EcoRight has been cooperating with both local and international organizations on various levels since the day the NGO was founded. Having a focus on ecological issues caused by mining operations, EcoRight has worked more intensively with active groups in towns of Kapan and Stepanavan and in rural communities of Shnogh, Teghut, Melikgyugh of Aparan of Syunik and Lori provinces of Armenia. Our organization is currently engaged in organic agriculture development in the community of Kalavan in Gegharkunik Province with a view to utilize its organizational and professional experience to contribute to the development of different branches of green economy in the Chambarak region.
Activities aimed at the implementation of goals and objectives of the organization are carried out by EcoRight members entirely on a voluntary basis. In the same way, representatives of EcoRight have been involved in the process of Armenia’s membership in the EITI.
EcoRight has been in close cooperation with international organizations for the purpose of finding solutions to technical issues. In the frameworks of projects targeting the protection of ecological rights of the population, EcoRight has received financial support the OSCE Yerevan Office and the National Endowment for Democracy. The description and results of projects that have been completed as well as those still ongoing are presented below along with the summary of financial assistance received for the development of noted projects:
- The project implemented in 2013 with the support of the OSCE Yerevan Office aimed at identifying the legal regulations and practice in the field of mining waste management, legal regulations on the assessment and compensation of the damages to the environment and public health caused by said wastes, as well as the role of the population in the decision-making process. This review also evaluated issues related to ensuring the rights defined by international treaties on the protection of the environment that Armenia is a part of, and legislative gaps in the mining sector. The conclusions on practical issues with regards to the management of wastes have been based on the reports of Armenia’s Control Chamber, studies and data of Tukhmanuk mine’s current and abandoned tailings dams. In the frameworks of the project, meetings were held with residents of Melikgyugh community informing them of the issues of the tailings dams of mining wastes near their community and the heavy-metal pollution of soil in the area. The residents were also informed of their rights in the decision-making processes as residents of impacted communities. Residents of Melikgyugh then actively participated in the public hearings that were held on the operation of the mine. Following consultation with representatives of EcoRight and guided by the Republic of Armenia Law on Self-Government, residents of Melikgyugh petitioned a request to their mayor concerning the elimination of negative impacts of the mine on their community. The budget of this project was 7,660 Euros.
- Three consecutive projects were implemented from 2014 to 2017 with support from the National Endowment for Democracy. The projects aimed at strengthening public control over administrative authorities of the mining sector through the enhancement of the public’s role in the decision-making process. The goals of the projects were also legally defining the right of environmental associations to access to justice and solidifying this right within the case law practice. Within the frameworks of these projects, satellite imagery of Teghut and other mines were acquired in order to compare them with the mine coordinates approved by the mining permit. The GIS analysis of those images identified discrepancies with the pre-approved mining projects of Teghut and other mines. These violations became the basis of legal challenges against administrative and law-enforcement agencies disputing the legality of the mining projects under implementation. More detailed information on this is available in the section on the Teghut mine. These projects made it possible to pay for legal fees and other professional work while initiating judicial and legal processes against illegally awarded mining permits. The web site of EcoRight has also become possible with the support of the National Endowment for Democracy. In addition, representatives of EcoRight afforded to participated in the Assembly of Parties to the Aarhus Convention in Montenegro, where we presented the infringements of the Convention made by Armenia’s public authorities (legislative, executive, and judicial), as well as the insincere and manipulative behavior of said authorities during the implementation of the decisions of the Compliance Committee. Below you can find additional data on the grants received within the frameworks of the three projects implemented with the support of National Endowment for Democracy:
- Project 2014-391 – Promoting Government Accountability. Implementation budget – 36,500 USD
- Project 2015-795 – Influence on Government Accountability in Mining Oversight. Implementation budget – 26,700
- Project 2016-883 — Comprehensive capacity building and networking for systemic supervision of government’s accountability in mining-related issues. Implementation budget – 43,315
- Project 2017-844 – Oversight of implementation of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative by the Government. Implementation budget – 42,770
The cooperation with the National Endowment for Democracy is ongoing.