Linking and learning with human and environmental rights activists from South Caucasus and Central Asia

“Through information sharing, we are able to know basic understanding and potential impacts of a specific proposed project. It is also important to listen to the experiences of others to learn more about strategies and methods on improving our work.” — Umida Niyazova, Uzbek Forum for Human Rights

The idea of organizing the joint regional meeting came spontaneously during one of the regular calls with Shoira Olimova and Hayk Abrahamyan of the International Accountability Project, Medea Turashvilli, CRE Regional Facilitator of the Coalition for Human Rights in Development, and Nina Lesikhina, Community Support Coordinator of the CEE Bankwatch Network. As we discussed partnerships and solidarity work, it would be valuable to hear the best practices and lessons learned from the partners on community mobilization and advocacy strategies amidst large scale development projects in South Caucasus and Central Asia.

Participants from Armenia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan pose for a photo during the meeting and learning conversations in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Ani Khachatryan of the Armenian Environmental Front presenting the Save Amulsar Project.
Participants from Georgia gather in a group to discuss their experiences with regard to community strategies, campaign and advocacy, and lessons learned.
Anastasia Pavlenko’s presentation on the issues affecting Zarafshan National Nature Park in Uzbekistan and community-led responses and advocacies to save the national park.
  • Community should drive the change and development through awareness raising and community organizing;
  • Finding allies and supporters particularly among media, local government, political parties, and larger public is on of the key strategies that we can do;
  • Trust building in the process is essential where communities have full trust to all actors (activists, human rights defenders, journalists, experts) involved;
  • Synergizing and trustful collaboration among communities, activists, environmental defenders, and experts are needed to advance the community struggle;
  • Evidence based and consistent campaigning and advocacy are other important ingredients of success; and
  • Solidarity is contagious.

“We are all from different countries but we face similar problems. This underscores the need for a strengthened solidarity among us.” -Nazeli Vadanyan, Armenian lawyer and environmental activist

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IAP

IAP

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IAP is a human and environmental rights organization that works with communities, civil society and social movements to change how today’s development is done.