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Training Workshop on Practical Application of SEA in Armenia, Strategic Environmental Assessment

The training workshop on practical application of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) in Armenia organized by the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus (RECC) in the framework of the EU funded Programme ‘Greening the Economies in the Eastern Neighborhood’ took place from 9-10 of March, in the Conference Hall of Ani Plaza Hotel, Yerevan.

The aims of the workshop were raising awareness and building capacities of various stakeholders, decision-makers, national experts on SEA procedure developed under the new national legislation, supporting implementation of the Pilot SEA of the ‘’Strategic Development Plan, Road Map and Long Term Investment Plan for the Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia’’ and providing the enhancement recommendations to the Law based on the provisions of the UNECE Protocol on SEA.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Khachik Hakobyan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection of RA, Mr. John Barker, International Aid/Cooperation Officer, EU delegation Armenia, Ms. Eleonora Grigoryan, Adviser to the Minister of Nature Protection of Armenia, Espoo Convention focal point, Ms. Elena Santer, EaP GREEN Project Manager, UNECE Secretariat, Ms. Nune Harutyunyan, National SEA Team Leader, Director REC Caucasus, Mr. Martin Smutny and Dr. Maia Gachechiladze-Bozhesku, International SEA Consultants to UNECE, Ms. Azganush Drnoyan, National Expert, Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia, national SEA experts, NGOs, international organizations, RECC representatives, etc.

The participants of the workshop got familiar with the SEA procedure as required by the national legislation and the Protocol on SEA; the roles and responsibilities envisioned under SEA for the national and local authorities as well as civil society; methodological aspects of strategic environmental assessment for plan and programmes and approaches to preparation of the SEA scoping report.

The workshop was delivered by the experts from the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia, national SEA experts, the UNECE SEA international consultants, and experts from the Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus Armenia National Office. The workshop deployed the format of interactive sessions with elements of practical case-based work.

UNECE international SEA expert Mr. Martin Smutni has introduced the Protocol on SEA and EaP GREEN Programme. The general obligation of the Protocol is to ensure that the necessary legislative, regulatory and other appropriate measures are taken to implement the provisions of the Protocol within a clear, transparent framework.

UNECE SEA Team Leader, REC Caucasus ED Ms. Nune Harutyunyan introduced the pilot UNECE SEA project for the Strategic Development Plan in Solid Waste Management Sector of Armenia and stakeholder expectations. The main objectives of the project were presented. Planned works in the frames of the project were also outlined, particularly, development of a concept to make the results of the project public and increasing the awareness about SEA procedure and its benefits, report of SEA to be developed by the SEA national and international experts.

UNECE international SEA experts Mr. Martin Smutny and Dr. Maria Gachechiladze-Bozhesku presented and facilitated a discussion for the scoping and baseline analysis in SEA.

They introduced

 the importance and the objective of the scoping report which is it provides preliminary analysis of

environmental and health conditions in the concerned area,

 identifies the key issues to be further addressed in SEA,

 outlines approach to further analysis,

 suggests early inputs into the planning process and presents a basis for preparation of the SEA Report.

The international experts also introduced the proposed structure of Scoping report. Preliminary results of the SEA baseline analysis of the Strategic Development Plan in Solid Waste Management Sector of Armenia were presented by the SEA national experts, in particular the key findings, main challenges and difficulties, as well as the scope for further SEA analyses was introduced by them.

A scoping exercise was carried out by Mr. Martin Smutny and Ms. Maya Gachechiladze – Bozhesku which was aimed at identifying the key environmental, social, and health issues to be addressed by SEA, identifying specific problems and concerns, areas of concern and geographic scope, likely linkages of environmental, social and health issues to the Strategic Development Plan and preparation of scoping matrix, data resources / limitations and stakeholders.