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Integration of Ecosystem Services in the Development Planning Process

On June 5-8, a group of representatives of the RA ministries of Nature Protection and Agriculture, “Armforest” SNCO, Yerevan State University and NGOs operating in the field of environmental protection participated in the course entitled “Ecosystem Services (ES) integration into development planning process”.
The aim of the course was to realize that interconnection between ecosystem services and development is an important factor in development planning. It was organized by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) Armenia Office within the frameworks of the “ES values: Methods for integrating ecosystem services into policy, planning, and practice (ValuES) “project.

BMUB-IKI funded this global project supports the professionals, consultants and decision makers of the ministries and other organizations to integrate ecosystem services in decision-making and planning processes, enabling comparative analysis of assessment methods, encourages training and exchange of experience. At the same time similar courses also were held at the national level in Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The course for representatives of decision-making bodies, civil society and academic sector in Armenia were conducted by Vardan Meliqyan and Arsen Gasparyan, retrained at the regional stage.
According to Vardan Meliqyan it would be desirable to hold such a course as well for the representatives of the educational system of the RA ministries of finance, energy infrastructure and natural resources. He did not consider untimely the integration of ESs in the decision-making process in Armenia: “ES assessment is a tool, some elements of which we can use now easily and effectively,” he marked.

The course instructor Arsen Gasparyan highlighted the course in terms of representing the biodiversity and ecosystem conservation from a more visible aspect to a wider community, including decision makers, entrepreneurs and government authorities: “In the whole world, including Armenia we lose biodiversity ecosystems, which is visible for environmentalists, but not for others, especially for those having impact on it. Any development can lead to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, which can have a negative impact on business entities for a long term, therefore those protections is derived from of their own interests. ”

Ulrike Troger, representative of ValuES initiative was following the training course process. During our conversation, she highlighted the ES as an additional argument to the process of sustainable development, which is an important factor with other intersecting issues for nature conservation.
“While talking about economic development, we often forget about the ecology and environmental protection measures, in the case of assessing the services provided by ecosystems we will take into account the importance of their protection,” added Mrs. Troger.

The course was successfully completed, also Silva Ayvazyan, coordinator of the Aarhus Center in Yerevan and Mari Chakryan, responsible for the Armenian Aarhus Centers website.

More detailed information on the ES integration methods policy, processes planning and practice can be found in this link: www.aboutvalues.net.

Mari Chakryan,
“Public Awareness and Monitoring Center” NGO
Translated by Anush Beybutyan