YEREVAN, June 17. / ARKA /. The Global Environment Fund (GEF) has provided Armenia with $150,000 for development of the National Program of Actions to Combat Desertification, Ashot Vardevanyan, Armenia’s coordinator of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, said today.
He said the program will be ready by the end of September this year and will reflect the current state of affairs in Armenia in terms of the threat of desertification, goals and their implementation mechanisms.
"The problem is exacerbated by climate changes. Nevertheless, although the situation is far from desirable, in recent years, about 25,000 additional hectares were set aside for agricultural purposes, " he said.
He said there are several factors contributing to desertification processes such as climate change, deforestation, overgrazing and improper use of agricultural land.
According to biologist Andranik Gulijanyan, only 11.2% of the country’s territory are forests.
Head of EcoLur non-governmental organization Inga Zarafyan said desertification is exacerbated by the operation of tens of hydropower plants, mining activities and ineffective use of water resources. She also blamed the government for what he described as ‘imitation’ of environment protection.
According to statistics, about 81.9% of Armenia’s territory (excluding the Lake Sevan and reservoirs) is subjected to varying degrees of desertification. -0 -