The Sustainable Development Goals in Armenia
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Armenia:
02 May 2023
FAO and Ministry of Environment of Armenia Host a Two-day Training on Forest and Landscape Restoration in Armenia
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Environmental Project Implementation Unit (EPIU) of the Ministry of Environment of Armenia have successfully co-executed a two-day training on forest and landscape restoration. The training was organized as part of the "Forest resilience of Armenia, enhancing adaptation and rural green growth via mitigation" project. The project is co-funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Government of Armenia, the Austrian Development Agency, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - Italy, and the World Wildlife Fund Armenia. The specific objectives of this two-day training were to introduce the concept, methodologies, and practices related to Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR), and to complement the theoretical thinking behind FLR with successful examples and best practices. Representatives of the Forest Committee of the Ministry of Environment of Armenia, “Hayantar” SNPO, civil society organizations and academia participated in the training. Norbert Winkler-Rathonyi, FAO Project Lead Technical Officer, said: “The dependency of people in rural areas of Armenia on forests for energy and livelihood (i.e., beekeeping, non-wood forest products and fodder) requires new approaches that take account of the people’s needs when planning and implementing afforestation or other restoration activities. FAO’s project uses the new Forest and Landscape Restoration approach that helps Armenia to restore degraded landscapes by implementing practices that aim to balance the ecological, social and economic benefits of forests and trees for the people of Armenia.” Pedro Pajares, FAO International Consultant, led the working sessions that focused on a wide range of aspects related to enhancing forest resilience. Participants were provided with detailed information and insights about the principles, cost, financing opportunities and monitoring of forest and landscape restoration. The training continued with discussing effective field restoration interventions. The working session covered topics like species selection, planting design, soil preparation, and post-planting interventions. The training was a success, and the participants expressed their satisfaction with the knowledge and practical skills they acquired during the two-day event. ‘Forest Resilience of Armenia’ project The project entitled ‘Forest resilience of Armenia, enhancing adaptation and rural green growth via mitigation’ is implemented by FAO and the Environmental Project Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Environment of Armenia. The project is co-funded by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Government of Armenia, the Austrian Development Agency, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - Italy, and the World Wildlife Fund Armenia. Armenia is highly vulnerable to climate change. The World Bank reports a clear increase in the annual number of extreme weather events (such as hurricanes, snowstorms, and heat waves) data in recent decades. Current climate trends and projections for the country indicate future elevated average temperatures, precipitation and river-flow decreases, and snow cover reduction. At the same time, the population depends heavily on fuelwood, which puts forests that are sensitive to climate change under further stress. This eight-year forestry project aims to increase forest cover in Armenia by 2.5 percent, and to reduce the fuelwood demand of rural communities by at least 30 percent. The project also works to increase the role of communities governing and managing natural resources, and to improve fuelwood management as well as the production of wood and non-wood forest products and services. Two regions – Lori in the north, and Syunik in the south – are targeted. They were selected based on forest types, population density, local poverty levels, and exposure to climate change, in addition to the potential impact on important forest ecosystems. The project represents a relatively new approach to sustainable forest management in Armenia, with the potential to act as a model for the entire country and to produce a paradigm shift towards low-emission development.
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03 May 2023
UNHCR and The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (Sanremo Institute) strengthen the capacity of partners engaged in the reduction and prevention of statelessness in Armenia
In the framework of UNHCR’s #IBELONG campaign, a ten-year (2014-2024) global initiative highlighting the importance of eradicating statelessness, UNHCR cooperates with and strengthens the capacity of State partners, legal experts, the civil society and academia engaged in the statelessness. The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (Sanremo Institute) is one of UNHCR’s longstanding international partners providing courses on human rights, including refugee law and statelessness, to UNHCR’s partners worldwide. UNHCR has recently supported the participation of five colleagues from Armenia, representing the Migration and Citizenship Service (MCS), “Mission Armenia” NGO and the Legal Clinic of the Law Faculty of the Yerevan State University (YSU) in the two, Russian and English online Courses on Statelessness of the Department of International Refugee Law and Migration Law of the Sanremo Institute. “It was a well-tailored and constructive educational course where we acquired in-depth knowledge and practical skills. The case studies and following discussions allowed the participants to understand the causes and the circumstances of the occurrence of statelessness and share effective international experience in the prevention, reduction and eradication of statelessness”, said the Head of the Legal Unit of the Passport and Visa Department of the MCS, Ms. Irina Mkrtchyan. The Courses analyze the international legal framework related to nationality and the development of national legislation governing the rights of stateless persons. They also vividly showcase the causes and negative impacts of the lack of citizenship and explain the interrelation between statelessness and forced displacement, as well as give an overview of stateless populations in different parts of the world. “I was really inspired by the Course. The theme of statelessness has brought together people from many countries, lawyers and experts eager to know more to help resolve the plight of stateless people”, said Ms. Knarik Vardanyan, the Head of the Legal Clinic of the Law Faculty of the YSU. “The participants shared their good practices, learned about different mechanisms and practical methods of addressing statelessness in a smooth and effective way. We also acquired lots of interesting updates from UNHCR colleagues who told us about the #IBELONG campaign to end statelessness”, she added. It is rewarding for the UNHCR Representation in Armenia to know that a group of its partners, along with participants from all around the world, have benefited from the online Courses during March-April 2023. As expressed by the participants, they received crucial knowledge on statelessness and exchanged experiences and best practices in the prevention and reduction of statelessness. *** Learn more at: UNHCR and The International Institute of Humanitarian Law (Sanremo Institute) strengthen the capacity of partners engaged in the reduction and prevention of statelessness in Armenia - Armenia | ReliefWeb
