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Armenia advances monitoring for sustainable forest management

Armenian forests are among the most threatened ecosystems, with degradation accelerating, largely attributable to deforestation and overexploitation. Thus, “expansion of forests is one of the main goals for Armenia, not only for the forests’ protective role, but also to develop forest-related businesses and to ensure fuelwood supply to the population”, said Ekrem Yazici, Deputy Chief of the Joint UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section.

Forests play an important role in anti-erosion, soil protection, and water and climate regulation. While these ecological functions are widely acknowledged in Armenia, a better understanding of the economic and social functions of forests is needed in the country. Further, without reliable data on biodiversity, ecosystem services and the socio-economic aspects of forests, the effective monitoring of sustainable forest management is hampered.   

“Sustainable forest management indicators can provide important information on Armenia’s forest resources and support evidence-based policies,” said Mr Yazici. “A set of indicators, developed during a three-year project, will be very beneficial for monitoring, assessing and reporting on the state of Armenia’s forests, strengthening national forest policy, and promoting sustainable forest management.”

The concept of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management was developed at the landmark Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Since then, it has evolved into a powerful tool for promoting, monitoring, and assessing progress towards sustainable forest management.

Many countries have already developed and started using national criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, and now Armenia joins those countries by developing its own. The concept is also used at regional and international levels – the Montreal Process being one important example.

Organized by UNECE and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a national workshop, on 13-15 September 2017, focuses on establishing criteria and indicators for sustainable management for Armenia’s forests. Around 30 national experts on forests and related topics – from government, academia and nongovernmental organizations – attended the workshop.

The initiative is supported by the ''Hayantar'' State non-commercial organization (SNCO) of the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia, in particular because it involves the participation of a broad range of stakeholders, encouraging more inclusive decision making on forests.

UNECE and FAO are supporting Armenia – along with Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan – through the project “Accountability Systems for Sustainable Forest Management in the Caucasus and Central Asia.” Expected to operate from 2016 to 2019, the project is financed through the UN Development Account. The project aims to strengthen national forest sectors and enable the countries to meet their international commitments, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

MEDIA CONTACT:

THERESA LOEFFLER

UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Office S-435-2, Palais des Nations
8-14 avenue de la Paix
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: theresa.loeffler@unece.org
Tel: +41 22 917 4157

LINKS:

Photos of the workshop: https://www.flickr.com/photos/121632478@N08/albums/72157685357046561

Project website: http://www.unece.org/forests/areas-of-work/capacity-building/unda2016-2019.html

Workshop webpage: https://www.unece.org/index.php?id=45759#/

Joint ECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section: http://www.unece.org/forests

FAO publication of this news release: http://www.fao.org/europe/news/detail-news/en/c/1036954/