YEREVAN — The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), together with partners Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) and Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) launched a 10-year development project “Forest Restoration and Climate Change in Armenia” (FORACCA).

Hosted by the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU), the FORACCA launch event was attended by a large audience of development practitioners and specialists. They were welcomed by Werner Thut, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland in Armenia, equally responsible for the Swiss Cooperation Program in Armenia, Hambardzum Matevosyan, Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister, Aram Meymaryan, Deputy Minister of Environment of Armenia, Levon Azizyan, Director of Hydrometeorological and Monitoring Center, Hrachya Zakoyan, Acting Rector of the ANAU, and Marco Pütz, Research coordinator at the WSL. The opening remarks were followed by a workshop with active participation of stakeholders from relevant state bodies, academic institutions as well as interested specialized non-governmental organizations.

In his opening remarks, Werner Thut recalled a number of alarming scientific facts and concluded: “Against this background, there is obviously a need for action on a large scale; and action must be taken urgently. This sense of urgent action is also clearly reflected in the Armenian Government’s priorities.”

The project budget amounts to 10 Mio. CHF (around 11.5. Mio. US$) for the period 2023-2033, if the financial situation of the SDC allows it over time. FORACCA’s three primary objectives are to advance the scientific understanding of Armenia’s climate change-related challenges and develop capacities to address them. Moreover, it promotes climate-smart practices in rural areas and forests. Eventually, it shall allow evidence-based policymaking for climate adaptation and efficient forest management.

The project clearly goes beyond planting trees. Rather, it tests new methods for restoring forest landscapes and assesses the value and role of forests in economic terms and for climate protection policy. Fundamental for better management practices and policies, it improves forest monitoring.

FORACCA intends to achieve this by bringing in cutting-edge scientific knowledge from Switzerland, building on no less than a hundred years of collective experience in forest, landscape and climate research. The project consistently takes a local approach: it will work closely with Armenian non-governmental organizations and local communities, as well as governmental institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and the Armenian Hydrometservice. Finally, FORACCA seeks close coordination and, direct cooperation with other international partners such as the World Bank project ResiLand.

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