On January 16, a workshop on “Climate smart agriculture and climate change adaptation in Armenia” was held to discuss together with stakeholders the vulnerability of the sector towards climate change, possible mitigation and adaptation measures, present the scope of agricultural and climate change assessment being implemented by Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) Foundation in the frame of UNDP-GCF Armenia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) project, as well as provide an overview of concept policies and practices of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) employed in the USA. The event was organized by UNDP in Armenia in the frame of UNDP-GCF NAP project, CARD Foundation and Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Cornell CALS).
In his welcome speech, Armen Martirosyan, Sustainable Growth and Resilience Portfolio Manager of UNDP in Armenia, emphasized the importance of being more alert towards the effects of climate change, noting that global economic losses caused by climate change have increased by 2.5 times in the past 20 years, reaching USD 2.9 trillion for the period of 1998- 2017, as opposed to USD 1.3 trillion recorded in 1978-1998. Moreover, even in the most developed countries, losses from natural disasters account for only 53 percent of disasters and are incomplete, as only direct losses are taken into consideration. In developing countries, this figure is only 13 percent.
“UNDP assists countries in the development of climate policies, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation. In Armenia climate change related issues have been the focus of UNDP’s attention for almost 20 years. Today the total cost of the projects implemented in this direction amounts to USD 26 million, of which USD 3 million is allocated to the UNDP-GCF Armenia’s National Adaptation Plan project, which will allow to invest climate change adaptation measures in vulnerable sectors” he added.
To identify vulnerabilities of the agricultural sector in Armenia, as well as distinguish available and necessary measures for climate change adaptation, “Assessment of Agricultural Sector Vulnerability to Climate Change and Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Armenia” study is being conducted in the frame of UNDP-GCF NAP project. The assessment is implemented by CARD Foundation.
“Card Foundation has addressed the issue of climate change impact since the beginning of our activity. . At our initiative, the first weather stations were installed in Ararat Valley and Meghri to study the impact of climate change on the occurrence and spread of various diseases. The first drip irrigation system in Armenia was introduced by CARD Foundation in the demonstration grape garden in Aygehovit. The issue has always been and remains in our focus, and we are pleased to be part of this important initiative,” in his welcoming speech said CARD Foundation Director Gagik Sardaryan.
Diana Harutyunyan, UNDP in Armenia Climate Change Programme Coordinator presented the summary of climate change impacts in Armenia, forecasts, existing and projected vulnerabilities of agricultural sector towards climate extremes per provinces, as well as the scope of works and details of the UNDP-GCF NAP project.
Senior Research Associate of Cornell University Allison Chatrchyan presented the overview of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA), its concept and policies, while CARD Foundation expert, and Cornell University Humphrey Program Fellow Artak Khachatryan covered the experience, examples and practices of CSA. Results of preliminary research on the importance of involving farmers in climate change adaptation projects, including studies completed in Armenian regions, were as well presented.
Participants of the workshop also got acquainted with the overview, approaches, methodology and the scope of works of the “Assessment of Agricultural Sector Vulnerability to Climate Change and Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Armenia” study being implemented by CARD Foundation in the frame of UNDP-GCF Armenia’s National Adaptation Plan project.
A panel discussion with stakeholders on the issues of climate change in Armenia and vulnerability of agriculture concluded the workshop. Issues and suggestions raised by the participants will be further discussed and taken into account in assessment of the sector's vulnerability.