Salaries have been significantly increased in the " Environmental Impact Assessment Center" SNCO of the MoE, new staff of experts have been added, a new draft law on the EIA expertise is being comprehensively developed.
The Minister of Environment Romanos Petrosyan paid a working visit to the "Environmental Impact Assessment Center" SNCO.
The Minister held a meeting-discussion with the staff of the SNCO on the Environmental Impact Assessment, the draft amendment to the RA Law on Expertise, the reforms launched at the EIA Institute, its status, and the course of activities.
The establishment of the EIA institute is one of the primary and most important tasks of the Ministry of Environment, today we can confidently say that the first steps have already been taken.
Progress in the direction of the activities of the SNCO and the improvement of the working conditions of the staff is obvious. A notable progress is also the fact that this year the government allocated an additional 10,541.7 thousand drams from the reserve fund of the state budget for salaries and expenses for the maintenance of the SNCO.
The total budget of the SNCO in the annual context amounted to 56003.5 thousand drams, as a result of which the Staffing was replenished, salaries were increased by 30-40%, the SNCO was replenished with a car with which experts visit the territories under examination, new equipment and property were purchased.
It is planned to digitize more than 20 years of activity archive. During digitization, temporary staff will also be in the center.
Work has been going on for a long time on the draft amendment to the RA Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise, involving international experts, taking into account international experience in this field, ensuring the transparency of the environmental impact assessment process, and bringing legislation in line with international legal standards.
The new law clarifies the status of the expert, as well as the procedure for licensing the EIA project developer, which was a very big omission.
The acting director of the "Environmental Impact Assessment Center" SNCO presented a brief report on the work done from January 2021 to October.
During his meetings, the Minister has repeatedly noted that there are serious concerns and mistrust among the public about the EIA, the expert and the expertise, which, of course, had its grounds. Today, with good work, those concerns should be eliminated.
There are also positive developments in this direction.
From January 2021 to the present day, applications for a preliminary assessment of 258 planned activities and basic documents and evaluation reports have been submitted for examination.
In accordance with the established procedure, technical specifications were issued for 110 applications for activities. Expert opinions on 193 activities were issued and 12 negative conclusions were given on activities in various fields. Previously, negative conclusions were not given at all, or 3-4 cases per year.
"The ultimate goal of all this is to improve the quality of services, to act exclusively within the limits of competences and authority in the name of the Republic of Armenia and its citizen," said the Minister.
At the end of the meeting, Minister Petrosyan reminded his colleagues about vaccination against the COVID-19 epidemic. Most of the SNCO staff has already been vaccinated.