With a USD 10 million grant from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and USD 8.7 million in co-financing, the project stands to deliver long-term social, economic and environmental benefits, leveraging resources and expertise from multiple actors, including the Government of Armenia, the Austrian Development Agency, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano - Italy, the World Wildlife Fund Armenia, and FAO. The project goals will be realised by FAO jointly with the Environmental Project Implementation Unit under Armenia’s Ministry of Environment.
A wide array of state and non-state actors playing an active role in the country’s forest management and climate change initiatives gathered at the workshop, including representatives of the Ministries of Environment, Economy, Finance, and Territorial Administration and Infrastructure; the project funding agencies and implementing partners; civil society; academia; and the private sector, among others.
“Involving multiple actors is a key focus of the project. We are delighted that a diverse group of experts from relevant ministries, non-governmental organizations, research institutes, and international organizations were involved in various stages of this project – starting from the project design - to maximize the ownership at the national level,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in 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, snow storms, 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.