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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ARMENIA

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

A sustainable reform program has been developed and is being implemented in Armenia to remedy all due problems in this sector. Among efforts now going on are an Agricultural Reform Support Program, Irrigation Rehabilitation Credit, an Agricultural Wholesale Market Project, Rural Rehabilitation, a Cooperative Agricultural Bank, Individual and Private Cooperative Farms Property Insurance, and a Development Cadastral Program. These projects are partly financed by appropriate external donors and partly by the state budget of the Republic of Armenia.

Status   

Armenia's agriculture has severely suffered from recent events. The following are the measures that could promote the development of the sector:

Challenges  

No information is available..

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

See under Programmes and Projects.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.
To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies      

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is concerned with questions of the atmosphere.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in 1992 and ratified in 1993. In May 1996, the Republic of Armenia ratified the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. The Act on Ambient Air Protection, 1994 was passed.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

As part of the a programme entitled, "Armenia: Study of Climate Change in the Country," supported by the Global Environment Facility, it is proposed that the following work should be carried out:

  1. Preparation of the first national report in accordance with article 12 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC);
  2. Development of general competence and knowledge related to climate change problems;
  3. Development of a dialogue, exchange of information and cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to strengthen the organizational mechanisms;
  4. Cooperation in projects relating to climate change and the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases.

Status   

Armenia has so far not acceded to the Montreal Protocol for reasons related to procedure and to temporary circumstances:

In accordance with the rules of procedure, Armenia may raise the question of its inclusion among the countries defined in article 5 of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (1987), whereby it would receive the appropriate benefits; however, it can be included in the list of such countries only after it has acceded to the Protocol. This means that the Republic of Armenia would be burdened with excessive financial obligations under the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol. Until it receives the status of a country covered by article 5, it cannot receive financial aid to meet its obligations.

In accordance with the provisions of the Protocol (and the amendments thereto), a party acceding to the Protocol, even if it is covered by article 5, cannot increase its consumption of substances that deplete the ozone layer above its annual level of consumption at the time of its accession. At the present time, because of the serious economic crisis, Armenia's consumption of such substances is almost nil and naturally, in the event of ratification, the industry and economy of the Republic of Armenia as a whole would be placed in an unfavourable position (an almost total ban on the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances that deplete the ozone layer).

Funding is being sought to implement these actions.

Challenges  

See under Status.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

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This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

Click here for national information from the Web Site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is in charge of biodiversity questions.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1992 and ratified in 1993. No report on the Convention has been submitted.

The following environmental legislations are relevant for biodiversity:  

  1. Fundamentals of Legislation on Environmental Protection of the Republic of Armenia;
  2. Act on Particular Sites;
  3. Forest Code of the Republic of Armenia.

Additional legislation is being prepared.

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources has established working groups to develop new environmental legislation. A working group forms part of the national programme on environmental safety.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

Five State nature reserves in the Republic, as well as a National Park, the Sevan nature reserve complex and 22 reserves for particular species, have the status of specially protected territories. The total area of the nature reserves is 65,000 hectares (2.2 per cent of the territory of the Republic) and the total area of the reserves for particular species is 94,000 hectares (3.1 per cent of the territory of the Republic).

The relatively small territory of the Republic of Armenia (29,965 sq.km.) is characterized by rich biological diversity. Seventy-six species of mammals, 304 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles, 6 species of amphibians and 24 species of fish inhabit Armenia. There is also a rich and distinctive flora replete with species (approximately 3,200), which results from the complexity of the terrain and climate of Armenia and from its location at the juncture of completely diverse provinces of flora. The forestry resources cover 459,900 hectares. The average density of the forests is 0.54. Armenia's Red Book includes 99 species of animals and 387 species of plants, of which approximately 200 are endemic or relicts.

