Results of the “Baseline survey on climate change impacts to advance medium and long‐term adaptation planning in Armenia” were summarized during a webinar held on June 30. The assessment was implemented by EV Consulting CJSC, in the frame of UNDP-GCF Armenia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) project. The main objective of the survey was to collect and assess the baseline data on perception and knowledge, which representatives of governmental bodies have on climate change, its risks, vulnerabilities, impacts and adaptation as well as capacities to address, adapt and mitigate climate change related risks.
In her opening remarks the Deputy Minister of Environment Irina Ghaplanyan stressed the importance of survey results and implementation of suggested actions, particularly the strengthening of the institutional system and inclusion of climate change in the strategic planning policy, which will allow to advance the climate agenda, not only by one department, but by the government as a whole at the highest possible level.
«Even people in the industry often perceive climate change as an intangible reality. It is often described as a continuous process and something of the future. However, in reality we are already experiencing a climate crisis today, because, as we know, Armenia has already recorded an increase in temperature of at least 1.3 degrees, and at the same time precipitation decreases. While changing this logic of thinking, we must change as well both our perception and actions. In this regard, I think our today’s discussion is very important, and this research will give us an opportunity to understand the gaps present in the policy-making departments” noted the Vice minister.
About half of the survey participants mentioned that climate change adaptation is included in the strategic documents in their field, however, only 11.4 percent consider that it is comprehensively integrated into the strategy. About 40 percent of the respondents think that climate change adaptation is not reflected in the strategic document of their field. The main reason for not including climate change adaptation is the absence of such requirements in the guidelines related to the procedures of strategic planning executed by governmental bodies. The survey participants agree that strategic planning capabilities of climate change adaptation require a significant advancement, especially its practical applications.
Resident Representative of the UNDP in Armenia Dmitry Mariyasin emphasized the importance of creating a new level of understanding with society and within the government to smartly manage its economy, its health system, its energy system and other sectors, in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the sustainability and the future of the country.
«No government in the world is fully ready for the crisis that the climate change is presenting to us today. It is truly a crisis that is affecting all elements of our life, and the worst part of it is that it is a slow onset crisis, which people still have the luxury to deny today. Unfortunately, we will not have that luxury tomorrow when a completely new generation of diseases will appear, when our infrastructure will crumble, when our farmers will lose their crops, when tourism will be disrupted, when cities will not be livable, when landslides will make roads unpassable. These are very concrete things that metaphor each of the ministries. We really hope that today’s event can share some light on what we need to do to make all of us and the government as a whole a partner in solving this issue . We have the luxury of knowing that climate change is affecting the economy and the society, let’s adapt the way we work to that reality and let’s plan accordingly», he said.
70 officials of governmental bodies directly involved in the development of strategic plans and programs, representing the RA Ministries of Economy, Environment, Emergency Situations, Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Healthcare, as well as RA Urban Development Committee, took part in the survey. Water resources, settlements and infrastructure, natural ecosystems, agriculture, healthcare, energy and tourism were selected as targeted sectors.
Results and suggestions of the survey were discussed with about 40 participants of the webinar. These will later be used to assess the progress of the situation and clarify the scope of measures necessary to correct the identified gaps.