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28 March 2023
Strengthening education in Goris with the support of Argentina
On 23 March, UNICEF Representative in Armenia Christine Weigand and Ambassador of Argentina Mariano Vergara visited Syunik region to visit a number of programmes implemented with the support of Hayastan All Armenian Fund in Argentina. They were joined by Zaruhi Aznauryan, Head of Programmes at Hayastan All Armenian Fund, Leonardo Moumjian, reporter and representative of the Armenian community in Argentina and Margarita Piliposyan, Deputy Director of Fund for Armenian Relief. Together they visited Goris school #2, where UNICEF had provided school furniture for classrooms, the school library and the rehabilitation room for students with disabilities, in total benefiting nearly 400 students. This was one of the total of five schools receiving such support through the programme. A meeting was held with Arush Arushanyan, Mayor of Goris and Irina Yolyan, Deputy Mayor of Goris where parties discussed progress in programmes implemented in Syunik with the support of Argentina, as well as the humanitarian situation and needs for children and families. “Despite the distance, Armenians in Argentina are very connected to their ancestral country and concerned about the ongoing situation, affecting so many families. Argentina is ready to support to improve the situation of children and their families, and today I saw the results we have been able to achieve in a number of areas,” noted Mariano Vergara, Ambassador of Argentina to Armenia. The delegation also visited Goris kindergarten #5, attended by 120 children 3-5 ages, which was renovated by UNICEF in partnership with Goris Mayor’s office and FAR. The kindergarten had not been renovated in over 50 years, and had a leaking roof, making it unsafe for the development of children. As part of the renovation, the building now has a new heating system, sewage system, boiler house upgrade, renovated four group rooms, hallways, event hall, canteen, food storage, and a new roof. As a result, the kindergarten was able to open doors to a new group of children, reaching 150. The delegation also visited the old culture and arts building of Verishen village where UNICEF will work with partners to renovate and establish a youth center, supporting civic activism and non-formal learning for adolescents in Verishen and Goris community. “The support from the Armenian community of Argentina enabled UNICEF to scale up our programmes in Syunik region, benefiting various age groups of children. This year, with their support, we will also work in Shirak region to establish a youth center in Artik and renovate the child and family support center in Gyumri in partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs,” informed Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia.
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17 March 2023
EU4Environment introduces the Product Environmental Footprint methodology in Armenia
Resource scarcity and the need for sustainable practices are key issues in the transition towards a green and Circular Economy. For this reason, under the European Union (EU) funded, EU4Environment programme, UNIDO is helping industries in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region become greener by introducing practices related to Circular Economy and Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP). Concretely, on 13 March 2023, a hybrid event took place in Armenia’s capital to introduce the potential impact of the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology in Armenian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The methodology, part of the EU Single Market for Green Products (SMGP) initiative, has emerged as a valuable tool in recent years, as it measures the environmental impact of a product across its entire lifecycle (from production to disposal). By using PEF to assess products, SMEs can identify ways to improve resource efficiency, reduce waste, and minimize environmental harm. PEF is also a crucial component in the drive towards a more sustainable future, as producers and consumers become increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of products and manufacturing practices. "On behalf of the Ministry of Environment, I would like to emphasize that the engagement with SMEs and the business community is crucial in the shift towards a green economy. Whereas the Government can provide support and help exchange experiences, the green transition depends on the ability of Armenian enterprises to seek and utilize the opportunities available at hand. Such an opportunity is embracing a green mindset when it comes to production. Here, Armenia is already piloting several novel concepts which are also resource efficient,” said Ms. Gayane Gabrielyan, Deputy Minister of Environment, Republic of Armenia. Gathering over 50 participants, the event was packed with presentations and discussions with experts in the field and provided a comprehensive understanding of the concept of PEF and that of environmentally friendly products. "The introduction of the EU SMGP initiative is a crucial component in our efforts to embrace a green economy, as we firmly believe that its success depends on the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders. As Government representatives, we are committed to working together with the private sector and creating a regulatory framework and level playing field for all producers. In this sense, today’s event is an important way to provide information and a platform for discussion and collaboration,” said Mr. Alik Sargsyan, Head of EU Programmes Division, Department of EU Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Economy, Republic of Armenia. The three major topics that marked the event revolved around the applicability of green product instruments