Over 2000 Ha of Forest-Covered and Vegetation-Covered Area Damaged in Armenia and Artsakh: RA Environment Ministry

Over 2000 Ha of Forest-Covered and Vegetation-Covered Area Damaged in Armenia and Artsakh: RA Environment Ministry

On November 6, International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, Environment Ministry (EM) announced about the damage to 2,000 hectares of forest-covered and vegetation-covered areas in Armenia and Artsakh as a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan since September 27.

 

The statement by the Ministry says: “"November 6 is the UN International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. In the context of the day, we consider it necessary to refer to the environmental damage caused by the use of phosphorous bombs containing chemical elements in the specially protected forest areas of the Republics of Artsakh and Armenia during the war provoked by the Republic of Azerbaijan on September 27, 2020.

Thus, during over 40 days of the war, more than 1800 hectares of forest-covered territory were destroyed in the territory of the Artsakh Republic due to the anti-environmental strategy adopted by Azerbaijan. Such a working style continues to this day. The Azerbaijani side, which uses forest fires as a means of solving tactical problems, not only violates a number of international conventions, but also directly destroys one of the most important links in the region's ecosystem and the areas of red-listed species.

As a result of barbaric actions of the Azerbaijani side, large forest areas of the Republic of Armenia, including specially protected areas, were also affected. Thus, as a result of the war provoked against Artsakh since September 27, the hostile actions of Azerbaijan led to the burning of forests under the jurisdiction of "Hayantar" SNCO.

- About 170 hectares of forest-covered area of "Artsvaberd" forestry enterprise in Tavush Region was set on fire. These forests are directly bordering the Republic of Azerbaijan.

- As a result of the shelling by the Azerbaijani side, 20-25 hectares of forest-covered and grass-covered area in the territory of Goris forestry enterprise of "Hayantar" SNCO were set on fire.

Significant damage was also caused to the protected zones of "Zangezur" biosphere reserve in Syunik Region, on the border of the Artsakh Republic. During the period of November 1-2, due to the shelling by the Azerbaijani side, 3 areas with 5 hectares, 20 hectares and 40 hectares were set on fire in "Shikahogh" State Reserve.

As a result, only 65 hectares of forest area burned in the territory of "Shikahogh" State Reserve. The damage caused to "Zangezur" biosphere reserve is still being calculated! Professional studies are complicated by the ongoing intense combat operations. According to the available data at the moment, in general, over 2000 hectares of forest-covered and vegetation-covered area have been damaged, including in specially protected areas in the territory of the Republic of Armenia.

In addition, Azerbaijan has recently begun to actively use phosphorous weapons containing chemical elements that pose a serious environmental risk, which can have not only irreversible effects on the human body, but also a catastrophic impact on the environment. The use of phosphorous chemical weapons poses a risk of long-term environmental disaster, as it is a persistent pollutant. Phosphorus is absorbed into the components of the natural environment (water, soil, vegetation, animals) and for many years it has a devastating effect on all parts of the ecosystem.

Given that our region is one of the top 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world, it is currently facing a serious threat to ecosystems ոչ biodiversity destruction. In the context of the UN International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, RA Environment Ministry once again calls on major international environmental organizations, secretariats of international conventions to take immediate steps to stop Azerbaijan's ecocide carried out in the territories of Artsakh and Armenia and to hold the party using prohibited weapons and means to the most severe responsibility."

November 06, 2020 at 17:09