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FAO and Armenia discuss solutions to combat land degradation

29 April 2021, Yerevan, Armenia – At a virtual consultation today, Anna Mazmanyan, Deputy Minister of Environment, Arman Khojoyan, Deputy Minister of Economy, and Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative for Armenia joined key experts to discuss sustainable land management and restoration of degraded landscape in Armenia.

To provide a comprehensive solution to land degradation in Armenia, FAO and the Ministry of Environment developed a joint project proposal, with potential funding from the Global Environmental Fund (GEF), that was presented and reviewed during the event. Key experts from both, the Ministry and FAO updated on the status of the project preparation, planned project sites, co-financing modalities to seek feedback also from different partners and ensure their full participation in the intervention.

“The project will be a key milestone in achieving land degradation neutrality and an important contribution to increase sustainable land management and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in Armenia.

Land degradation and desertification in Armenia are driven by both natural and anthropogenic (man-made) factors. Nature itself contributes to degrade lands through droughts and sandstorms, lack of precipitation caused by unequal distribution of seasonal and regional rainfall, naturally occurring salinization, as well as floods and landslides during the rainy periods. Human induced causes of degradation include inefficient agricultural practices (lack of crop rotation, inefficient use of irrigation techniques, overgrazing of pastures, and violation of ploughing rules), illegal logging, overuse of groundwater resources (artesian wells), and soil contamination, as well as mining, urban development and road construction.

In addition to the on-going land degradation processes, climate change is increasing the risks for the agriculture sector in the country, exacerbating land degradation processes unless action is taken.

The proposed project will follow a landscape approach in line with GEF’s vision to foster sustainable integrated landscapes to achieve land degradation neutrality.  Working at the landscape level allows problems to be addressed in a multifaceted way, integrating sectors, involving several stakeholders and working at different scales – tackling the underlying causes of land degradation and challenges related to food security and not just the symptoms. 

After the workshop, the inputs and suggestions from the participants will be incorporated into the project design and the project will be submitted to the Global Environment Facility for final approval. The project implementation will be coordinated by the Ministry of Environment.