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The Government and UNDP address forest and wildfire in Armenia

Armenia’s scarce forest resources 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.

In order 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 structures and establish more sustainable practices of monitoring, prevention and coordination of roles and responsibilities during the extinguishing of forest fires.

Today, Bradley Busetto, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia, and Artsvik Minasyan, RA Minister of Nature Protection, signed a document to initiate the project “Addressing climate change impact through enhanced capacity for wildfires management in Armenia”, funded by the Russian Federation. Ivan Volynkin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Armenia, was also present at the signing ceremony. The budget of the three-year project is USD 1 million.

The initiative is aimed at 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 also will be demonstrated and supported by the project.

The project will enhance the participation of communities located nearby to the forests. This will ensure 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.

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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.