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2.1 Legal and Regulatory Framework
The main legislative framework for environmental management relevant to the RESCAD Project are the Law on Principles of Environmental Protection (1991) and the Law on Environmental Expertise (1995). The latter law is currently being revised to provide a more comprehensive environmental expertise law and to bring it in line with western environmental review laws. It is currently (January 2005) in its third draft and is known as the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Environmental Review (Environmental Expertise). [It is important that the reader ensure that when referring to any law in the following that the most updated version of that law is referenced].
Law on Environmental Principles, the Green Constitution (1991)
The Law establishes the obligation of the State to care for the environment, prescribes the institutional framework for environmental management, and sets out the principles, approaches and instruments for environmental protection. The Law has a minimum normative value and has been used as an environmental policy document.
The aims of nature protection are:
Law on Ecological Expertise (1995)
The current and existing Law establishes a framework to define impacts of intended activities on environment, assess feasible alternatives, minimize negative consequences and ensure public involvement. It contains a list of activities subjected to the expertise process. The State Agency for Environmental Expertise, within the Ministry of Nature Protection (MoNP), is responsible for carrying out the relevant procedures.
The main aim of the expertise is to foresee, prevent and minimize the negative impacts of planning activity for human health, environment, economic and social development.
The tasks of the expertise include:
The list of activities (relevant to the RESCAD Project) which require expertise include:
The expertise must forecast, describe and assess the:
Other relevant laws
Annex A sets out the main provisions of the laws mentioned above as well as other relevant regulatory instruments.
2.2 Regional and International Cooperation
Environmental cooperation occurs by means of implementing general international treaties and conventions as well as participating in regional processes and cooperating with various states or organizations. Regional trans-boundary issues are of a particular importance and several issues related to trans-boundary water are at stake, including those related to water use and pollution.
Armenia has been involved in a several activities under the “Environment for Europe” process, and particular focus is placed on the Environment Strategy for 12 States of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia which will create grounds for cooperation with countries of the European region to be targeted at addressing the most urgent environmental issues for these States.
Armenia is signatory to the CIS Agreement on Cooperation in Environment and Ecology and within this framework the country has ratified agreements on cooperation in environmental monitoring along with other activities.
Cooperation in the South Caucasus Region occurs through participation in regional projects, of which there are several, and the signing of bilateral and multilateral specific or comprehensive environmental treaties. Of particular interest the RESCAD Project are the “Reducing Trans-boundary Degradation of the Kura-Arax River project; the drafting of legal documentation for the protection of mountain ecosystems of he Caucasus; and, the development of a Cooperation Program for Sustainable Development n the South Caucasus.
Armenia has a number of bilateral agreements and a variety of environmental issues but within the region these are limited to agreements with Georgia, Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Armenia is signatory to the following multilateral environmental agreements: