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WWF-Germany and its partner organizations in the South Caucasus - WWF Caucasus Programme Office (WWF-Caucasus), WWF-Armenia and WWF-Azerbaijan are involved in implementation of EU financed Project on Increasing the resilience of forest ecosystems against climate change in the South Caucasus Countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) through forest transformation for 2011-2015.

The Project is financed under the priority (Biodiversity and Climate Change in ENPI countries) of the EU Thematic Programme on Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Energy (ENRTP).

The overall objective of the Project is to increase the resilience of forest ecosystems in the Southern Caucasus, against climate change impacts and to improve biodiversity and livelihoods of local populations. The overall objective addresses the overarching threat of climate change to biodiversity and to forest ecosystem services which support the livelihoods of rural communities. Those services include protection of soils and water supply and quality, and timber and non-timber forest products. Objectively Verifiable Indicator for the overall objective is that: by 2015, relevant national authorities will have adopted and started to implement policies that will make forests and the services they provide highly resilient to climate change.

In order to achieve the overall objective, the following conditions need to be fulfilled: a strong and sustained political commitment to address the threats to forests from the impacts of climate change is needed. This will provide relevant governmental agencies in the target countries with a solid policy platform and the necessary resources with which to develop and implement strategies. Additionally, the forestry administrations need to possess the necessary knowledge and skills with which they can select silvicultural strategies appropriate to the structure and composition of forest stands and to then implement the corresponding actions.

The necessary political commitment is more likely to be secured if NGOs and the wider civil society lobby policy makers develop and implement strategies that would make forests more resilient to the impacts of climate change. However, NGOs and the wider civil society are currently not sufficiently aware of the potential negative impacts on forests as a result of climate change and how those impacts can be addressed by silvicultural measures that make forests more resilient, increase biodiversity, and improve ecosystems services (such as erosion prevention; increased supply of forest products such as fuel wood, nuts and berries).

The specific objective of the Project contributes to the overall objective by establishing the necessary conditions for the national forest administrations to develop and implement strategies for transforming monoculture forest stands into highly resilient, “close to nature” forest stands. It is proposed to do this through awareness raising about climate change impacts on forests, demonstrating practical measures to make forests more resilient, and providing forest administrations staff and local community members who use forests with the necessary knowledge and skills to transfer the development and implementation of transformation measures to other forest stands.

To achieve the specific objective, the following objectively verifiable indicators are proposed by the end of the Project:

 forest stands structures have been transformed in such a way that they will be highly resilient to climate change on pilot sites;
 forest stands potential to enhance the livelihoods of neighbouring communities will have increased on selected pilot sites; and
 the chief executives and heads of the policy and planning departments of forest administrations and heads of relevant departments in the forest administrations show a demonstrable increase in their awareness of climate change impacts on forests and motivation to develop strategies for making forests more resilient.

Expected Results
Result 1: Selected forest stands in all three countries of the South Caucasus region vulnerable to climate change have been transformed into highly resilient "close to nature" forest stands.

Result 2: Silvicultural guidelines for the transformation of monoculture stands into more resilient stands are elaborated, published in three languages and made available for relevant officials and experts.

Result 3: The capacities of forest administration experts to develop silvicultural strategies to transform monoculture stands into stable, site-adapted forests are increased.

Result 4: The awareness of local communities about the importance of forest rehabilitation with regard to mitigating negative biotic and abiotic impacts of climate change is improved.

The Project Components
The activities of the Project are arranged into four work packages:

1. Research and demonstration package, which will develop and pilot silvicultural measures for transforming forest stands that are vulnerable to climate change into resilient forest stands and provide practical experience in the target countries which can be used as a basis for training materials and as demonstration sites;

2. Dissemination package for the forest administrations in the target countries that includes information and materials on forest transformation measures that can be applied to all forest stands vulnerable to climate change in the target countries. The materials will be the silvicultural guidelines, a popular report describing the activities, results and lessons learned from the Project, and the training modules;

3. Capacity-building package, which is designed to train staff of the forest administrations to develop and implement strategies for transforming forest stands more widely in the target countries after the action has been completed, and to create the supportive policy environment for the forest administrations to be able to develop and implement strategies for making forests more resilient to the impacts of climate change;

4. Awareness raising package, which is aimed at building the awareness in the communities adjacent to the pilot sites and local NGOs and CBOs active in the locality of the pilot sites about the impacts of climate change on forests and forest services and at involving them in the implementation of the action at the pilot sites.

