The World Bank team composed of Ulrich Bartsch, Senior Country Economist, Adriana Damianova, Lead Environmental Specialist, and Arusyak Alaverdyan, Operations Officer, met with representatives of the Special Commission of Parliament for Agriculture and Environmental Issues. The main topic of discussion was the adoption of a new Environmental Impact Assessment Law following the problems of the New Mining Code revealed last year, and the weak Environmental Impact Assessment Law, which lead to the discontent of environmental NGOs and the public at large.
A new draft law was initially negotiated and presented to the parliament, but later rejected by the president on the grounds of it being insufficiently robust in terms of sustainable and responsible exploitation of mining deposits. Currently, the EIA Law is being revised and the Bank has provided comments to the revised version. According to the Minister of Nature Protection, the revised version will be presented to the Parliament sometimes in the fall. Head of the Commission Martun Grigoryan noted that adoption of the Law is very important for the country. Since the revised version underwent major changes, when again presented in the Parliament it will need to pass three readings as a new law. However, Mr. Grigoryan assured the Bank team that the Commission will put in place all the efforts to have the Law passed as quickly as possible.