How to Protect Lake Sevan from Man-made and Climatr Change Impact: UNDP Presenting Its Recommendations

How to Protect Lake Sevan from Man-made and Climatr Change Impact: UNDP Presenting Its Recommendations

The basin of Lake Sevan, which is strategically important for Armenia, is vulnerable to climate change. In order to reduce this vulnerability, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has its recommendations. They were presented by Head of Climate, Environment and Resilience portfolio of UNDP Hovhannes Ghazaryan during his speech on "Targeting anthropogenic and climate pressures in Lake Sevan basin from viewpoint of integrated actions" at "Joining efforts for the preservation and sustainable development of the ecosystem of Lake Sevan" international conference.

He singled out three main directions: the problems of Lake Sevan in the context of climate change, improving the management of the ecosystem of Lake Sevan and demonstrating innovative solutions at the local level as an alternative source of livelihood.

The problems of Lake Sevan in the context of climate change

According to the worst-case scenario of the Fourth National Communication on Climate Change by UNDP/GEF, the total river inflow to Lake Sevan will decrease by about 34% by 265 million cubic meters by 2100.

Speaking about the assessment of the water balance of Lake Sevan, Hovhannes Ghazaryan noted that the main impact is predicted on evaporation, which in a pessimistic scenario will increase by 36.5% to 392 million cubic meters by 2100.

Changes in the mineral regime of freshwater springs are predicted due to changes in precipitation and river flow, whereas contamination of springs with biogenic and organic matter during floods, increase in water temperature and intensive growth of algae due to increased air temperature are predicted due to floods.

As for the water quality, 7 out of 11 rivers flowing into Lake Sevan are polluted with communal household waste water and agricultural runoff. "The decrease in the river flow and the increase in temperature, combined with the anthropogenic influence, contribute to the sharp deterioration of the lake's water quality and eutrophication," Hovhannes Ghazaryan said.

Speaking about the legislative reforms, he said that "National Action Program of Adaptation to Climate Change and List of Measures for 2021-2025" was approved by RA Government's Decision N 749-L dated on May 13, 2021. The list also lays down the integration of climate change factors into the management plan of Sevan National Park and the introduction of adaptation measures in the 4th quarter of 2023.

Whereas in December 2021, RA government's draft decision on "Water Sector Adaptation Program and List of Measures for 2022-2026" was submitted to RA Ministry of Environment. The document lays down the list of measures to ensure the implementation of Climate Change Adaptation Program in 2022-2026.

Hovhannes Ghazaryan singled out three measures: development of a guide based on indigenous solutions in catchment areas most vulnerable to floods and implementation in pilot areas, revision of the legislative regulations of Lake Sevan in the context of climate change in order to preserve and restore the lake ecosystem, development of hydrogeological and hydrological models and implementation of the vulnerability of water resources under climate change for evaluation purposes.

Hovhannes Ghazaryan presented UNDP recommendations and key messages.

"It is necessary to consider the measures of the 5-year plan provided by the draft government decision of "Water Resources Climate Change Adaptation Program", the support for their implementation in the planned investment programs in Sevan Lake basin, the results of studies carried out with the support of UNDP should be considered in the current and planned initiatives, to ensure the effectiveness and stability of the processes, to strengthen the perception of the ownership of the relevant state structures, the protection of the lake ecosystem and the sustainable use of natural resources is also due to the diversification of the livelihood opportunities of the local population," he said.

July 15, 2022 at 13:30