Azerbaijan's non-governmental organizations have made a statement to create a coalition in order to fight against Armenia's flagrant violation of environmental norms and standards in the mining industry.
APA presents the statement:
“We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations of Azerbaijan, express our deep concern that the economic activity in Armenia's mining industry, which is increasingly strengthened by grossly violating environmental norms and standards, is leading the entire South Caucasus region, which is home to over 15 million people, into disaster. In response, we would like to announce the creation of the coalition called "Environmental Protection First" (EPF) to unite efforts in the fight against it.
Expert inspections have uncovered that the toxic chemical waste from Armenia's mining ventures has inflicted significant harm on water resources and the environment along the border with Azerbaijan. These issues are equally as troubling as the challenges posed by mines and ruins in the newly liberated areas, obstructing the safe return and livelihood of the local population.
The absence of a response from Nikol Pashinyan to the concerns and questions raised in the Open Letter directed to the Prime Minister of Armenia by Azerbaijan's civil society (https://azertag.az/xeber/Ermenistan_Respublikasinin_dag_meden_senayesinin_Cenubi_Qafqaz_regionunda_ekoloji_sabitliyi_pozmasii_barede_Bas_nazir_Nikol_Pasinyana_achiq_mektub-2684983), the refusal to facilitate visits by international experts to Armenia for on-site assessments, and the disregard for appeals from foreign NGOs echoing similar concerns (https://apa.az/az/sosial/arazdeyende-metallurgiya-zavodunun-torede-bileceyi-ekoloji-felakete-etiraz-eden-beynelxalq-qht-lerin-sayi-artir-776817) collectively lead to the formation of this coalition.
The continuous monitoring of the processes in Armenia's mining industry through all legal means available and strengthening the fight against the violations will be the main task of the coalition.
We also hope for the help of a number of Armenian civil society organizations in this matter. Because these issues pose a serious threat and health risks to the population of Armenia as well. Regrettably, the protests raised by certain Armenian civil society organizations, which grasp this situation well, have been disregarded and suppressed by local authorities. We will serve as a voice for the suppressed Armenian civil society, advocating for the entire population of the South Caucasus. We additionally hope for robust support from the Georgian civil society in this endeavour.
Today, at a time when the world community is mobilizing for the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and working more diligently to solve environmental problems, Armenia's actions stand in stark contradiction to these activities.
The coalition initiates its activities by reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) records of foreign corporations engaged in Armenia's mining sector. We regret that our preliminary monitoring indicates these companies operating in Armenia are covering up these documents, which should be accessible to the public.
We urge both domestic and international companies involved in Armenia's mining sector to promptly publish the complete text of their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) documents on their official websites or make public announcements about them. We seek to get acquainted with these documents.
Within the framework of our activities, we intend to establish active communication and cooperation with the head offices of foreign companies working in Armenia, the relevant official institutions of the countries they belong to, as well as international organizations.
Our activities will be fully transparent and accountable, and we will provide regular updates to the public regarding the work we have done.
We invite all interested parties to partner and cooperate with EPF."
Amin Mammadov, "Experts in the Field of Water Use" Public Union
Parvana Valiyeva, "Saghlamliga Khidmat" Public Union
Sabit Bagirov, Entrepreneurship and Market Economy Development Foundation
Gamza Yusubova, “Environmental Education and Monitoring” Public Union