Challenges  

The data cited, however, do not reflect the current real picture since Armenia's flora has suffered an irreplaceable loss due to the severe energy crisis and massive deforestation, and this has affected the quantity and quality of the fauna. Migration routes and the ecological balance of animal habitats have been destroyed. The protection of animal and plant life in Armenia is in a critical situation. Because of the lack of financial resources, no work is being done on the establishment of an inventory of animal and plant life. The protection of biological resources has become particularly difficult on account of the privatization of land resources in the Republic, the unauthorized harvesting of medicinal and food crops and the relentless extermination of ornamental plant species. In the opinion of botanical experts, approximately 50 species of plants not included in Armenia's Red Book are now on the verge of extinction.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, conferences are being held with the participation of various experts. In order to implement the biological diversity programmes in Armenia, US$ 10-15 million are required. A number of projects have been proposed to international funds to obtain financing.

Cooperation  

The Republic is participating in international meetings in the context of the Convention and is cooperating within the Inter-State Environmental Council (CIS).

* * *

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Problems of desertification are entrusted to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There is relevant environmental protection legislation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

The Republic has sufficient scientific potential to establish a national programme of action and to implement urgent and long-term plans and programmes to prevent desertification, but the economic situation does not allow the Government to allocate resources for the necessary actions. A number of projects have been proposed to international organizations to attract resources to combat desertification.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

The problem of desertification and the organization of measures to combat it are extremely urgent in Armenia, which is located in an arid area. One half of the territory of the Republic is subject to mudslides, which aggravate the processes of desertification. The processes of defluction and landslides are also pervasive. The anthropogenic impact on the landscape causes intensified soil erosion and salination. While the Republic has a limited amount of land, a solid outflow from rivers outside its frontiers removes more than 4 million tons of fine soil and solutes. As a result of all this, every year thousands of hectares of arable land become unusable and forest and grazing areas are reduced.

The energy crisis of the past four years has aggravated the situation, provoking intensive unregulated clearance of forests which served to protect the soil and other functions, since Armenia's forests are concentrated mainly on steep slopes. The energy crisis also had an adverse effect on the high mountain freshwater Lake Sevan, from which large volumes of water have been withdrawn for power needs. The water level in Lake Sevan has fallen catastrophically and, unless urgent measures are taken, the unique nature of the landscape, which plays such a significant climatic role in the region and which supplies the many springs located in a very dry part of the Republic, may be destroyed.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

Cooperation with neighbouring countries is essential in order to devise joint complex approaches to the solution of problems of desertification on a regional scale.

* * *

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

No information is available.

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Armenian State Forest Service "Hayantar", within the Ministry of Environment and Underground Resources, is responsible for forest concerns. Hayantar is affected by problems of both inappropriate structure and weak capacity. In the Soviet era, various core functions of a national forest service were carried out centrally in Moscow through subsidiary branch offices in each of the Caucasian republics. With the advent of independence, the same system is now carried out on a national basis in Armenia, and Hyantar remains vertically integrated with the forest enterprises. 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A new "Forest Code" came into effect in November 1994. This is based largely on the former Forest Code of 1978, amended to take account of changes in the Armenian economy regarding, in particular, the shift from a centrally planned system to market economy and the emergence of private property. The Forest Code is currently deficient in respect of the ownership of forest on privately owned or controlled land, and also needs elaboration in respect of forest land use and grazing.

In May 1995, Armenian Forest Sector Development Issues were discussed and a Forest Policy Declaration was adopted. Four development priorities were identified:

  1. The integration of Armenian Forests into the national economy,
  2. Afforestation, reforestation, regeneration and rural forestry,
  3. Improvement of the effectiveness of the management of the forests, and
  4. Conservation and protection of the environment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A revised forest policy for Armenia was adopted in May 1996, and aims to satisfy objectives related to environmental protection, economic utilization, rural development, and land use. Specifically, the stated main policy objectives are to:

  1. Create conditions which lead to proper economic utilization;
  2. Be consistent with other national policies, especially those concerning the environment, agriculture, forest industries, and rural development;
  3. Take account of recent developments in forest policies of developed countries;
  4. Strengthen the institutional capacity for forest policy formulation, monitoring and execution;
  5. Enhance forest regeneration, afforestation and rural forestry.

The principles enunciated for implementation of the forest policy are:

  1. Conservation;
  2. Afforestation and regeneration;
  3. Sustainable and multiple use of forest resources;
  4. Maximum participation of private and other non-governmental organizations in forestry development.

