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Center for Community Mobilization and Support

The Center for Community Mobilization and Support (CCMS) is a grassroots Non-governmental organization (NGO) established in 2009 in the Lori region, in Armenia. The organization was founded by activists from ten different villages, in order to promote democratic principles of civic participation in decision-making processes and infrastructure development.

CCMS is active on issues such as environmental protection, public health, human rights, youth empowerment and socio-economic development. The Center’s activities include formal and informal educational initiatives, civic engagement, and support of civic projects. Through their work and their collaboration with other national and international NGOs, CCMS not only addresses pressing environmental and civic issues, but also lays a foundation for a more active and resilient civil society in Armenia.

As a results of its efforts over the years, CCMS has managed to stop several harmful investments and prevent private companies from opening 20 new mining sites in the Lori, Tavush, Kotayk, Vayots Dzor, and Syunik regions that would have had serious human rights impacts. In 2015, CCMS, together with its partners and local residents, led the campaign S.O.S. Metz Ayrum, to stop the construction of a second tailing dam in the Lori region. A private company was planning to store waste water resulting from mining activities, despite the fact that this would have further polluted the territory and posed serious risks for the health of the local people. Thanks to this locally-led campaign, the construction was halted.

CCMS also carries out research activities to study the presence of heavy metals and other toxic substances in the core mining regions of Armenia - Lori, Kotayk, Aragatsotn, and Ararat. These efforts have laid the groundwork for informed advocacy and effective community-led actions, allowing for systemic and sustainable change to the country’s environmental policy and health standards. For example, these studies set a precedent when, in 2021, around 70 residents of Tumanyan, in the Lori region, decided to protect their right to a healthy and clean environment by suing a mining company. This case remains ongoing.

Armenia's economy is heavily dependent on the mining sector, which provides valuable resources and employment opportunities. However, ineffective regulation, and a lack of adequate mitigation measures has led to the release of toxic heavy metals into the ecosystem. CCMS's work to oppose the opening of new mines, as well as it’s research on environmental issues, has been the subject of numerous attacks in recent years, including defamation campaigns in media and Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) from mining companies. CCMS views these attacks as an attempt to silence them and prevent them from doing their work. Despite these attacks, CCMS aims to continue working with local communities for the betterment of the environment, and plans to open a school of activism for the local community leaders.