Since 2009 the extent of reforestation works has reduced by 6 times reaching almost zero level in 2015. The Government hasn’t allotted even a penny for the reforestation in 2016. Recently the Armenian Government has approved the draft amendments to RA Forest Code, according to which site development is permitted in state forest areas.
This bill was discussed at the round table entitled “Sustainable Forest Management as Integral Part of Climate Policy” held at “EcoLur” Press Club on 15 April. The following people took part in the discussions: Nazeli Vardanyan - President of “Forests of Armenia” NGO, Sonya Hovsepyan - Expert at “National Centre for Legislative Regulation” PIU SA, Ruben Petrosyan - Deputy Director of “ArmForest” SNCO and Chief Forestry Officer, Arthur Petrosyan – Head of Forest Economy Department of Agriculture Ministry, Aram Gabrielyan - National Focal Point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Aida Iskoyan – Aarhus Convention National Coordinator, Karen Manvelyan – WWF Armenia Director, Levon Galstyan - Member of Pan-Armenian Environmental Front, Sirarpi Haykazyan - Armenia ENPI FLEG Project Communication and Implementation Consultant, Luba Balyan - Armenia ENPI FLEG Project Coordinator, Karine Danielyan – President of “Association For Sustainable Human Development” NGO, Vahe Martirosyan – “ATP” non-profit program forester, Armenuhi Petrosyan – Member of “Mayri” public initiative, Amalya Hambardzumyan – President of “Khazer” NGO.
Most participants heavily criticized the bill: “Today when our nation is busy with more important problems, they have organized such an attack and made amendments to the forest legislation: it’s impermissible and even a criminal approach in this case,” said Nazeli Vardanyan, President of “Forests of Armenia” NGO and outlined this bill was designed to disguise another important matter – permission of construction in forests.
As Levon Galstyan, a member of Pan-Armenian Environmental Front, thinks, “All these amendments were made to have site development, to legalize already constructed buildings of certain people and continue new site developments in forest-covered areas.”
Another amendment to the code eliminates “forest ticket” concept. The substantiation says that forest use permit doesn’t fully serve its objective, as clear mechanisms are not set. Nazeli Vardanyan mentioned that clear mechanisms should be set and not withdraw forest ticket.
Ruben Petrosyan, Deputy Director of “ArmForest” SNCO and Chief Forestry Officer, said, “We have discussed the matter of forest ticket with them and send them our opinion this amendment is incorrect. The registration connected with forest ticket will get lost, which will generate serious problems.”
To what extent these amendments comply with the commitments undertaken by Armenia in combating climate change? Aram Gabrielyan, National Focal Point of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, outlined, “Consider 20.1 per cent as an optimal forest cover indicator of the territory of the Republic of Armenia according to the Armenia’s First National Communication to UNFCCC (1998) and Government Decision No 1232 of 21 July 2005 “On Adoption of the National Forest Program of the Republic of Armenia”. To achieve that indicator by 2050 and consider the obtained organic carbon absorptions and accumulations in the INDC and expand the impact period up that measure till 2100.”
The material is prepared by 'EcoLur' Informational NGO under “Armenia’s First Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC” UNDP-GEF/00079327” project.
The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations, including UNDP, or the UN Member States.
14:58 April 21, 2016