to support sustainable economic growth, the EU policy landscape on green products (with a focus on the EU SMGP, PEF and the EU Green Deal), and ways to apply PEF at the company level (by looking at preliminary assessments on green products initiatives in Armenia, existing eco-labelling practices, and the relevant legislative background). "When it comes to promoting green production, we have come a long way both within the European Union and outside it. The EU has high ambitions when it comes to green, sustainable development, and tools such as the EU Green Deal will help transform the economy into a modern, competitive, and resource-efficient one, while decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and leaving no one behind. In this sense, we appreciate our cooperation with UNIDO in the country as well as in the EaP region to promote sustainable economic growth,” said Mr. Frank Hess, Head of Cooperation Section, EU Delegation to Armenia. Within the EU4Environment Action, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is introducing the EU SMGP and PEF methodology in the EaP region, including Armenia, where it is supported by Civitta (a consultancy firm with extensive experience in environmental and sustainability projects). "While remembering the results of a previous regional programme on resource efficiency, EaP GREEN, we are grateful to the Government of Armenia for being receptive and results-oriented in both programmes. Resource efficiency is a core aspect in developing industries as it orients them towards the benefits of becoming greener. From theory to practice, as the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) methodology encourages circularity, today, we also have a first attempt to speak about green products, starting with their very design. Here, we bring forth the opportunities of the EU SMGP and encourage SMEs to become pioneers in the Armenian market by looking at their environmental footprint and by greening their supply chains. We also work to bring this notion closer to stakeholders and industries to boost inclusive and sustainable industrial development,” said Ms. Tatiana Chernyavskaya, EU4Environment Project Manager, UNIDO.
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14 March 2023
International Women's Rights Day Marked at Byurakan Observatory
We celebrated the International Women's Rights Day at the Byurakan community, where 13 young girls from all the provinces of Armenia told more than 50 young people gathered at the Byurakan observatory about their "flight to the stars" and their dreams. Successfully taking first steps in the fields of technology and innovation, these young women participated in an International Women's Day event to inspire their peers with their stories. Representatives of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Armenia, UNFPA, UNHCR, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of High-Tech Industry, the Aragatsotn Governor’s Office, EU partners, representatives of the Human Rights Defender's Office, The Body Shop, Safe You, WomenNet, Byurakan observatory, non-governmental organizations and other guests were also present at the event. Welcoming the attendees, Tsovinar Harutyunyan, UNFPA Armenia Head of Office, told the background of March 8 and the great contribution of women, including of our own nation, in the field of science and technology. "Gender equality and women empowerment is not just the right thing to do but also is the smart thing to do. The United Nations absolutely supports this, and we are sure that with every year that goes by we will see progress increasing involvement of women in digital technology," said Niels Scott, acting UN Resident Coordinator in Armenia. RA Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Tatevik Stepanyan, addressing the girls, called on each of us to be brave in our place on our “flight to the stars” today. "Let's never have the fear that we do something worse than the other sex, that we have much bigger obstacles than men... everything is in our hands," said Ms. Stepanyan. Areg Mikayelyan, Director of the Byurakan observatory, talked about famous Armenian female astronomers: Elma Parsamyan, who discovered Karahunj, Alenoush Terian, who is called the mother of Iranian astronomy, Paris Pishmish, who is considered the founder of modern astronomy in Mexico. Mr. Mikayelyan, on behalf of the observatory, expressed his willingness to support and guide the girls if they show interest in the field of astronomy. The speakers mainly represented the fields of science and mathematics, and some also proposed innovative technological solutions to bring positive changes in their community and province. They told stories one more interesting and inspiring than the other. "Never give up no matter what happens, always have your dream in front of you and move forward, you are the one who paves your way," said one of the 13 speakers, 22-year-old Varditer Beglaryan, from the Metsamor community of Armavir region, nuclear reactor physicist and Mari Curie scholarship recipient. Anahit Jilikyan, a nineteen-year-old resident of Vanadzor, advised the girls never to give up, because science loves failures, and every failure is a new discovery in itself, anyone who chooses science should know. "If someone has done it, you can too, if no one else has done it, you will be the first." Before the event, the young people visited Viktor Hambardzumyan's house museum and the largest telescope of the observatory. And at the end of the event, the speakers received awards from the institutions and organizations present. They also became ambassadors of Ne, the symbol of the Girl Child. All the participants of the event received one copy of the book "50 women with disabilities who changed the world". The event was held under the theme of the 2023 Women's Rights Day, "Innovation and Technologies for Gender Equality", declared by the UN. The goal was once again to value and emphasize the important role of young girls in the field of technology and innovation, to inspire teenagers and young people to take their confident steps and choose a profession by the example of young girls who have successfully taken the first steps in these directions. The event was initiated by UNFPA Armenia, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and the Aragatsotn Governor's Office and implemented in cooperation with "Feminno" within the framework of the "Addressing Gender-Biased Sex Selection and Related Harmful Practices in the South Caucasus: Support to Regional, National and South-South Interventions" project implemented by UNFPA. The project is financed by the European Union and UNFPA.
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26 May 2023
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