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What gaps did EcoLur record in Yerevan's "Green City" action plan?

Monday, April 3, 2023

2023 On March 30, a round table on "Citizens' right to live in a clean and healthy environment" was held at the "EcoLuri" press club. It was organized by "EcoLur" information NGO within the framework of the program "Be informed about the plans and programs of Green cities in Yerevan and Gyumri" with the support of the international network CEE Bankwatch Network. Representatives of Yerevan Municipality, RA Ministry of Environment, CEE Bankwatch Network international network, non-governmental organizations and experts participated in the discussion.


President of "EcoLur" information NGO Inga Zarafyan mentioned in her opening speech. Among the components of "Yerevan's Green City Action Plan", "energy" has made noticeable progress, but obstacles have been identified in connection with the implementation of some components, which have accumulated over the years. When we mention the shortcomings, we should understand what can be done to make Yerevan a truly green city and be sure that future generations will live in good conditions."


Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath, the leader of the "Cities for People" strategic direction of the CEE Bankwatch Network international network, said: "Our mission is to monitor the activities of development banks, to find out whether their investments are spent in accordance with their goals. We monitor the investments of banks such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank, etc. Our task is to control the flow of money. 5 years ago the EBRD started the Green City program and invested $1 billion, now $5 billion has been invested in the project, and big players like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank have joined the project. Yerevan was one of the first to be involved in this program. We understand that pioneers face a lot of problems. Our experience has shown that development plans are very well designed, but problems arise during the implementation phase of the plans. The problems are almost the same in all cities participating in the program. We call on the EBRD, program funding institutions and the public to allocate more space to NGOs in similar programs so that they can make their voices heard. Experience has shown that the higher the level of transparency and participation, the better such programs are planned and implemented." so that the latter can make their voices heard. Experience has shown that the higher the level of transparency and participation, the better such programs are planned and implemented." so that the latter can make their voices heard. Experience has shown that the higher the level of transparency and participation, the better such programs are planned and implemented."


Victoria Burnazyan, vice president of "EcoLur" information NGO, presented the results of the studies carried out on Yerevan's "Green City" action plan.


He mentioned that 3 projects were financed within the framework of the EBRD "Green City" program. They are:

· 2017 - "HPP-Distribution Network Modernization" project, for which the EBRD provided an 80 million dollar loan. The total cost of the project is $200 million.

· 2021 - Investment program of "Armenian Electric Networks", for which EBRD provided a loan of 60 million dollars. The total value of the project is $148,400,000.00, including up to $20,000,000 in syndicated funds.

· 2021 - "Yerevan Bus Project", for which EBRD provided 20 million euros to Yerevan Municipality. The total cost of the project is 25 million euros.

Victoria Burnazyan referred to the mid-term targets for the "Atmospheric Air", "Energy", "Transport", "Waste" components and greening of Yerevan's "Green City" action plan and the actions and results aimed at achieving them.

Regarding the "atmospheric air" component, he mentioned: "During the last 5 years, atmospheric air pollution in Yerevan has increased due to the excesses of dust, nitrogen dioxide STC.

Development of Yerevan 2017-2022. in the implementation reports of the programs, there is no information about the integrated air pollution model of Yerevan, the interactive online map of air pollution, the mechanism of regular receipt of pollutant self-monitoring data, the creation of which is planned by the Yerevan "Green City" action plan.

Regarding the air quality in Yerevan, the Yerevan Municipality's observation that "air quality indicators are in the good or sufficient range" does not correspond to the data published by the RA General Prosecutor's Office and the RA Ministry of Environment "Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Center".

"Yerevan has not reached the mid-term targets specified in the "Atmospheric Air" component of the Yerevan "Green City" action plan," he said.

Turning to the "Energy" component, he mentioned a number of energy saving and energy efficiency improvement projects that were implemented and are being implemented in Yerevan. Although not all projects were implemented without obstacles, the results of the projects generally indicate that energy saving, as one of the main goals of the "Green City" project, is being implemented in Yerevan.

While presenting the "Waste" component, Victoria Burnazyan said that the capital city still does not have a new sanitary landfill in accordance with the EU standards provided for by Yerevan's "Green City" action plan, nor does it have a waste processing plant.

"Despite the fact that the Yerevan Municipality has initiated measures to sort and recycle garbage, these measures are not complex and do not cover the entire Yerevan area. A culture of garbage sorting has started to take shape in Yerevan," he said.

Regarding the "Transport" component, Victoria Burnazyan mentioned that there is still no unified electronic ticket system in Yerevan. Yerevan is importing new big buses, as a result of which the city transport rolling stock will be renewed by around 45 percent.

Steps are being taken towards the development of electronic transport. In the capital, traffic jams are still a problem. There are no suitable conditions or places for driving bicycles and electric scooters. Citizens drive on sidewalks and congested streets, causing accidents.

Turning to the issue of greening, Victoria Burnazyan mentioned. "Yerevan Municipality has not yet reached the target set by the "Green City" action plan to have more than 8.5 square meters of green space per inhabitant by 2022. Yerevan has lost a significant part of its green spaces. Today, there are not enough free spaces for large-scale planting. Forest lands are being developed, forest restoration in the capital is becoming impossible."

At the discussion, Nora Martirosyan, deputy director of Yerevan Development Investment Program Implementation Office, presented the investment programs implemented by Yerevan Municipality, Gorik Avetisyan, Acting Head of Environmental Protection Department of Yerevan Municipality, addressed environmental issues. A discussion then ensued.

Details follow.

source: https://www.ecolur.org/hy/news/air/14794/