STEPANAKERT—Artsakh and Armenia are collaborating on a joint initiative to launch a network of “eco-villages” throughout Artsakh.
The project, entitled “Ekhokhndzoristan,” will be implemented in the villages of Khndzoristan, Patara and Astghashen, according to Arsen Gasparyan, the president of the Association for Young Biologists.
At a news conference on Monday, the environmentalist described the initiative as an awareness-raising campaign aimed at involving community efforts in future joint activities. He said that it is also an attempt to develop eco- and agro-tourism, as well as organic agriculture and waste management technologies in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The agricultural produce has to be without chemical poisons here, and we will try to ensure lighting through solar energy. We must make waste processing possible right on the ground and try to boost the development of living standards in Artsakh to prevent people from leaving,” he said, further stressing the importance of creating alternative sources of income.
Gasparyan said the projects are now almost ready, with only financial issues waiting to be resolved. “You know we cannot obtain money from other countries when we deal with Artsakh, but we will organize fund-raising,” he promised.
Gasparyan said they need a total of $80,000-$100,000 to realize the project. “We are not going to build new constructions; we’ll try to do everything based on what we have to make the model applicable also to villages. Over 20 NGOs from Armenia and Artsakh and 70 individuals have joined the project for now,” the environmentalist noted.
Susanna Petrosyan, the president of Artsakh Development Center, said the country’s government is willing to assist in the initiative. “We met with the Nagorno-Karabakh prime minister. He hailed the project and said that they will offer the best possible assistance. We expect to launch the project starting from October, and the more volunteers and organizations they offer, the more they will be of help to us,” she noted.