Developing the Protected Area System of Armenia: Improving Capacity Building and Management Regime

Project Description:
Armenia’s nature is threatened by overexploitation of biodiversity resources, unregulated tourism activities, habitat loss and climate change. The cumulative impacts include the accelerated loss of vulnerable habitats and associated species and the growing insecurity of ecosystem services.

Governmental agencies, site managers and communities have very limited experience with management of protected areas that allow for creative “multiple-use” approaches. Establishing new and improving existing sanctuaries generally requires the commitment and inclusion of local communities. Still, there are no good national examples of community-based/participatory management, sustainable tourism management, information-based decision-making, sustainable financing, and other concepts key to successful management of "multiple-use" protection categories. In this regard, creating and developing the institutional capacity building complements the project priorities.

This Project was a part of the UNDP/GEF Medium-Size Project on Developing the Protected Area System of Armenia.

Objective:
The Project objective was to build capacities and improve management regimes in the existing Zangezur State Sanctuary and planned Khustup State Sanctuary and Gnishik Protected Landscape (PL) and support community development in some adjacent communities.
 
Project Outcomes:
While improving protected area system of Armenia and their management, the Project also helped to promote connectivity and alleviate poverty in communities. The project enhanced the environmental, financial, social, and institutional sustainability of Armenia’s protected area system through achieving the following outcomes:
  1. Two new Protected Areas – Gnishik Protected Landscape (6,010.74 ha) and Khustup State Sanctuary (6,946.74 ha) - were established in southern Armenia, while Zangezur State Sanctuary was enlarged with additional 8,501.87 ha bringing it to total of 25,870.64 ha. The Governmental decree on establishment of Khustup Sanctuary and expansion of Zangezur Sanctuary was issued in December 2013.
  2. The mapping of the target protected areas was implemented including consultative meetings with relevant communities
  3. The management and business plans were developed for Zangezur and Khustup Sanctuaries and Gnishik PL
  4. The conditions were ensured for conserving rich biodiversity of Vayots Dzor and Syunik provinces in southern Armenia, which includes over 1,000 species of plants and about 200 species of animals, of which over 50 species of plants and 42 species of animals listed in the Red Book of Armenia and registered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  5. The boundaries of Zangezur and Khustup Sanctuaries and Gnishik PL were demarcated
  6. Agricultural machinery was donated to Kajaran and Dastakert communities as a measure to support local communities
  7. Protection infrastructure of Zangezur and Khustup Sanctuaries was established and enhanced through provision and installation of a number of furnished ranger shelters, roadblocks and preventive signs throughout the territories of the protected areas
  8. Administrations of Zangezur and Khustup Sanctuaries were provided with necessary field and office equipment
  9. Trainings on use of field equipment, monitoring of target species of animals and guiding ecotourists were conducted with the rangers of Zangezur and Khustup Sanctuaries
  10. Visitor infrastructure of Zangezur and Khustup Sanctuaries was established and enhanced through development of a network of blazed tourist trails, installation of information signs, publication of information materials and trail maps
  11. Partnership was established with State Environmental Inspectorates of Vayots Dzor and Syunik provinces as a part of anti-poaching activities
Funding Organizations / Donors:
UNDP/GEF, WWF-Armenia and Environmental Project Implementation Unit (RA Ministry of Nature Protection)

Implementing Organizations:
WWF-Armenia and Environmental Project Implementation Unit (RA Ministry of Nature Protection)

Project Implementation Location:
Vayots Dzor and Syunik Provinces, Republic of Armenia

Project Duration:
2010 – 2014

For Further Information:
Mr. Vasil Ananyan
Project Coordinator
Tel: (+374 10) 54 61 56 (ext. 17)
E-mail: vananyan@wwfcaucasus.org

Mr. Gera Voskanyan
Partnership & Communications Manager
Tel: (+374 10) 54 61 56 (ext. 14)
Email: gvoskanyan@wwfcaucasus.org

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