Experts to Assess Armenia’s Socio-Economic Policy Choices

The American University of Armenia will host a discussion

YEREVAN—National and international experts will gather in Armenia’s capital on November 30 for a one-day conference examining mining and socio-economic policy in Armenia.

Organized by the American University of Armenia, the event aims to assess the choices available to the country as it seeks to balance economic gains with environmental and public health. The conference will be live-streamed online at http://aua.am/mining from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Armenia Time). Videos from the conference will be available following the event at http://aua.am/mining

“Over the past decade, the Armenian government has made mining a priority for Armenia’s economic growth. However, no serious public debate has occurred to examine policy choices available to Armenia regarding mining,” said Alen Amirkhanian, of AUA’s College of Science and Engineering. “With this conference, we hope to begin this critical public discourse, bringing together experts from across the world to present their analyses and discuss socio-economic policy choices available to Armenia.”

The keynote speaker of the conference, Dr. Saleem Ali, is the director of the Center for Social Responsibility in Mining at the University of Queensland, Australia. Ali will talk about the international experience of using mining as a tool for socio-economic development. He will also address the pitfalls that countries like Armenia should avoid.

Three panel discussions will enable national and international experts to discuss the socio-economic impact of mining in Armenia. The first panel will examine whether mining can play a key role in Armenia’s economic growth, while the second panel will focus on mining’s impact on Armenia’s environmental and public health. The event’s last panel will explore whether Armenia’s legal and institutional framework on mining fosters socio-economic development.

These issues will be discussed against the larger backdrop of a growing unease both inside and outside Armenia on mining’s potential benefits and risks to the country’s social and economic development, as well as to the preservation of its natural and environmental resources.

Thus far, the social, environmental, and health concerns have been overshadowed by the more practical argument that Armenia does not have many choices and mining will be the growth engine of its emerging economy. In the past two decades, however, there have been many constructive developments in the international arena around mining. The industry as a whole has improved its practices, while international organizations and governments have adopted standards for environmentally cleaner and socially more equitable mining.

“Such constructive developments are almost always spurred by good public policy and grassroots pressure,” explained Amirkhanian. “These global developments set standards from which re-emerging economies like Armenia can learn.”

The AUA conference aims to serve as a model for constructive and high-impact public policy debates in Armenia. The day-long event is open to the public.

The American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia.  Founded in 1991, AUA is affiliated with the University of California.  Through teaching, research, and public service, AUA serves Armenia and the region by supplying high-quality, graduate and undergraduate education, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting democratic values.

The AUA is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001.

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