27 April 2021

On April 27, the modernization of irrigation norms in the context of climate change and development of  a water sector adaptation plan were discussed during a workshop held in the frame of UNDP-GCF Armenia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) project.

In her welcoming speech, UNDP Climate Change Programme Coordinator Diana Harutyunyan emphasized the need to study the vulnerabilities of water resources in the context of climate change in Armenia, increase the efficiency of the governance system, and stressed the importance of the workshop in defining further steps in the development of the sector.

"Challenges and issues related to climate change are being nowadays discussed and debated around the world at the highest levels. Among these issues is the scarcity of water resources, the establishment of effective systems for their use, because water resources, in addition to being vital to humans, are essential for many sectors of the economy. Issues related to irrigation water resources are being prioritized by the UNDP-GCF NPP program, as water losses in the irrigation system account for more than 80 percent, while about 48 percent of agricultural land in Armenia is not cultivated and is subject to degradation due to the imbalance of access to water resources and the absence of proper water systems.  This does not only concern prospects for the development of the agricultural sector, but the country's economy as a whole as well as the food security. Thus, it is very important to understand the optimal way in which the irrigation system should be organized in our country, so that water resources management issues are taken into account while developing a water storage policy, so we can overcome meet the challenge of water scarcity”, said Ms. Harutyunyan.

During the workshop, results of a study implemented through a cooperation of local and international experts aimed at the modernization of irrigation norms in Armenia within the climate change context, based on the FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper no 56 were presented. Based on the FAO guidelines and based on international experience, this pilot study was conducted for main crops grown in the Ararat Valley to identify barriers and issues for accurate calculation of irrigation norms. Based on the results of the study, next steps of modernization of irrigation norms were presented, in particular, proposals for upscaling results of the conducted works and applying them in other regions of Armenia.

Objectives, context and expected outcomes of the development of Water Sector Adaptation Plan in Armenia, main challenges and impact assessment in the water sector in the context of climate change, and stakeholders analysis were presented to the participants of the workshop. Issues related to climate change policy in Armenia and its integration in the water policy were as well discussed.

Overall, 37 stakeholders attended the workshop and participated online, including representatives of the Ministries of Environment, Economy and Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, educational institutions, NGOs, and UNDP in Armenia.

 

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