Event Armenia’s becoming a candidate member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Event Armenia’s becoming a candidate member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)

Today, an event dedicated to Armenia’s becoming a candidate member of Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The event was hosted by the Government of Armenia and supported by the US Agency for International Development-implemented “Enhanced transparency in the mining sector” program.

The event was attended by Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers, US and UK Ambassadors, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Armenia Mission Director, representatives of World Bank and other international organizations, representatives of civil society and extractive companies, were teleconferences by the Head of International Secretariat of the EITI Jonas Moberg and International Board Member in EITI Oleksiy Orlovsky.

“This is the beginning of a new process for Armenia, aimed at making one of the most important sectors of the economy, the mining sector more transparent, the activities of government agencies and mining companies - more accountable, and the citizens of Armenia – knowledgeable and well-informed. In full conformity with the Government’s open and transparent policy, this is an integral part of our reform efforts,” the Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan said.

According to Karen Karapetyan, mining is an important and complex sector, which straddles the expectations of the public, business community and the Government’s drive for sustainable development.

“What matters most for us is to find the right balance between transparent and effective management, attract new investments to ensure sustainable economic growth through the use of international best practices and standards,” the Premier said highlighting the formation of the EITI platform.

The Prime Minister said that the multi-interest group, which is headed by David Haroutunyan and involves the representatives of the Government, extractive companies and civil society, has fully complied with the proposed task within a year resulting in Armenia’s being granted the status of candidate-member country.

“At the same time, I think that EITI membership is a means and not an ultimate goal. It is necessary to proceed to the next stage, the results of which should be visible by all citizens. The problem specifically consists in achieving high-level financial transparency in Armenia’s mining industry, along with an EITI standard-compliant report and widely accessible comprehensive information for the coming year and a half. In the long run, the platform can serve as the potential to promote international best practices and reinforce the idea of responsible mining industry in Armenia,” Karen Karapetyan said.

The Premier availed himself of the opportunity to thank the international partners for assistance and readiness for continued cooperation.

Armenia’s Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Armenian EITI Multi-stakeholder group David Haroutunyan stressed that the introduction of the EITI standard will help build up a broader institutional basis for the promotion of citizens’ freedom of information as stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, which states that the subsoil is a State ownership.

“As a member of the multi-interest group, I can attest that an entirely new and unprecedented collective management culture is being introduced in Armenia. As we have achieved our objective of EITI membership, we can now move to the project implementation stage. From now on, my only advice would be to abide by a single goal – enhance transparency and accountability in the mining sector,” David Harutyunyan noticed.

In his speech, US Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills congratulated our country on becoming an EITI candidate-member country. “However, what matters most is not the EITI membership, but the commitment assumed by the government, civil society and mining enterprises to combine efforts with a view to promoting transparency and developing environmentally clean, responsible and sustainable mining industry.”

Congratulatory speeches were also delivered by UK Ambassador to Armenia Mrs. Judith Margareth Farnworth and World Bank External Relations Senior Officer Vigen Sargsyan. Armenia’s international partners reiterated their willingness to continue supporting the process of EITI introduction in Armenia.