Forest resilience of Armenia, enhancing adaptation and rural green growth via mitigation
Overall objective: By 2030 contribute to achieving ecosystem neutral green house gas emission with clear and monitorable adaptation co-benefits.
Project objective: By Year 8, CO2 removals from the forest subsector are increased by at least 7% via sustainable climate adaptive forestry investments and fuelwood energy efficiency with effective involvement of communities.
Component 1 (Climate change mitigation and adaptation through forest investments and technology transfer):
By Year 8, at least 2.5% of degraded forestland is restored and sustainably managed following a climate adaptive methodology.
Component 2 (Promoting forest sustainability reducing forest degradation drivers):
By Year 6, fuelwood consumption per energy unit output of targeted rural communities is optimized and decreased by at least 30%.
Component 3 (Strengthening governance of forest resources and climate change’s impact management at community as well as local and central government levels):
By Year 8, relevant stakeholders (including Hayantar and local communities) are enabled to adopt effective governance and adaptive management of forests
and related ecosystem services.
Hayantar is under the subordination of the State Forest Committee. Main functions of Hayantar are to ensure control, protection, conservation of biodiversity, restoration, re/afforestation and efficient use of state forests and forest lands.
In terms of adaptation, the project will target the rural population of two provinces: Lori (105 rural communities in eight municipalities) and Syunik (102 rural communities in seven municipalities), accounting for 377,308 people as direct beneficiaries.
Furthermore, the project's beneficiaries will be ministries, institutions, civil society organisations, the private sector, the Environmental Project Implementation Unit, Hayantar State Non-Commercial Organisation under the subordination of the State Forest Committee, State Forest Monitoring Center, World Wildlife Fund Armenia.
Component 1 is aligned with the Nationally Determined Contribution to increase the national forest cover to at least 20 per cent by year 2050. The project will support forest restoration to promote technology transfer and build the capacity of key stakeholders, in particular government and communities. Both mitigation and adaptation aspects are targeted to secure higher capacity of forests to store carbon and contribute to higher resilience of forests and dependent communities to climate risks.
Component 2 will concentrate on tackling the key driver of forest degradation in Armenia, which fuelwood harvesting, by promoting a transfer of technical knowledge and energy efficient appliances to both the private sector and rural households to decrease pressure on natural ecosystems and strengthen the natural regeneration and sustainability of forestry investments. It will furthermore support the government to introduce a new national standard for energy efficient heating-related appliances which will set a very high standard for all appliances produced and used in Armenia, helping the future transformation of the entire country.
Component 3 will provide support to stakeholders in creating the enabling conditions to execute the Armenia Forest Code (2005) and related bylaws ensuring sustainable and climate adaptive management and enhancing the capacity of rural communities to engage in forest governance.
Armenia is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change in the eastern Europe and central Asia region. Forests are highly sensitive to climate change, with a rural population that is dependent on fuelwood to meet their energy demands. This scenario is unlikely to change for some time.
The Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that under a business as usual scenario between 5 and 6 per cent of forests might be lost by 2030 as unhealthy trees and forest stands will become more sensitive to pests, diseases and fires. Additionally, rural communities are still heavily dependent on forests and reportedly are responsible for the harvesting of up to 2 million cubic meters of fuelwood yearly against an annual growth of forests of about 0.6 million cubic meters. Recent surveys on households' energy consumption concluded that due to the rising prices of fossil fuels, fuelwood consumption per energy unit output will increase. As regards adaptation challenges, forestry represents one of the lesser adapted sub-sectors.