In addition to the four main work packages the Project includes an inception phase and a closure and reporting phase after the end of the Project. The Project will also conduct communication and visibility activities.

Sustainability and Follow-up
The Project research and demonstration component will produce transferable methods for transforming forest stands that are vulnerable to climate change impacts into more resilient stands. The action will create two demonstration sites in each of the three countries at which transformation measures can be shown and explained to forestry technicians and which can be used (together with neighbouring control stands) to assess the long term impacts of the measures.

The capacity building component of the action will provide knowledge and skills in designing and implementing transformation measures to 60 forestry administration staff in the target countries. Community members and local NGOs, CBOs, and self-governance bodies in the pilot site’s locality will acquire knowledge and skills that enable them to continue participating in the management of the transformed stands and other stands at the sites. The number of final beneficiaries in the communities, local NGOs, CBOs, and local self-governance bodies will depend on the choice of pilot sites.

The communications component will engage around 120 policy makers and opinion formers based in the target countries. The goal is to create a more supportive policy environment which will facilitate the development and implementation of policies aimed at tackling climate change impacts on forests.

The potential for replication is substantial. The total area of forest plantations in the target countries is 90,000 hectares; the area vulnerable to climate change is about 20,000 - 30,000 hectares. The area of managed forest with severely diminished biodiversity and consequently high vulnerability to climate change comprises a substantial proportion of the total forest stand in the target countries. Critical factors that will determine the extent to which the action will be extended are: the motivation of the environment ministries and forestry administrations (addressed by the communication component of the Project) and the availability of funding for implementing measures.

The transformation methods developed and demonstrated will be disseminated by with popular report, practical handbook on how to prepare & implement transformation plans for forest stands. The publications will be launched at events to which high level representatives of the target countries. The publications will also be given out at the training events for forest administration technicians and a stock will be given to the forestry administrations for subsequent wider distribution. The pilot sites will be available for demonstrating the measures after the Project completion.

Based on the project partners experience from implementing other actions in the three countries, in particular forest restoration projects, the overall level of risk is low to medium.

Follow-up actions which will be required to sustain the results after completion of the action are:

 maintenance of pilot sites so that they serve as demonstration sites and provide information;
 about long term impacts of the selected transformation measures on forest resilience;
 adoption of policies and the development and implementation of strategies for making vulnerable stands resilient to climate change;
 implementation of strategies for making vulnerable stands resilient to climate change.

Maintenance of the pilot sites will require financing, but the amount of work involved will be relatively small. It may be possible for the forestry administrations to make agreements with local communities to carry out work in return for a share of the benefits from the demonstration sites (a form of joint forest management). In order to establish the soundest possible basis for sustainability, the pilot sites will be chosen where the forest owners will incorporate these areas into their forest management programmes; hence maintenance and tending will be safeguarded for the long term. Adoption of policies and the implementation of strategies that will extend the results of the action to the target countries’ forests will require that the ministries of environment and forestry administrations are motivated, operating in a conducive policy environment, and have staff with the necessary knowledge and skills. The Project is designed to address all of these requirements through its awareness-raising and capacity building activities. Thus, the methods developed to transform the monoculture stands into ‘close to nature’ forestry will be adopted and incorporated into forest policies and thus into the work plans of the relevant countries.

Implementation of strategies will require technicians and a work force with the necessary knowledge, skills, and money. The Project addresses knowledge and skills through its capacity building component. Financing for the physical work of implementing transformation measures cannot be guaranteed, but the availability of funds will be made more likely by creating a favourable policy environment in which the relevant governmental agencies and forest administrations can make a viable case for funding.

Role and Participation in the Project of Actors and Stakeholders
WWF-Germany as leading organization is in charge overall of the Project implementation and supervision and responsible for ensuring quality standards, compliance with procedures, and maintaining the Project accounts. In addition, it is directly responsible for the preparation, management and implementation of the Project activities with its partners and is not acting as an intermediary. WWF-Caucasus provides the Project coordination at the regional level and implements the Georgia component of the Project. WWF-Armenia implements the Armenia component of the Project and WWF-Azerbaijan implements the Azerbaijan component of the Project.

The Project implementers will sub-contract service providers to carry out or to provide input for: organizing the regional workshop on forest transformation measures; preparation of country transformation plans for the pilot sites; implementation of the transformation measures; organizing and leading the study tour to Germany; translation and interpretation services at several of the planned workshops and media events; publication design and printing services.

