Located in the South Caucasus, Armenia is a mountainous, landlocked country that is one of the most vulnerable countries in Europe and Central Asia to climate change. The average temperature of the nation has risen by more than 1.2°C since 1929, and the change in climate patterns has caused the degradation of important landscapes, including wetlands and watersheds.
In order to tackle these challenges, Armenia has launched an ambitious effort to adapt to climate change and cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions, which trigger the climate crisis. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recently spoken with the Deputy Environment Minister of Armenia, Gayane Gabrielyan, about the various plans and how the country is going to prepare for a new climate normal.
Gayane Gabrielyan, in her answer about how Armenia is addressing the environmental challenges, including the climate crisis, replied about how Armenia is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change in Europe and the Central Asia region. To reduce the vulnerability, there is a requirement for greater investments and greater integration of both climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. In this regard, the Armenian government is mainstreaming and integrating climate change concerns into national and sectoral development policies.
The adaptation plan process has been discussed by the government since 2016 when it undertook a rapid stocktaking exercise and conducted national consultations. With financing from the Green Climate Fund, the government is in the process of developing a national plan for climate change adaptation.
She further answered the question of how the Armenian government is incorporating environmental issues into its policy-making process. Replying to this question, she said that the government of Armenia has been mainstreaming and integrating climate change considerations in every sector. The implementation of energy efficiency measures and the introduction of renewable energy sources are high priorities, contributing to social and economic goals.
Some of the policies include the approval of the National Action Program for Adaptation to Climate Change and the adoption of the updated Nationally Determined Contributions for 2021–2030 under the Paris Agreement. Within the government, a special interagency council was established to streamline and elevate climate-related decision processes effectively.
Moreover, based on the Government Action Plan for 2021–2026, the sector-specific policy will fundamentally, be aimed at raising Armenia’s resilience to climate change with the introduction of the best practices of adaptation, by actively participating in the global efforts for low-carbon development, and by fulfilling the commitments made at the international level on climate change mitigation.
In reply to the question of how important global cooperation is in tackling the climate crisis, Gayane Gabrielyan said that everyone across the world acknowledges that this is an absolutely decisive decade ahead in which everyone has to prove themselves to preserve their shared future and common home. The goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and a low-carbon future can be achieved only when everyone comes together and is committed to doing their part with strong determination and ambition.
Armenia is a party to 10 multilateral environmental agreements that are administered by the UNEP and, within these frameworks, is actively involved in regional and global initiatives and processes. The direct and indirect help received by Armenia from the UNEP has played a significant role in shaping the environmental agenda and reforms that are implemented in the environmental sector of the nation.