World Environment Day Commemorated in Yerevan and Dilijan
YEREVAN (Source: UN Armenia Country Office)--The UNDP Country Office led a World Environment Day commemoration on June 5 in the UN Armenia Office. This is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
The theme for this year’s observance was "Melting Ice - a Hot Topic?" In support of International Polar Year, the WED theme selected for 2007 focuses on the effects that climate change is having on polar ecosystems and communities, and the ensuing consequences around the world.
UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon in his special message of the day says: "The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. The extent and thickness of permanent Arctic sea ice is diminishing; areas of permafrost, frozen for centuries, are thawing; and ice caps in Greenland and the Antarctic are melting faster than anyone anticipated." Mr. Ban urges everyone to recognize the need to slow the momentum of the dramatic environmental changes and that each of us should pledge to do our part to fight climate change.
In his opening speech the UNDP Armenia Deputy Resident Representative Alexander Avanessov mentioned that national policy and legal frameworks in Armenia do not address needs for adaptation to climate change. Armenia does not have a climate change adaptation strategy or action plan.
The research based on data of observations from 50 meteo-stations for 1930-1990 period has already proved, that the average annual precipitation has decreased for 5.8 percent and temperature has increased for 0.7 Co on the territory of Armenia.
He said: "UNDP has elaborated a joint project with GEF which is designed to address National Capacities of Climate Change Impact on the Affected Mountain Forest Ecosystems of Armenia by a Policy Development and Implementation of Adaptation Measures."
Guests of the day were representatives from the Ministry of Nature Protection, Simon Papyan and Ruzanna Davtyan, who presented the situation related to climate change in Armenia and progress of the project on "Strengthening the capacities of the National Council on Sustainable Development and Civil Society to Promote Sustainable Development principles."
The head of the Association for Sustainable Human Development, Karine Danielyan, also highlighted her organization’s contribution into the implementation of the project and presented several of their newly published books.
A film was also launched by Eco-Armenia coalition titled "Poisoning for Profit." WWF Armenia Director Karen Manvelyan briefed the audience about the film, which is about the underground resources of Armenia, the mining industry, and its influence on the environment.
According to the authors of the film--Vem Studio Director Manuk Hergnyan and script writer Inga Zarafyan--the underground reserves of Armenia include almost all types of metals--ferrous, noble, scattered, base, and precious. And as the mining industry is now regaining momentum in Armenia and the number of mining companies within the past three years has grown by 1.5 times, the harm caused to the environment is colossal.
These were the concerns that the film raised and were the topic for debate in a round-table discussion afterwards. The experts for the debate were Hrant Avetisyan from the Ministry of Nature Protection and Karine Danielyan.
In the second half of the day a concert by the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia directed by Aram Gharabekyan took place in the City of Dilijan, State Arts College Hall devoted to World Environment Day.