On September 12 Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, and Artsvik Minasyan, RA Minister of Nature Protection, signed a document to take action on “Addressing climate change impact through enhanced capacity for wildfires management in Armenia” project, funded by the Russian Federation. Ivan Volynkin, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Armenia was also present at the signing ceremony. The officers of the RA Ministry of Emergency Situations and Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia, the representatives of international and non-governmental organizations were invited to the event. The budget of the three-year project is USD 1 million.
Welcoming the guests, the RA Minister of Nature Protection stressed in his speech “This is to certify that the climate change mitigation status unites everyone. Wildfires detected in our forest areas, region and globally unified international efforts to combat similar disasters. With reference to this, it is absolutely expected, that at present preservation of grasslands and biodiversity is of great importance for us, which is first of all one of the pivotal priorities for our government, by laying a foundation for technical assistance”.
Extending a vote of thanks to the Russian Federation for the help and UNDP for the efficient performance of this and other environmental projects, RA Minister of Nature Protection Artsvik Minasyan came up with key proposals of the project.
The initiative is focused on improving and enforcing relevant policy and regulatory frameworks, strengthening the forest fire early warning and monitoring systems, as well as fine-tuning the roles and responsibilities of relevant structures to execute their mandates. The project will also provide stakeholders at national and regional levels with modern equipment and technologies, such as machinery for digging deep buffer trenches between affected and unaffected forests and grasslands, backpack pumps and fire swatters suitable for extinguishing and smothering surface fires, and protective fire-fighting uniforms to improve the health and safety of fire fighters. Alternative entrepreneurship and innovation based activities for the prevention and mitigation of wildfire risks will also be supported and encouraged by the project.
Artsvik Minasyan notably attributed importance to innovative approaches to detecting forest fire early warning and implementing firefighting operations. The activities envisaged by the project will ensure well-ordered participation of executive authorities and local self-government bodies in the prevention and elimination of disasters. The project will be encouraging for ongoing sustainable forest management projects of UNDP in Armenia.
Summarizing his remarks, A. Minasyan expressed gratitude to all the countries, structures, organizations and individuals taking part in firefighting activities, especially the Russian Federation giving prompt response to the request of Armenia, thereby providing a plane and United States for professional aid in rehabilitation process within burned areas.
UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia Bradley Busetto noted that the inception project is a good example for regional and international cooperation, while combating natural disasters and thanked the Russian Republic for constructive collaboration within the framework of UN.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Armenia Ivan Volynkin, expressing thanks to the reliable partner of Russia, project manager and staff of the UNDP for productive realizations of projects, stated: “The Russian Federation consistently implies his efforts with the objective of achieving sustainable development in order to assist foreign partners, guided by the objectives, issues and principals framed in state policy concept and sets a goal of promoting global development. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), having closer economic, political and cultural relations along with our country are considered top-priority directions. Many projects are well underway in Armenia funded by the Russian Federation. We support not only separate social groups but also various branches of economy. The Federal Agency for Forestry and EMERCOM of Russia will have an immediate participation in the project fulfillment”.
Emphasizing, that the Russian Federation and Armenia have always supported each other in difficult situations, the Ambassador expressed conviction that this project will further reinvigorating the Armenian-Russian strategic partnership and will suppress emergency situations in the republic.
During the event Bradley Busetto, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia handed over radio communication equipment to Deputy Director of “Khosrov Forest” state reserve Gerasim Vardanyan that are fundamentals in emergency situations and the latter was required in the course of firebreak.
Scarce forest resources in Armenia are often located next to intensively cultivated agricultural and grasslands and are greatly exposed to anthropogenic and climate change impact. The forecasted rise in air temperature and rainfall changes, according to the Third National Communication on Climate Change, will further increase aridization levels in the country. This in turn will increase the frequency and intensity of forest and wildfires.
To address the critical issue of climate change aggravated forest and wildfire risks, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia and the RA Ministry of Nature Protection will enhance the technical capacity of national executive structures and establish more sustainable practices of monitoring, prevention and coordination of roles and responsibilities during the extinguishing of forest fires.
The project will ensure the participation of communities located nearby to the forests. This will promote that forest resources are managed in a sustainable manner, including through the use of innovative climate change mitigation technologies, such as the production of pellets and bricks, and energy efficient stoves. These technologies will be applied in the agroforestry sector, with a secondary effect of generating income and jobs.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations UNDP in Armenia was established in March 1993, and supports the government in meeting its development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.
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