The last two principles represent major departures from past policy, which neither sanctioned productive use of forests nor permitted non-governmental or private participation in forest activities.

The overall strategy of forest sector development in the long run is to make the Armenian forestry sector self-reliant, in both financial and economic terms, thus justifying future capital investments and also offsetting the shortfalls in government support for recurrent budgets.

There are four major and interrelated strategic objectives:

The forest strategy also identifies activities in the implementation of these objectives, and in particular for the fourth objective (conservation and protection of the environment), the following steps were proposed:

The implementation of the forest policy in Armenia requires the organizational settings able to develop, execute, monitor and evaluate forestry and forestry related affairs. The policy calls for increased activities in conservation, reforestation and afforestation, sustainable use of the forest resources and participation of the private sector and NGOs in forestry development. The break away from the former Soviet system has resulted not only in new options for economic and social development based on the forest resource, but also that certain functions - earlier provided within FSU – are no longer existing.

Currently there is insufficient capacity for forest policy up-dating, coordination, monitoring and implementation in Armenia, which was revealed in the course of previous projects.

The long-term objective of Armenian forestry is to manage and use the forests in such a way as to maintain its biological diversity, its productivity, its reproducing capacity as well as the relevant ecological, economic and social functions at local and regional levels.

There is little doubt that the forestry resources of Armenia are able to contribute considerably more to the economic and social development of the country, than at present. In a medium-term perspective this calls for modernization of most of the sector, including the establishment of market economy management systems, upgrading of personnel and staff capacity, decentralization of responsibilities and authority, developing links with appropriate regional and international organizations and improving administrative and economic procedures.

In the short-term there are certain pressing needs that call for attention if the long and medium-term objectives should be met. A typical exponent of this category is a forest resources database without which the forestry estate cannot be sustainably managed. Other such examples are building up know-how in certain key areas like forest extension, silviculture, farmforestry, biodiversity protection, staff education and training.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

As for the relevance of the IPF proposals for action on national level, assessment is currently pending. Concrete steps for IPF proposal implementation include Forest Resources Assessment project (1997-1998). The project has been implemented by the Forest Research and Experimental Centre, and SIDA was the sponsoring agency. A project proposal entitled "Forest Certification in Armenia" was prepared in 1999. This proposal has been submitted for financial assistance to UK FCO Environmental Project Fund. The main goal of the project is to develop a forest certification standard in Armenia.

Jointly with the Ministries of Agriculture and of Environment and Underground Wealth, FAO is currently implementing a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) in Armenia that has already yielded results in terms of providing, inter alia, an overall framework for programme development and indicating specific areas where donor assistance is required. Based on the TCP Project outputs (including the Strategy for the Development of the Armenian Forest Sector, adopted by the Government of Armenia), UNDP and GEF, in cooperation and consultation with FAO and all other actors involved, are initiating the development of a large-scale comprehensive sector investment programme for Armenia. The main components of the programme are:

Status   

Armenia is a landlocked, mountainous country located in the south Transcaucasus region. A wide variety of habitats may be found in this small territory, including desert, semi-desert, steppe, forest, sub-alpine and alpine meadows. Due to its position at the meeting point of three diverse bio-geographic regions and the mountainous nature of its landscape, the country sustains high biological diversity and a number of endemic species of the Caucasus.

Only 11% of the territory is covered by forest, at altitudes of 500 to 2700 m asl., characterized by more than 200 species of trees and shrubs. All forests in Armenia are state owned and all forest management and protection activities are financed through the state budget. The current protected areas formally make up one third of the total forest area.

The current harsh economic situation has created a great demand for wood products. Large peri-urban areas have been denuded of forests, negatively affecting soil and water resources. It has been estimated that in each of the last 6 years at least 1,000,000 m3 of wood has been illegally cut, and this has damaged the forests, as cuttings were done in an uncontrolled and disorderly manner. It is feared that rare species, both flora and fauna, disappear continuously. The co-operation between concerned ministries and authorities when it comes to sustainable forest management and use is not good enough.

