Joint statement of the members of the Public Council attached to the Minister of Environment

The Public Council attached to the RA Minister of Environment:
•  Being aware of the environmental issues arising from Sevan Startup Summit 2021 event,
• Guided by RA legal norms and professional analysis,
• as well as taking into consideration the clarifications and counter arguments of  Startup Armenia Foundation,
positively assesses the imposition of restrictions by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia on the implementation of the event, moreover, upon recommendations  of the Council members, a complete ban on the event in the mentioned place would be a completely legitimate reasoned decision.
The proposal of the RA Ministry of Environment  to provide another place for holding the event is also welcomed, which was unfortunately rejected.
As it is known, “Norashen” reserve of “Sevan” NP was established with the objective to ensure the normal lifestyle and reproduction of birds on the peninsulas adjacent to the area, remarkably of the  Armenian gull, as the only endemic bird nesting in the Armenian highlands, and “Norashen” sanctuary nearby the reserve was created  to ensure natural conditions for the rest and the lifestyle of the birds regularly met during the migration and for migratory guest birds. Therefore, the organization of such an event in “Norashen” reserve with such a large number of participants and various light and sound signals not only disrupts the natural living conditions of the mentioned birds, but also contradicts the RA Law on “Specially Protected Areas of Nature”,  N 927-N and N 205-N decrees (May 30, 2002, January 18, 2007) of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, and upon the recommendations  of the members of the Council, the legal norms of the Republic of Armenia are equal for everyone.
The 1st paragraph of Article 18 of the RA Law on “Specially Protected Areas of Nature” stipulates: "In the Republic of Armenia, any activity is prohibited in the territory of the state sanctuary, which violates the stability of the sanctuary ecosystems or threatens the protection of ecosystems demanding special protection, representatives of flora and fauna, objects of scientific or historical and cultural value."
The National Academy of Sciences of Armenia stated its position on the issue, remarkably, the head of the laboratory of vertebrates of the Scientific Center of Zoology, Hydroecology of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote in 2020: " It is notably  significant to take into consideration that due to the lake's water level increase,  partial floods of two peninsulas take place , which are the main habitat of the Armenian gull. As a result, the area suitable for building nests is reduced, which forces the gull to nest on the lakes adjacent to the islands. Nesting off the island causes the destruction of eggs due to visitors, wild animals and pets, and the Armenian gull is a Red Book-listed species.
Taking into account the above-mentioned circumstances, the members of the Council propose to give a legal assessment to the previous permits for "Sevan Startup Summit" event to be held in "Norashen" sanctuary from 2016. Additionally, the members of the Council urge the protection service of "Sevan" National Park to be more watchful, prohibiting the entry of organizations that organize wedding ceremonies and video/photo production companies.


 Members of the Public Council attached to the RA Minister of Environment:
Mariam Tashchyan, "" environmental informative website
Vahe Salahyan, "Eco Waste" environmental NGO
Arevik Hovsepyan, "National Water Cooperation" NGO
Inga Zarafyan, Victoria Burnazyan - "EcoLur" Information NGO
Oleg Dulgaryan, Community Consolidation and Support Center NGO
Gayane Nersisyan, Candidate of Biological Sciences , Lecturer at International Scientific-Educational Center of NAS RA
 Nazeli Vardanyan, "Forests of Armenia" NGO
Ruben Khachatryan, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC)