On November 22, 2019, at the Tigran Mets Hall of the Armenia Marriott Hotel, the overview of the previous four years of the “Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus” program activities was presented under the headline “Key findings and Lessons Learned”. More than € 27 million has been allocated to the three South Caucasus countries for the implementation of the project in 2015-2019. The event was attended by the project’s partner institutions, including the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia, as effective cooperation has been established between GIZ and the Public Administration Academy of the Republic of Armenia over the past three years.
In his speech, Rector Arsen Lokyan mentioned that this cooperation had begun in 2017, when a staff member of the Academy had participated in the GIZ International Training on “Integrating Ecosystem Services into Development Planning” and came back with new ideas. These ideas took on a certain form and content after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between GIZ and the Academy, which was followed by the implementation of the project “Integration of Ecosystem Services in Local Self-Government Bodies”.
In 2017 and 2018, the trainers of PAARA participated in the Regional Training Program for the trainers (TOT) of the above mentioned training course, which was held in Georgia.
2018-2019 the training “Integrating Ecosystem Services into Development Planning ” was conducted locally in the regions of Armenia, by GIZ and PAARA with the support of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.
Overall 55 community leaders, community administration representatives, local council members and community servants from Aragatsotn and Shirak regions took part in the three-day trainings. As a result, several communities have begun to address environmental issues in their communities and have sought to find solutions. And Tsaghkahovit community has included specific environmental issues in its five-year development plan and action plan.
“As a final result, we plan to include 2019 “Integrating Ecosystem Services into Development Planning” training course in training programs for local self-government and community servants,” said Arsen Lokyan. “As for the training of civil servants, I would like to inform you that the modules of distance training are being developed with the Civil Service Bureau.”
Development plans and policies are often implemented at the expense of nature. Ability to evaluate and appreciate the benefits of ecosystem services can help decision-makers better understand how different policies and development plans can impact nature and ecosystem services.