Before the blockade, approximately 60,000 m3 of timber were harvested in Armenia each year, of which about 8,000 were considered commercial cuttings, a harvest which satisfies only 10-14% of Armenian internal needs. Since the country produces a very high quality of beech and oak hardwood, foreign exchange could be earned through forest related products - in spite of the low self-sufficiency rate - if internal needs were satisfied with lower quality lumber leaving the possibility of using higher quality wood for production of export goods.

Armenia underwent intense deforestation over time: historical records show that at the beginning of the 9th century, 25% of Armenian land was covered with forests. The percentage had declined to 7% in the 1950s, although since then the forest cover has been increased to 11.2%. The primary forested areas are in the north-east (which contains about 80% of the forest industry), the north, and the south, whilst the cental part of the country is almost woodless. Hayantar has undertaken major forestation in several areas, mostly with the objective of increasing erosion control.

Challenges  

Hayantar does not yet have its own capacity to carry out all these functions including policy development, coordination, planning and budgeting, forest management and forest resource assessment. Proposals for institutional capacity building need to be made in the context of institutional weaknesses and possible reforms.

There is a strong black economy and a high proportion of the timber harvested is felled illegally. The state institutions responsible for forestry are weak, the regulatory system is poorly developed and there is a lack of forestry experts. The state forestry enterprises follow former Soviet style management plans, which do not guarantee sustainable forest management. The current situation concerning the management and conservation of forest resources is crucial, and calls for immediate actions both for national and international communities.

There are certain environmental problems (erosion, soil salinity, contaminated surface water) in agriculture that could be addressed through an integrated use of trees, shelterbelts and forests. Co-operation in land use/land management between agriculture and forestry is not enough. There is no forestry extension service to farmers and the entire concept of farm forestry and agro-forestry is not developed.

Identified problems are: lacking institutional capacity to implement new forest policies; and policies and laws that do not meet requirements emanating from private forestry.

Soil erosion problems are serious in Armenia; water erosion has the primary share, but wind erosion is not negligible. Water erosion is caused by various factors of natural origin, but also by human factors, which are becoming increasingly weighty. Soft rocks (e.g. marnes, gypse, and sandstone) with often unfavorable sedimentation patterns, contrasted relief with steep slopes, torrential rains, and large temperature variations result in a high degree of natural erosion. This has been amplified by forest clearings in the 1990s and the development of unsustainable agriculture practices together with overgrazing of high altitude pastures over the last 40-50 years. Wind results in noticeable soil erosion in steppe zones and in moving sands in some parts of the country.

Of the 1,391,400 ha of land classified as being of "Agricultural significance", about 60% are said to be affected by erosion, of which 25% are considered as "very strongly to excessively eroded".

Presently there are no resources allocated to reduce erosion or to increase production on degraded land through shelterbelt-plantation and afforestation. Further degradation of these lands will reduce the future production potential of natural resources, including the erosion of farmland and reduction of the economic lifetime for irrigation and hydro-electric dams. Shelterbelt-forestry programs and afforestation for such purposes might be difficult to justify on environmental grounds only, but the resulting wood production could in many cases justify the required investments.

About 42,000 ha in the Ararat valley have soil salinity problems, of which 9,000 ha are classified as severe (soil pH > 9). This problem is related to irrigation and in most cases to Lake Sevan and water quality there.

See also under Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans and Status.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

High-level training in forestry is the responsibility of the Forestry Chair of the Faculty of Agriculture of the Armenian Agricultural Academy which was founded in the year 1992. There is no institution where the forest technicians can be trained. Research in forestry is carried out in the Forest Department of the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences and in the Forestry Research Station of Hayantar. The Research Station lacks the minimum technical equipment, financing and transport to implement its work programme.

