On 11 March, 35 Yerevan residents assembled at the American University of Armenia (AUA) for a Deliberative Mini Public (DMP), a forum to hear from experts, reflect, and deliberate on urban transportation policy choices for Yerevan, especially in the context of climate change.
The Yerevan DMP was the last in the series of similar events held in London, Berlin, Dublin, and Warsaw over the past three months, and was organized by PERITIA partners, the AUA Acopian Center for the Environment, University College Dublin, Sense about Science, and The Policy Institute at King’s College London.
Co-chaired by PERITIA team members, the AUA Acopian Center public-participation specialist Sonya Msryan and director Alen Amirkhanian, the Yerevan DMP featured talks by climate change and urban transportation specialists, including a scientific expert, a journalist, and a civil-society representative.
Astghine Pasoyan, AUA faculty member and head of the Energy Savings Foundation, spoke about climate change and the role of the transportation sector on carbon emissions, highlighting concepts and directions for sustainable mobility that would mitigate the sector’s negative impacts. Urbanista journalist Anahit Minasyan presented several cases of sustainable mobility solutions from around the world that address transportation challenges similar to those Yerevan faces. Hayk Zalibekyan, an architect and a civil society representative, discussed transportation infrastructure solutions viable for Yerevan, introducing the benefits and drawbacks of each option.
“A DMP or a Citizen Forum is a tool used to deepen skills and increase trust in democratic decision making,” explained Msryan. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time such a process has been undertaken in Armenia. We are moved by how deeply the participants appreciated the opportunity to understand and weigh into questions of both local and global significance. They felt included and empowered,” she added.
Researchers organising the DMP will assess the effect of such deliberations and meetings with experts to determine if and how they improve trust in experts and policymakers working within the sphere of climate change and public transportation. The findings from the Yerevan DMP will also be conveyed to the Yerevan Municipality.
This is an abridged version of an article that originally appeared on the AUA Newsroom webpage.