Ecological Right non-governmental organization (EcoRight) was founded in 2012 (see organization’s Charter). Key features of the organization are outlined in its Charter. Our activities are based on our approaches to economic, legal, environmental, health, cultural and other issues in the ecological context.
The organization has a Procurement Policy, on which all considerations for purchases required by the organization are based upon. The said policy has been developed taking into account international criteria for such documents used by NGO’s.
Presenting fundamental ecological issues within the frameworks of law is an essential approach of the organization. Challenging the legitimacy of companies’ mining permits issued by the Armenian government in the court of law and in international platforms has been a practical application of the aforementioned approach.
An overarching practical direction of ours undertaking steps aimed at replacing a consumer-based raw materials economy with a green economy. One of those steps have been the promotion and encouragement of organic agriculture, various types of tourism, and utilization of solar power in remote rural communities.
Currently EcoRight is mainly focused on community development priorities with the purpose of ensuring the meaningful and practical application of local self-government in rural communities through the use of instruments of the principles of participatory democracy. Public participation in the decision-making process lies at the core of the Aarhus Convention, which equips the public with solid tools to exercise their right to a healthy environment for their own well-being as well as to protect public interests.
The experience we have acquired in the course of our activities as well as the analysis of facts clearly point out that fundamental ecological issues in Armenia are a result of irresponsible and lop-sided exploitation by the mining sector. Representatives of EcoRight have carried out a number of legislative and institutional analyses related to the exploitation of natural resources while highlighting the issue of assessment of impacts on public health, lack of a mechanism for the equitable assessment of the damage caused inflicted upon other business activities by mining, as well as the lack of a system of environmental oversight and systemic corruption risks related to the latter (Mining sector in Armenia: policy, regulatory institutions and legislation [in Armenian]). EcoRight’s experts were involved in the Corruption Risk Assessment in the Mining Sector research carried out by Transparency International Anticorruption Center (TIAC) that identified and assessed the corruption risks in the process of awarding mining permits for the exploitation of metal mines in Armenia. The research also highlighted the absence of legal regulations and methodological manuals for the evaluation of economic benefits and losses in the sector, problems with relation to the professional qualifications and technical capacities of authorized government agencies, and other issues (Full text of the research is available on the website of Transparency International).
EcoRight is currently involved in the process of Armenia’s accession to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that will increase public control over the transparency and responsibility of the mining sector and will help advance ecological priorities related to the sector (Link to the EITI page of the website). EcoRight’s Artur Grigoryan was elected as member of the Multi-Stakeholder Group of EITI Armenia in 2015. Other members of EcoRight have been involved in EITI working groups. Ecological Right is the first organization in Armenia to have become a member of a global coalition of over 800 civil society organizations from about 50 countries known as Publish What You Pay (PWYP). In the frameworks of the EITI, the goals of this coalition are enshrined in the Vision 20/20 Strategy and include issues related to the transparency and efficiency of spending of mining industry revenues.
We cooperate with international rights groups and international media representatives with a view to voice the problems inside Armenia in international platforms attempting to find more effective and sound solutions for them․ In the frameworks of the EITI, EcoRight closely follows the process of development of the Mining Strategy (The text of the Strategy for the Development of the Mining Sector is available [in Armenian] at the state portal for the publication drafts of legal acts https://www.e-draft.am/projects/44/justification).