Information   

Criteria and indicators for FM currently used in country, which could be useful to assess progress towards SFM at the international level are as follows:

  1. Maintenance and Appropriate Enhancement of Forest Resources
  2. Indicators:

    Area of forest cover

    Wood growing stock

    Age structure

  3. Maintenance of Forest Ecosystem Health and Vitality
  4. Forest influence indicators:

    Insect/disease damage

    Fire & storm damage

    Anthropogenic influence indicators:

    Domestic animal browse damage

  5. Maintenance and Encouragement of Productive Function of Forests (Wood and non-wood)
  6. Indicators:

    Wood production

    Production of non-wood forest products

  7. Maintenance, Conservation and Appropriate Enhancement of Biological Diversity in Forest Ecosystems
  8. Ecosystem indicators:

    Distribution of forest ecosystem/forest type

    Extent of protected areas

    Species indicators:

    No. forest-dependent (f.d.) species

    Reliance on natural regeneration

  9. Maintenance and Appropriate Enhancement of Protective Functions in Forest Management (notably soil and water)
  10. Indicators:

    Management for soil protection

  11. Maintenance of Other Socio-Economic Functions and Conditions

Indicators of economic benefits:

Share of forest sector in GNP/GDP

Indicators for the distribution of benefits:

Employment generation/conditions

No public access to information upon SFM is available.

Research and Technologies   

See under Programmes and Projects.

Financing   

All forests are owned by the Republic and managed by Hayantar, on the basis of ten-year plans with annual tasking breakdowns. Hayantar retains income from its operations and is provided with an operational budget allocation from the national government. It manages 26 vertically integrated regional forestry enterprises, two protected reservations, a nursery, a machine factory, an amelioration station, a forest protection station, a research station and a maintenance shop.

Many aspects of Hayantar operations involve uncosted internal transfers, which the present accounting system fails to record. For example, seedlings are supplied from nursery to forest free of charge, and workers receive the major part of their income in kind, as fuelwood and grazing rights, etc. The extremely low levels of official wages provide insufficient incentives to motivate performance, and the use of uncosted internal transfers subverts the role of prices as efficiency signals. The lack of any transparent system of financial management obscures those parts of Hayantar operations which are relatively profitable and may justify investments. If Hayantar is to become self-reliant financially, it must charge full economic prices for its products and ensure efficient revenue collection. There is, therefore, an urgent need to increase its capacity to provide a more modern management information and control system, capable of providing cost analysis at a decentralized level, and also supporting a monitoring and evaluation function.

Cooperation  

Country participation:

* * *

This information was provided by the government of Armenia to the 5th and 8th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment and Underground Resources maintains national monitoring networks which cover all main components of the hydrological cycle and several chemical analyses of water quality.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Water Code of the Republic is approved as the main law for water use and water protection. Municipalities take care, by and large, of the water supply and wastewater treatment of communities. The municipal wastewater and water supply investment costs are financed mainly by municipalities themselves, and operation and maintenance costs, including capital costs, covered by the users in compliance with the Water Code.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

One of the Armenian priorities concerning freshwater resources is to cover all activities in society, in particular land use, agriculture, forestry, industry and energy generation, in such a manner as to introduce overall sustainable use of water resources. Integrated water resources management plans are drawn up for all the areas where water quality problems or conflicts between use and protection occur. Given water scarcity in the country, therefore, water resource use issues are closely connected to water protection and are solved in a complex manner.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

The annual national social and economic development programme includes a chapter for water resources rational use and protection. see also under Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising.

Status   

In addition to the environmental approaches for the countryside and for forestry, research projects for water conservation in agriculture and forestry have an impact on the quality of water resources. The state of water is under continuous monitoring so that the effects of water protection measures can be assessed.

Some 75% of the population was served by public waterworks in 1991, but the supply facilities are well below a basic level. About 76% of the population was served by public sewer systems in 1991. The wastewater treatment in urban areas consists mainly of biological treatment.

Water supply systems are operated mainly by pumps. Due to the current energy crisis their operation is essentially inadequate. Individual projects are prepared to turn the systems into gravitation supply. Urban sewage is basically treated at biological plants. Due to inadequate power supply, a number of crucial units at the plants (e.g., pumping plants, aeration systems) became obsolete.

Industry generated close to 800 mil cubic meters of process and sanitary wastewater in 1994. Almost 50% is treated biologically, but, due to improper operation of the plants waste waters are treated mainly mechanically. 20% of all the waste water is treated biologically.

