants come forward enthusiastically with stimulating questions, offering creative thoughts of their own. It was evident that the topic had captured their interest and awakened in them a passion for environmental protection,” she remarked.

The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, a research center of the American University of Armenia, promotes the protection and restoration of the natural environment through research, education, and community outreach. The AUA Acopian Center’s focus areas include sustainable natural resource management, biodiversity and conservation, greening the built environment, clean energy, and energy efficiency, as well as information technology and the environment.