Implementation of the NBSAP
The main goal of Armenia’s NBSAP is to ensure the conservation, sustainable use and regeneration of the landscapes and biological diversity of the Republic of Armenia for sustainable human development. As part of the NBSAP, 13 tasks have been proposed with a total of 245 actions and measures. Each of these actions and measures is relatively prioritized.
Actions taken to achieve the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets
Specially protected areas serve as a means to effectively preserve biodiversity in Armenia. Their total area comprises 379,187 hectares or 12.7% of the country’s total area (or 7% of the total area if the surface of Lake Sevan is excluded). Fifty-four percent of the specially protected areas consists of forest ecosystems; 70% of the country’s flora and fauna is protected in specially protected areas. Armenia’s protected area system includes 3 state reserves (Khosrov, Shikahogh, Erebuni), 26 state sanctuaries, 4 national parks (Sevan, Dilijan, Lake Arpi, Arevik) and 230 natural monuments. The process of establishing specially protected areas is ongoing. The establishment of an additional 2 protected areas is expected in the south of Armenia (Gnishik and Khustup), as is the establishment of the Shikahogh biosphere reserve on the state reserve in the Syunik region through financial support provided by the KfW Development Bank (Entwicklungsbank).
Forest management plans have been developed for approximately 46,000 hectares of forests and the development of forest management plans for an additional 1,789,000 hectares is under way.
Special strategies and survey programmes have also been set for particular species, such as populations of the Armenian moufflon, bezoar goat and panther. Consequently, some threatened species are now recovering. For instance, the decline of the black griffon vulture population in Armenia has been stopped and the population stabilized (there were 4 pairs of the bird in 2002 and 7-8 pairs in 2005-2008). In the last years, new populations of some rare plant species were found. These species were included in the first edition of the Red Data Book of Armenia (1989) as “extinct”, but thanks to special investigations have been located again (e.g. Sternbergia colchiciflora
, Glycyrrhiza echinata
, Nuphar lutea
, Cyclamen vernum
Legislation and infrastructure related to biodiversity protection have also been improved. Armenia’s Red Book has been updated and environmental education programmes are in process. Yet some steps still need to be taken, notably in regard to the conservation of genetic resources, especially as relates to food production and agriculture management. Development in this domain continues to be hindered by the absence of a national strategy and a comprehensive national programme on the use of genetic resources, insufficient coordination and deficiencies in regard to the availability of a comprehensive national information database and mechanisms for information exchange.
Support mechanisms for national implementation (legislation, funding, capacity-building, coordination, mainstreaming, etc.)
Three main strategic documents have been developed in Armenia which are directly connected to biodiversity conservation, namely: Second National Environmental Action Programme of the Republic of Armenia (approved by the Government of Armenia in 2008, containing priorities for biodiversity conservation that are directly related to the 2010 Biodiversity Target); Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan of Armenia (1999); Strategy for Developing Specially Protected Areas and National Action Plan of Armenia (2002). Biodiversity conservation is also mainstreamed into several policy fields, notably in the agricultural sector (through the Land Code of Armenia and the Agricultural Sustainable Development Strategy) and the forestry sector (through various texts such as the action plan for mitigating actions to help address the problems associated with illegal logging and the National Forest Program of the Republic of Armenia). Finally, the first Poverty Reduction Strategic Program (PRSP) recognizes that the overexploitation of natural resources is a serious environmental problem. The strategy pays considerable attention to forest rehabilitation and puts forward a number of suggestions for improving environmental conditions.
While biodiversity policy implementation suffers from a general lack of efficient coordination, efforts have been made in the field of agrobiodiversity to enhance capacity-building and information-sharing. An interdepartmental committee for plant genetic resources for agriculture and food safety was created in 2005 to coordinate the development of national programmes and strategies in the field of plant genetic resources conservation.
Biodiversity policies are supported by international donor organizations whose financial assistance is mainly targeted at the creation of new protected areas, conservation of endangered species and awareness-raising activities for the local population.
Mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing implementation
Multiple tools exist for monitoring and reviewing implementation. Within the framework of the Natural Resource Management and Poverty Reduction Project, the mapping of national parks, inventorying of biodiversity components and introduction of a system for biodiversity monitoring have been carried out.
Regarding aquatic ecosystems, the “Environmental Impact Monitoring Centre” (EIMC) (a State non-commercial organization of the Ministry of Nature Protection) carries out periodic monitoring of water quality in regard to more than 14 water basins in Armenia each year. Since 2007, the EIMC has annually conducted activities to monitor surface water quality with full capacity, in regard to 1,200 samplings from 131 observation points (6-12 samples from each observation point). Regarding the monitoring of surface water quantity, there are currently 7 hydrological stations and 92 observation points currently in operation in the country. Within the framework of state programs and with the assistance of international organizations, considerable aid has been given to improving state surface water monitoring.
Furthermore, the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies of the Armenian National Academy of Science (NAS) has comprehensively studied the concentration of heavy metals and their impact on the biodiversity of cities and near-city areas. Finally, the second edition of the Red Book of Armenia constitutes a valuable tool for monitoring species conservation trends.