Challenges  

One of the urgent problems related to protection of the quality and supply of freshwater as well as their effective use is the support of the Biological Balance of Lake Sevan. In this regard, a Program for Restoring the Biological Balance of Lake Sevan, funded by the World Bank, has been identified as a priority issue.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Education for the sustainable use of water resources has been increased as part of implementing the environmental programme for agriculture and rural areas.  

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

The main areas of environmental expertise of Armenian industry lie in waste-water treatment and measuring techniques. Demand for environmental technology on export markets will increase.

Financing   

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

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This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Department for the Protection of Land Resources of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources bears the main responsibility for an integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for general State monitoring of the utilization of land by all users irrespective of the form of ownership of the land. In addition, the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is responsible for preparing Government decisions relating to geological and other natural processes (landslides, subsidence, avalanches, mudslides, etc.) leading to loss, erosion and irrational use of land and the recultivation of degraded land.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and Production and the Ministry of Construction, with input from other parties interested in the planning and management of land resources, are preparing appropriate decisions and submitting them to the Government for adoption. In the adoption of decisions, the provisions of the Act on Assessing Environmental Exposure (1995) and the Land Code, as well as public opinion and the views of non-governmental organizations are taken into account.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Some top urgent measures should be initiated in 1997 in view of ensuring planning and management of land resources. The priority measures drafted for this purpose are:  

  1. Provide land reforms establishing land mapping, administrative-regional land balances, regional land construction schemes as well as continue improving the legal framework for land ownership;
  2. Produce a model for the development of an unified and property cadastre for the Republic of Armenia regarding the peculiarities of the current agricultural industry;
  3. Improve a rental and sales process by defined regulations in view of effective use of lands under official reserve fund.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

See under Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

International experience is being studied, primarily in the area of the processing of municipal waste, "tailings" resulting from enrichment in non-ferrous metallurgy and the utilization of waste from the construction materials industry, the establishment of toxic waste sites, the use of biological and other environmentally safe fertilizers and the means of controlling plant and animal diseases.

Financing   

Funding for this sector comes from the extremely limited State budget, payments for the use of land, investment by international funds, public organizations and sponsors.

Cooperation  

Armenia has introduced a number of proposals to combat soil erosion and to deal with desertification problems and, in this connection is cooperating with Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan (tentatively). World experience will be used to the maximum in the field of mapping and cartography on the basis of the only existing atlas (for countries of the former Soviet Union) of Armenia's land resources. As a member of the Inter-State Environmental Council (of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)) and in cooperation with UNEP, UNDP, the Economic Commission for Europe, OECD and others, Armenia is participating both in the utilization of the experience already gained and in the development of new programmes and projects.

* * *

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is most concerned with mountain issues.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available..

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Until recently, the protection and utilization of mountain ecosystems was a State monopoly, but since the privatization of land resources, the private sector can also be expected to participate in this area.

Programmes and Projects   

There is no separate Government programme in the Republic of Armenia for the protection of mountain ecosystems. This area forms an integral part of various thematic programmes on the following questions: landscape diversity and biodiversity, climate change, the development of the forestry sector, the organization of agriculture, etc.

Status   

Armenia is a typical mountain country with the characteristics of an arid mountain ecosystem. Over 90 per cent of Armenia's territory is over 1000 metres above sea level. 

Challenges  

Because of their diverse geological structure, mountain systems are very jagged and present a diverse landscape. Extreme environmental landscape indicators and an intensive anthropogenic impact have led to the serious degradation of the natural biodiversity of mountain systems. In certain regions, changes which have taken place are irreversible. On account of the dominant geo-ecological significance of the Republic's mountain systems in the region for the conservation of their landscapes and biodiversity, the participation of the countries of the Kur-Araks basin of the Caucasus region is required. Consequently, complex mechanisms must be developed to protect the Caucasus region and establish new transboundary protected regions.

The priority areas for action must be the following:

  1. The study, forecasting and implementation of measures to provide protection against exogenous geological processes (landslides, mudslides, avalanches and other natural disasters);
  2. The prevention of soil erosion;
  3. The protection of the grazing ecosystems;
  4. The protection of the mountain forest ecosystems;
  5. The setting of limits to anthropogenic impact from the various uses of the natural environment (agricultural, mining, recreational, industrial, etc.).

