ArmInfo. Armenia is harmonizing forest-monitoring system. This was discussed at a seminar organized in Yerevan by the Eurasian Economic Commission, the UN and FAO, which were attended by more than 30 national experts.
As noted at the workshop, in recent years, serious structural changes have occurred in Armenia that have affected the forest sector. Forests, which were previously under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, are now under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Nature Protection - along with issues related to the preservation of the environment. These changes, the event participants noted, make it possible to create a harmonized and more effective system of forest monitoring and management, as well as create an impetus to complete the development of a set of criteria and indicators at the national level for sustainable forest management. This set, which has been developed in recent years with the participation of many stakeholders, addresses forest-related topics such as forest area, biodiversity, socio-economic impacts, productive and protective functions. Using the kit, one can transparently assess Armenia's progress in achieving national forestry goals, including reducing illegal logging and protecting forests and forest lands, and thus support evidence-based policy development. A set of criteria and indicators can also contribute to the development of a new national forest program.
Armenia is part of the "Accountability Systems for Sustainable Forest Management in the Caucasus and Central Asia" project funded by the United Nations Development Account (UNDA), which supports several countries in this process.
"The results of this seminar can make a significant contribution to the positive changes that have taken place in Armenia in order to increase accountability and transparency in the forest sector," said Deputy Chairman of the Forestry Committee of the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia Vahe Matsakyan. In 2017, Armenia ratified the Paris Agreement, pledging, among other things, to increase its forest cover to 20.1% by 2050. For several years, remote sensing technologies have been used to monitor forests in Armenia. As a result, forest information is regularly updated and made available, which allows conclusions to be drawn about the historical forest situation in the country. This information is used, in particular, to monitor and manage forest fires and changes in forest areas and the state of ecosystems.
"It is extremely important to create a functioning forest monitoring system that would assess the progress and quality of restoration work," said, Deputy Head of the UNECE / FAO Forestry and Timber Section Ekrem Yazici. Republic of Armenia is following approximately 23 countries who are already using this approach, which promises to improve dialogue and communication on sustainable forest management.