вторник, 22 марта 2011 г.


21 March, 2011


Today, March 21, is the World Forest Day. Forests have invaluable environmental, social and economic significance. They help regulate our planet’s temperature, provide us with oxygen, absorb pollution, preserve water resources, provide habitat for numerous plants and animals, supply nutrients and healthy environment for people. International community in the frame of its struggle against global warming has set a goal to increase the forest cover of the planet to 33% of the land area by 2012. Member states of the UN have entered into agreements and are implementing conventions, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Convention to Combat Desertification.
Despite these global processes and the fact that the Republic of Armenia has ratified the above mentioned conventions, during the last 20 years the forest-cover of the territory of Armenia has reduced from about 12% to 6-7%. It still continues to decrease day by day as a result of illegal logging and inadequate management and oversight. Within the land use documents thousands hectares of forests are presented under other statuses and consequently are used for other purposes. As a result of such processes Armenia’s national laws and international obligations are violated.
The government of the Republic of Armenia announced mining as priority area of economic development without analyzing its consequences in the context of sustainable development and competitiveness and without ensuring appropriate environmental legislation. The new draft Code on Entrails developed with the consultancy and expertise of the World Bank has created more favorable conditions for the proliferation of the mining industry without restricting exploitation of mines in forests and specially protected areas and without guaranteeing the “pollutant pays principle.”
The expansion of mine industry in our country often takes place at the expense of forests. This practice has started with careless destruction of Teghut forest and presently extends to the territories of Kapan and Hrazdan. Only in 2007-2010 the category of more than 1600 hectares of forest lands has been changed and the areas have been allocated for other purposes. Instead, only 40 hectares have been added to the forest lands. To compare, in the same period, the Armenian government has allocated more that 3100 hectares of land for mining.
As a result of destruction of forests, our country may soon turn into a desert full of tailings of poisonous waste, lands unsuitable for agriculture, drained water sources and deteriorated flora and fauna, which will inevitably lead to the emigration of a vast part of the population in only a few decades’ time.
We demand from the Government of Armenia to stop devastation of our country’s nature that serves the interests of a few individuals and groups and undertake radical steps to forbid destruction of forests. A country with only 30,000 sq. km area cannot escalate the mining industry on one hand, and ensure healthy environment, safe agriculture and tourism on the other hand.


четверг, 3 марта 2011 г.