Disfavor or Contract Breach?: Environmental office in Gyumri is in trouble with governor

The activity of Aarhus Environmental Center in Gyumri has been temporarily terminated, and according to its director, the reason is that the center found itself at odds with the city municipality.

Gevorg Petrosyan, who has been heading the center since 2007 when it was founded told ArmeniaNow that last year the center reported that the Shirak province governor was engaged in illegal logging, carried out in the green space of Gyumri. The center also reported illegal constructions.

The center was closed by the decision of Shirak province governor Lida Nanyan last week grounding that the center’s coordinator Petrosyan’s contract is expired. Meanwhile as Petrosyan was told, Shirak’s regional governor's office is responsible for the property of the center and takes possession until a new contract is signed.

The center was founded based on a mutual understanding memorandum signed by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Yerevan Office, Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia, and Sirak governor’s office.

Petrosyan told ArmeniaNow that during the same period last year the governor’s office delayed renewing the center’s contract and that he worked two months without a contract.

The center has also brought a court claim against construction of a water line in Artik, which was given a license without receiving a proper environmental impact survey.

“Currently the governor takes revenge on the Gyumri Aarhus Center for doing its work properly and conscientiously,” Petrosyan says.

OSCE Yerevan Office told ArmeniaNow that a new contract will be signed with the coordinator of the center, and that it will continue running. Whereas, the press officer of Shirak governor said that he had no information about the closure of the center, and the head of the governor’s staff was not answering our phone calls.