See also under Financing.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

There is no financing allocated solely to the protection of mountain ecosystems. There is a small volume of resources allocated to individual programmes, but these resources are quite inadequate to resolve the problem.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

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This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

No information is available.

* * *

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources is in charge of toxic chemicals.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

With a view to protecting nature and human health, there are plans in the Republic to establish systematic monitoring of the use of chemical substances in industry and agriculture. The monitoring will be carried out by a designated national organ of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

The Ministry, with the participation of a designated correspondent approved by UNDP, and on the basis of the data bank of the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC), has devised a project entitled Provisions Relating to the Utilization, Import and Export, and the Transboundary Movement of Chemical and Toxic Chemical Substances. The project has been submitted to the Government of the Republic of Armenia for approval.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

 

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of the Environment and Underground Resources maintains national monitoring networks which cover all main components of the hydrological cycle and several chemical analyses of water quality.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Water Code of the Republic is approved as the main law for water use and water protection. Municipalities take care, by and large, of the water supply and wastewater treatment of communities. The municipal wastewater and water supply investment costs are financed mainly by municipalities themselves, and operation and maintenance costs, including capital costs, covered by the users in compliance with the Water Code.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

The annual national social and economic development programme includes a chapter for water resources rational use and protection.

Status   

About 76% of the population was served by public sewer systems in 1991. The wastewater treatment in urban areas consists mainly of biological treatment.

Water supply systems are operated mainly by pumps. Due to the current energy crisis their operation is essentially inadequate. Individual projects are prepared to turn the systems into gravitation supply. Urban sewage is basically treated at biological plants. Due to inadequate power supply, a number of crucial units at the plants (e.g., pumping plants, aeration systems) became obsolete.

Industry generated close to 800 mil cubic meters of process and sanitary wastewater in 1994. Almost 50% is treated biologically, but, due to improper operation of the plants waste waters are treated mainly mechanically. 20% of all the waste water is treated biologically.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

See under Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Last update: April 1997.

Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment and Underground Resources and the Ministry of Health are the competent authorities, making State decisions on waste issues. The Ministry of Environment and Underground Resources adjusts import, export and transit movement of hazardous wastes, ensures supervision over these operations, and processing and disposal as well. 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Armenia has not yet joined the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, but the text of the Convention is under study by parliamentary experts for the purpose of its adoption. After adoption of the Basel Convention Armenia will regularly inform the Secretariat of the Basel Convention about issues, essential to parties, concerning generation, disposal and transportation of hazardous wastes.

In December 1995 the Government approved a resolution adjusting import, export and transboundary movement of hazardous and other wastes over the territory of Armenia. The resolution established the order of the supervision over transboundary movements.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The major aim of the Government in this field is to develop and ensure environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes in Armenia.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

See under Research and Technologies.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

Armenian needs up-to-date equipment for sound management of hazardous wastes.  

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

Armenia is very interested in international cooperation and after adoption of Basel Convention Armenia will take steps for effective cooperation.

* * *

 

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, Last update: April 1997.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Health are responsible for the joint supervision and monitoring of background figures of radiation pollution and emissions into the air, water and soil. The Atomic Inspectorate of the Government of the Republic deals directly with matters relating to radioactive wastes.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Decisions relating to the protection of the population and the environment from radiation are being prepared. The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Health, on the basis of the monitoring of the atmosphere and the health of the population and with the agreement of the Atomic Inspectorate, the Ministry of Energy and the local administrative authorities, are proposing such decisions to the Government. Scientific and medical institutions are also involved.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

See under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

Low-level radioactive wastes are stored at a special site and high-level radioactive wastes generated at the atomic power station are removed in accordance with the contract for the supply of radioactive fuel to Russia.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

At the present time, the population is periodically informed of the results of the monitoring of radioactive pollution and the background figures.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation

Questions relating to regional radiation safety are a matter of concern to all the neighbouring States - Turkey, Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan - and, in that connection, the organizations authorized to do so enlist the services, as experts, of representatives of IAEA, Francelectrique, the Scientific Research Institute of Russia and others.

* * *

This information is based on the Republic of Armenia's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997


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