On September 19 transboundary events of “Lake Arpi” national park and Javakheti Protected Areas took place within Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, Georgia and RA Syunik Region; the delegation of the RA Ministry of Nature Protection led by Minister Artsvik Minasyan, the delegacy of Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia headed by Deputy Minister Ekaterine Grigalava partook. Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia Matthias Kiesler and German Ambassador to Georgia Heike Peitsch, the representatives of the South Caucasus Regional Office of German Development Bank (KfW), project officers of WWF Transboundary Joint Secretariat, delegation of administrative regions of two states, Governor of Shirak Region Arthur Khachatryan, environmental NGOs were also present at the events.
The event was organized within “The Transboundary Joint Secretariat 3rd Phase” (TJS-III) project scopes by WWF Armenia, as well as Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia to lay special emphasis on the transboundary cooperation in enhancing biodiversity monitoring and tourism progress.
The events set about with the opening ceremony of Visitor Center at Javakheti Protected Areas in the City of Akhalkalaki. The guests toured the center, got acquainted with flora and fauna specimens of the sanctuary. The attendees familiarized with local products, marketing representatives’ products.
Addressing the attendees, RA Minister of Nature Protection Artsvik Minasyan stated: “ This is the first time that we see a real output of regional cooperation. For the first time a possibility has been empowered in order to have specially protected areas of nature under the Ecoregional Nature Protection Programme (ENPP) in the South Caucasus and imply our efforts to create constructive environment for biodiversity conservation, that will enable develop environmental projects into efficient mechanisms directed to the future of our region”.
The RA Minister of Nature Protection extended a vote of thanks to the top management of Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia and all stakeholders, that provided input on the inception project fulfillment and expressed conviction that a good start-up will result in positive advances. According to the Minister, nowadays nature protection demands our collective efforts so that to have sustainable development in the future. Armenia is willingly to collaborate in all formats of transboundary cooperation to arrive at the latter.
“The partnership focuses on biodiversity preservation, thereby bringing about welfare buildout of the residents of the adjacent communities of specially protected areas of nature. We are deeply sure that people, setting a price on nature, environmental protection, will benefit from biodiversity conservation as a responsibility for the future, by gaining increased incomes and guaranteed future through ecosystem services as well”: A. Minasyan noted and added: “ It is crucial, that all communities owning biodiversity elements should be involved in this project. This is the only case, that the communities were actively engaged in the establishment of national parks”.
Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia Ekaterine Grigalava, in her speech, attributed importance to the partnership between two countries and noted, that the consistent labor of the parties will contribute to attain actual target goals.
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Armenia Matthias Kiesler highly appreciated implied efforts of the sides addressed to environmental issues, which may be certified by the successful launch of the project.
The officials of two states were in Lake Madatapa, got familiar with transboundary monitoring procedure for birds. Heads of the Armenian and Georgian delegations made a start of transboundary trail of mountain bikers from two countries in the vicinity of Lake.
The event participants made conversant with Armenian manufacturers’ production in Touristic Centre of Mets Sepasar community, RA Shirak Region. Governor of Shirak Region Arthur Khachatryan highlighted project environmental component and stressed the prospect for local population involvement due to ecotourism.
Welcoming and award giving ceremony of bikers crossing the border of two countries was held in Mets Sepasar community.
RA Minister of Nature Protection also had a participation in the opening ceremony of Farm and Veterinary Service Center. The Center will provide a full package of services to local farmers to prevent overgrazing in pastures.
“Lake Arpi” national park and Javakheti Protected Areas were established with financial support of KfW Development Bank on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The objective of establishing protected areas is to conserve the unique biodiversity of the Javakheti-Shirak plateau (Caucasus Ecoregion), enhance sustainable rural development, provide support to the transboundary cooperation in environmental sphere between Armenia and Georgia.
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