The forest administrations will make forest stands available for piloting the transformation measures. They will participate in selecting stands and planning and implementing the measures at the pilot sites. Senior forest administration staff will participate in awareness-raising workshops and (together with policy makers from the governmental agencies) the study tour to Germany. Technical staff of the forestry administrations will participate in trainings.

Local communities, NGOs, CBOs and representatives of local self-governance will participate in awareness-raising workshops. Individual members of local communities will participate in the implementation of the transformation measures at the pilot sites and in subsequent maintenance.

High level representatives of relevant institutions, legislators, policy makers, opinion formers including representatives of relevant parliamentary committees, national governments, foreign governments, and international, regional and national NGOs, will participate in high level communication events.

TV, radio, and print media will participate in the events for high level representatives and local events at which the action and local community involvement in the action will be demonstrated.

Description of the Project Partners

WWF-Germany : Leading Organization

• Full legal name: Umweltstiftung WWF Deutschland
• Nationality: founded in Germany on 31 March 1963
• Legal status: non-profitable, member-based national organization/foundation under the German civil law
• Governance: governed by the elected Board
• EuropeAid ID number: DE-2007-DUR-2711446605

WWF-Caucasus : Project Partner in Georgia and Regional Partner in the South Caucasus

• Full legal name: WWF Caucasus Programme Office
• Nationality: registered in Georgia as branch of WWF-International (Switzerland) in 1994 under the name - WWF Georgia Project Office, re-registered under the current name as branch of WWF-International in 2003
• Legal status: non member-based branch of a foreign non-profitable organization in Georgia
• Governance: governed by representative (director) appointed by WWF-International
• EuropeAid ID number: GE-2009-GVP-0806306705

WWF-Armenia : Project Partner in Armenia

• Full legal name: WWF Armenian Branch
• Nationality: registered in Armenia as branch of WWF-International (Switzerland) in 2006
• Legal status: non member-based branch of a foreign non-profitable organization in Armenia
• Governance: governed by representative (director) appointed by WWF-International
• EuropeAid ID number: AM-2009-FDI-2505192407

WWF-Azerbaijan : Project Partner in Azerbaijan

• Full legal name: Branch Office of the WWF in the Azerbaijan Republic
• Nationality: registered in Azerbaijan as branch of WWF-International (Switzerland) in 2006
• Legal status: non member-based branch of a foreign non-profitable organization in Azerbaijan
• Governance: governed by representative (head) appointed by WWF-International
• EuropeAid ID number: AZ-2009-FUT-2705213985

Working Tools for the Project Implementation

The EU Practical Guide is one of the the sole working tools, which explains the implementing procedures applying to all EU external aid contracts – including EU ENRTP Caucasus Project.

Practical Guide to contract procedures for EU external actions

Communication and Visibility Manual for EU External Actions has been designed to ensure that actions that are wholly or partially funded by the European Union (EU) incorporate information and communication activities designed to raise the awareness of specific or general audiences of the reasons for the action and the EU support for the action in the country or region concerned, as well as the results and the impact of this support.

Communication and Visibility Manual for EU External Actions


Project Data

Start date: 01 March, 2011
Planned end date: 01 March, 2015
Location: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Germany
Project budget: 1,838,913.00 EUR
of which: EC Contribution - 80%, WWF Contribution - 20%
Thematic Programme: ENRTP
Priority: Biodiversity and Climate Change in ENPI countries
Reference: EuropeAid/128320/C/ACT/Multi
Project number: DCI-ENV/2010/221391

Project Phases, Thematic Components and Main Activities

Thematic Programme on Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Energy (ENRTP)

Thematic programmes of the European Commission (EC) are operated within the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI). The ENPI is the main European Union external assistance instrument operating in Eastern European and South Caucasus countries. The thematic programmes are meant for financing priority areas not covered by ENPI National, Regional, Interregional or Cross-Border programmes. One of the EC thematic programmes is on Environment and sustainable management of natural resources including energy (ENRTP), which covers topics such as Forests, Biodiversity, Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resources. The EC thematic programmes can be used as additional opportunities for social-economic development in European Neighbourhood (ENP) countries and for solving related problems not already addressed by the other ENPI programmes.

Final Narrative Report

Climate change, forest and people

Short movie