New Biodiversity Conservation Strategy on the Table
About 38 experts from the Armenian Ministry of Environment, NGOs and experts of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and Finnish Environment Institute SYKE discussed today the proposed Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Armenia. The strategy tackles the targets of the recently agreed Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
"This Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is very important document that sets up priorities for Armenia in nature conservation for the next decade. I would like to congratulate the team of experts for putting together this draft", Mr. Aram Maymaryan, deputy minister of environment, started the meeting.
To consolidate Armenian legislation in the field of nature protection was one of the themes discussed. Foreign experts recommended gradual consolidation of legislation to create the Code on Biodiversity and Nature Protection. This enables the prioritization of objectives on nature conservation (merging of the Law on Fauna with the Law on Flora, and future addition of Law on Hunting and Law on Protected Areas). Establishing strict protection of selected species (i.e. protected by the Bern Convention) and general protection of all bird species required by the EU Birds Directive were suggested, as well.
In order to fulfill the requirements of the Bern Convention regarding protection of identified Emerald sites, adoption of secondary legislation is required to enact the procedure for establishment of the sites, their monitoring and management.
Delegating some of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Environment to other organizations seems to be necessary in order to properly fulfill the international requirements and effectively protect biodiversity. The primary role for the Ministry of Environment should be on the top strategic level, focusing on legislation, budget (financial supervision), national strategies, international conventions and other political negotiations, and in steering roles in implementation of substantial activities. Other responsibilities should be delegated to other organizations where possible.
There has been a strong message from the experts to gradually develop an intermediary management level standing between the Ministry of Environment and regional SNCOs on the basis of the Forest Committee (e.g. Committee on Forests and Protected Areas – Nature Conservation Agency), responsible for coordination of management, biodiversity monitoring, PR activities, procurements, HR policy including staff training, etc.
"The goal of this meeting was to discuss proposals and priorities of nature conservation in Armenia together. I am glad that all the invited Armenian experts, scientists and practitioners met with the international team. We had very productive meeting that allows us to complete the Biodiversity Strategy in a way that it will become a master plan for the Ministry of Environment in the field of biodiversity conservation", stated Mr. David Lacina, head of the Twinning project and chief expert of the international delegation.
The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy will be now, based on recommendations from the roundtable, developed further in close cooperation with the Armenian Ministry of Environment. The final document shall be approved by the end of March 2023.
The roundtable was organised as part of the Twinning project "Strengthened protection and sustainable use of biodiversity in Armenia in line with the European standards“ funded by the European Union.
Photos: Anna Mirzoyan, Jindrich Chlapek