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On December 9, 2004, upon the initiative of the Armenian Forests NGO
some 16 NGOs have applied to the mayor of Yerevan Ervand Zakharyan –
expressing a concern over the use of pine trees for the construction of
the main Christmas Tree to be put up at the Republic Square of Yerevan.
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Kotayk, November 30, Noyan tapan. By spring 2005 Armenian Forests NGO will plant 24,000 trees on an overall 30 hectares of territory near Kotayk village of the namesake marz. Kotayk villagers and volunteers from Yerevan partook in the local forest restoration works.
The works are supported by Kotayk village community office and Marz Center for Agricultural Support.
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“Armenian Forests” NGO was set up two years ago by Tufenkian
foundation. During this short period the organization has managed to thoroughly
examine the possibilities of rehabilitating the ruthlessly cut forests
of Armenia. In the current year, with the mediation of “By Farmer’s
Side” NGO, “Armenian Forests” implements a local community
forest rehabilitating project at the Kotayk village of Abovian region.
Photo Exhibition 12 February, 2004
The exhibition was undertaken by “Armenian Forests” and “Hayots Dprots” NGOs and the Helsinki Committee of Armenia.
The objective of the exhibition was to focus the attention of the society on the disappearing forests of Armenia and call to protect those.
Photos represented both Armenia’s beautiful nature and cut forests in different regions of Armenia.
The pictures were taken in Lori, Tavush, Syunik regions. Trees are violently cut in all forested areas: wood processing productions function. Armenian wood is being exported to Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Iran, etc.
The organizers demand put a ban on forest cuttings, wood export, entrance of techniques in the forest (trucks, electric saws, tractors, etc.), make stricter the control, motivate the usage of alternative energy.
The right to have healthy environment is consolidated by the constitution of the RA. Forests are the most important part of the healthy environment, the entire eco-system will be violated without forests.
The exhibition was held until the February 15th. This was the first exhibition, it yet should continue in Yerevan and out of it.
For more information about the exhibition or its organization in your district, please contact Armenian Forests NGO at email@example.com or (374 1) 541529, 582039.
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12 February, 2004
Karen Asatryan, a photo journalist noticed: “Art is a very strong means of alarming a necessary idea. It is just an alarm. We don’t know, what will be the response.”
Because of mass the illegal cuttings, the ecological balance is violated in Armenia. Many springs have dried out. Different varieties of plants and animals have disappeared. 82% of Armenia’s lands are subject to some levels of desertification. According to unofficial data, more than 1,000,000 m3 of wood is being cut in Armenia. The purpose of the exhibition is to come to people’s sense and remind them, that we all are responsible for the current situation.
The director of the Armenian Forests NGO says: “We call on our people to find strength, consciousness and wisdom to turn back from the way to the desert, to destruction.
The organizers of the exhibition made some demands for the forest protection, particularly, to put a ban on cutting for five years. Those of visitors, who were for, put their signatures.
The president of the Armenian Forests NGO Jeffrey Tufenkian mentioned the following: ”Nature in Armenia is very-very beautiful and it is just a tragedy to see how trees are chopped down. It is clear, that we won’t get big results by organizing these kind of exhibitions. It is just the beginning.”
The visitors were also expressing their wild opinion concerning the pictures presented in the exhibition.
These are the words of a visitor, “I am just shocked. The photos in the first room were very nice, where the beauty of our pure nature is presented. But the contrast is very big in the second hall, where we have seen cut wood and huge trees, which, may be, were 100 years old. All this made an astonishing impression on me.”
According to the World Bank estimations, if the cuttings continue at the same pace, forests in Armenia will completely disappear in 20 years. The title of the exhibition is more than symbolic, it may come true.
Hayantar will soon be taken out from the system of the Ministry of Nature Protection
of RA. This information was also proved by the Minister of Nature Protection
of RA Vardan Ayvazyan during the conversation with our correspondent.
But he found it difficult to give forecasts concerning the new status
of this body. It became known from other sources, that regarding this
issue two possibilities are discussed: one, that Hayantar should become
a self dependent unit, and the other one- it will get involved in the
structure of the Ministry of Agriculture of RA. By the way, the nature-protective
control function will be the right reserved to the Ministry of Nature
Honorable Mr. President
We apply to you concerning
the governmental decision of last week about the move of Hayantar GNCO
from the Ministry of Nature Protection to the Ministry of Agriculture.
We urge you not to sign the decision and prevent the intended change.
Nevertheless we are seriously concerned about the intended change, time chosen for that and the expected result. We’re sure that the change will worsen the state of the forests which is already disastrous.
From the first sight the transfer of the forest management body to the Ministry of Agriculture seems to make the situation better, but actually the change may have dangerous consequences for different reasons. State forest fund should be integral and be managed by one body. The transfer of Hayantar under the subordination of the Ministry of Agriculture separates the forest fund: specially protected areas remain in the system of the Ministry of Nature Protection and will be coordinated by the Agency of Bio-resource Management.
Hayantar and the Ministry of Agriculture have different objectives and functions, direct collision of agricultural and forest interests may occur, forest interests will subordinate to agricultural interests, and forest protective and forest restorative problems will move background.
We had that experience in the system from 1992, which was completely inefficient.
Besides today there are no specialists and appropriate body within the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the creation of that will demand additional expenses from the budget, while the simple removal of Hayantar from the structure of the Ministry of Nature Protection, creating a new body, will use the existing means.
It is known that the Government of the RA has contact with the World Bank about the Natural Resource Management and Poverty Reduction project implementation, and a component of that is the development of new forest policy.
The group of international and local specialists is developing a package of structural and forest legislative changes within this project.
The work is being finished and the package of changes is going to be represented for approval. The governmental decision about the change of Hayantar subordination is contrary to the paragraphs of the new forest policy.
We urge the government first to approve the new forest policy and only after that to implement the structural changes. And before that, we urge you to involve all the interested parties- the specialists, the representatives of the social sector, in the discussion of this problem, which also proceeds from the requirement of the Aarhus Convention ratified by RA.
We consider very important the state of the forests of Armenia, accordingly consider very necessary the integrity of the state forest fund, the extraction of Hayantar from the Ministry, the provision of Hayantar with large authorities providing the status of self dependent management body, with the authority of representing legislative undertakings.
We hope your involvement in the procedure will promote the protection of Armenia’s forests, reproduction and the expansion of forest areas.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
By Shakeh Avoyan
Fourteen environment protection groups and other non-governmental
In a joint open letter, they warned that the move could have "dangerous
The decision, made by ministers last week, removed the Hayantar forestry
The signatories of the letter, among them two Diaspora-funded charities,
"Hayantar and the Agriculture Ministry have different goals and functions;
The issue was discussed on Friday at a meeting between Environment Minister
However, Kocharian is unlikely to reconsider the controversial decision,
The total area of lands covered by woods in Armenia has shrunk considerably
The Environment Ministry periodically bans commercial logging and tried to
However, the measure appears to have not had desired effects, with