Establishment of Lake Arpi National Park – Ecoregional Conservation Programme in the Southern Caucasus Region: Establishment of Protected Areas in Armenia’s Javakhq (Ashotsk) Region

Project Description:
The Project is being implemented within the Ecoregional Conservation Program in the Southern Caucasus Region - a part of the Caucasus Initiative launched by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Project is focused on biodiversity conservation in the unique Caucasus Ecoregion and the promotion of trans-boundary cooperation for biodiversity conservation in Shirak-Javakheti as one field of co-operation between Armenia and Georgia.

The Project is aimed at preserving of the biodiversity of the Javakheti-Shirak plateau in Armenia and, at the same time enhances sustainable rural development in the northern Shirak region through establishment of the Lake Arpi National Park and implementation of a support zone program.

The Javakheti-Shirak plateau in Armenia is part of a large high mountain plateau of volcanic origin shared by Armenia, Georgia and Turkey. The Javakheti-Shirak ecosystem with its mountain steppes, sub-alpine grasslands as well as with lakes and wetlands is unique to the Caucasus ecoregion and was selected as priority conservation area Javakheti-Shirak in the “Ecoregional Conservation Plan for the Caucasus”. The ecosystem is recognized as a globally important staging and breeding ground for migratory and resident bird species, of which several are listed as endangered in the IUCN Red Data Book. Preserving this unique ecosystem calls for a coordinated approach to nature conservation and management across national boundaries, accompanied by sustainable development measures for local people.

On the Armenian side of Javakheti-Shirak plateau’s small streams and rivers originating from the surrounding mountain slopes drain into Lake Arpi and some smaller lakes and wetlands around and below Lake Arpi. More than 140 bird species have been recorded in the area of which 80-85 are also nesting there. Of those 80-85 are 7 species of global conservation concern, including the Dalmatian pelican (Pelicanus crispus) and the Corn crake (Crex crex). The endemic Armenian gull (Larus armeniacus) is breeding on the islands of Lake Arpi.

Project Objective(s):
To conserve the unique biodiversity of the Javakheti-Shirak plateau in Armenia on the border with Georgia and Turkey and enhance sustainable rural development in the northern Shirak region through establishment of the Lake Arpi National Park and implementation of a support zone program, targeting 14 communities.

Project Expected Deliverables:

Establishment of the Lake Arpi National Park
  1. Lake Arpi National Park is established (with an area of 21,179.1 hectares)
  2. Infrastructure of the Lake Arpi National Park is developed, including the construction of Headquarters, Guesthouse and Visitor Centre
  3. Management structure of the Lake Arpi National Park NCGO is established, staff is trained and operationalized
  4. Inventories, surveys and assessments, including the hydrological model are developed and carried out
  5. Water management of the Lake Arpi is improved; rehabilitation measures for Akhuryan River former riverbed wetlands are implemented
  6. Transboundary coordination is facilitated between Lake Arpi Naional Park (Armenia) and Javakheti Protected Areas (Georgia)
Support Zone Program
  1. Support zone program for livelihoods improvement in support zone communities is developed based on the participatory planning approach;
  2. Support zone program is implemented, particularly:
  • Potable water supply in support zone communities is improved through reconstruction and rehabilitation of water supply systems of 12 communities
  • Cattle breeding in the support zone communities is improved through establishment of the Artificial Insemination and Animal Health Center
  • Beekeeping in the support zone communities is improved through establishment of the Lake Arpi Beekeepers Association and Lake Arpi Beekeeping Centre, furnishing and equipping (particularly with honey packaging and labeling equipment) of the Centre
  • “Eco-Village” concept in Shaghik community is implemented, through upgrading and insulating of the municipality building and dwellings of community with dual pane windows and doors, upgrading of the dwellings anterooms, as well as development of public shower with solar heating system
  • Community managed Touristic Centre in Mets Sepasar community is established, furnished and tourism equipment/tools are provided
  • Camping areas are established
  • Community Development and Education Centers (CDEC) in Berdashen, Garnarich and Sizavet communities are established, furnished and equipped
  • Livestock watering facilities in communities are improved
  • Agricultural technique equipment for the Krasar and Tsaghkut communities are provided
  • The camper house (to serve as the municipality office) for the Krasar community is provided
Funding Organization(s) / Donor(s):
KfW Development Bank on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Implementing Organization(s):
RA Ministry of Nature Protection, WWF-Armenia

Project Implementation Location:
Shirak Province, Republic of Armenia

Project Duration:
2007-2014

For further information:
Mr. Karen Karapetyan
Project Coordinator
Tel: (+374 10) 54 61 56 (ext. 17)
Email: kkarapetyan@wwfcaucasus.org

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

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