Scaling up the Discussion on Extended Producer Responsibility in Armenia3 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — On November 15, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Acopian Center for the Environment, jointly with its partners, held a discussion on “Introduction of the Extended Producer Responsibility System Within the Framework of the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The event aimed at scaling up the discussion of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) by bringing together businesses, the government of the Republic of Armenia (RA), international organizations, diplomatic missions, and international experts.
The Acopian Center is implementing this initiative in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia: Strong Associations, Strong Advocates program, Armenian-British Chamber of Commerce, Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Armenia, Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia, and Center for International Private Enterprise. The event was part of the Waste Policy Armenia (WPA) program funded by Sweden.
The discussion featured international experts, who presented highly informative cases from the U.K., Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Cyprus, indicating the challenges and opportunities related to various scenarios of EPR adoption. (Presentations are available here.)
Focusing on the importance of EPR system adoption, Harutyun Alpetyan, the Acopian Center program manager for WPA explained, “The EPR system ensures environmentally safe management of waste generated from the consumption of specific products placed on the market by producers or importers. It is important to note that we are talking not only about glass, paper, or plastic packaging waste, but also about hazardous waste, such as tires, batteries, chemical containers, electrical and electronic equipment waste, and more.”
In his turn, the Ambassador of Sweden to Armenia H.E. Patrick Svensson remarked, “Sustainable use of natural resources is a priority for Sweden and corresponds to the strategy of Eastern Europe as well as Armenia. We are cooperating with the RA Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, as well as the American University of Armenia in implementing this strategy. The four-year USD 3.5 million program aims at adopting an extended producer responsibility system and introducing source separation of solid waste.”
Emphasizing the need to develop the legislative basis for adopting the EPR system, RA Deputy Minister of Environment Tigran Gabrielyan noted that “The Ministry of Environment really values the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, and the American University of Armenia, which underlines mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of Waste Policy Armenia program funded by Sweden.”
While the vice-president of the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia (UMBA) Armen Martirosyan underscored the importance of public awareness and environmental education for the efficient implementation of EPR, other speakers presented the findings from several studies on public behavior recently conducted in the country.
“We do believe that this discussion will help the private sector to take the lead in this initiative and engage in the development of the right model of EPR that better fits the Armenian context. This will further promote proper waste management practices and behavior changes throughout the country,” concluded Elina Margaryan, 1st vice-president of AmCham Armenia, committee chair of “Sustainable Development,” VP of Armenian British Business Chamber.
The AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, a research center of the American University of Armenia (AUA), 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 protection and conservation, greening the built environment, sustainable energy, as well as information technology and the environment. Visit http://ace.aua.am.
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