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Armenia and its partners develop new approaches for water resilience at the National Policy Dialogue on water

Country: Armenia
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

On 26 October 2023, Armenia conducted its 21ST meeting of the National Policy Dialogue on Water. This regular cross-sectoral dialogue is part of the country’s long-standing efforts to reform water policies and practices along with national goals and international commitments. This dialogue engages a broad representation of national and local government, academia and non-governmental stakeholders, as well as the international community.  

Chaired by the Ministry of Environment and organised within the “European Union for Environment” Programme framework, the meeting focused on water resilience in the context of increasing pressures, including climate change. The participants discussed the progress made since the updated Water Code came into effect, including in conjunction with ongoing water projects, and defined emerging challenges and priorities. Also, lessons learnt from the joint monitoring of surface and groundwater resources with Georgia in the Khrami-Debed basin and the next steps were identified.

Lilit Abrhamyan, Head of the Water Policy Department of the Ministry of Environment, said: “The National Water Policy Dialogue, which has taken place in Armenia since 2006, is an important platform to discuss the priority issues in the water sector, ensure synergies and coordinate inter-sectoral policies. Currently, the reforms in the water sector are at a crucial and decisive stage, given that by 2026, Armenia must fulfil several principal obligations undertaken according to the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership agreement with the European Union. In this regard, National Water Policy Dialogues will continue to play a crucial role in Armenia in the coming years.”

Mr Frank Hess, Head of the Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, stated: “We are strongly committed to enhance EU-Armenia relations. Working for the benefit of people and the environment is our shared goal. We are happy to see that, with EU support, river basin management planning, water monitoring and economics, data management, and transboundary cooperation have all advanced. As we face a growing climate crisis, water resilience becomes ever more important for our societies and our economies. It cannot be achieved without meaningful stakeholder dialogue.”

The meeting was attended by the members of Armenia’s Steering Committee for the National Policy Dialogue on Water. The cross-sectoral Committee consists of 35 members from the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy, Public Services Regulatory Commission, Regional Administrations and Universities, Institutes and NGOs. Representatives of the EU Delegation to Armenia and international projects and partners working in the Armenian water sector are also invited to attend the Committee’s meetings.

Speaking on behalf of the EU4Environment implementing partners, Mr Alexander Zinke, Environment Agency Austria, highlighted the Government’s commitment and action: “With support from the European Union and other international partners, Armenia has made significant policy reforms to tackle its water management challenges and strengthened transboundary water cooperation with Georgia. While further advancements are needed, we believe Armenia will meet its environmental goals.”

 

Background information

Driven by overdemand, mismanagement and the impacts of the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, water stress is increasing worldwide. At the same time, water is essential for the resilience of both societies and the environment.

In Armenia, water is a truly cross-sectoral issue touching all areas of the economy and the lives of citizens. Effectively handling water resources in a sustainable manner is thus crucial for the country's socio-economic progress. The revisions to the Water Code, which were adopted in July 2022, have set a strong foundation for continuing the water sector reforms.

Armenia has committed to reform water policies and practices as part of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union. This includes alignment with the EU water law, in particular, the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

For over a decade, the European Union has provided comprehensive support for reforming the water sector in Armenia. Both investment and technical support projects are ongoing.

Assessing Investment Environment in the Water Sector in Armenia: Insights from the Workshop on July 12th

Country: Armenia
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

On July 12th, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organized a workshop on the investment environment for water resources in Armenia, within the framework of the "EU4Environment: Water resources and environmental data" programme.

The preliminary results of the assessment of the investment environment were presented on this occasion: the participants also discussed their options for overcoming the barriers to investment in the water sector, as well as their opportunities for improvement.

Gayane Gabrielyan, Deputy Minister of Environment of the Republic of Armenia, delivered the opening speech, emphasizing the significance of the ongoing study. She noted that amajore challenge to enhancing water services in Armenia is the lack of adequate financing and finance mobilization.

As a result of these discussions, participants identified their top priorities, for which the research team will provide recommendations to address the obstacles. They also agreed to present the study's findings for discussion and input from interested parties in the coming months.

Read the news article in Armenian here.

 

(Photo credit: Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia)

Sharing water sustainably in Armenia: first consultation on the water quantitative management plan for the Kasakh sub-basin (15 June 2023)

Country: Armenia
Component: Water resources

On June 15, 2023 the first consultation workshop for the development of a quantitative water resources management plan for the Kasakh sub-basin took place in Antarut, Aragatsotn marz. The Ministry of Environment of Armenia and the EU4Environment Water and Data programme organised the consultation.  

The workshop was attended by 52 representatives of the beneficiary organisations, regional administrations, local self-governance authorities, local subcontractor, water users, water sector experts, as well as representatives of the EU Delegation to Armenia and of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme.

Discussions on sustainable water resources sharing among water users

For this workshop, the first results of the water balance calculations were presented. It includes the quantification of available water resources, the quantification of environmental water needs and the quantification of water uses by sector. Participants shared their knowledge of current and projected water use by sector and made proposals on how to structure the water balance calculations. The working group sessions were facilitated by the representatives of the Ministry of Environment, the Statistical Committee, and the Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Centre.

Participants stressed the importance of assessing available water resources properly, developing allocation mechanisms, and maintaining a minimum environmental flow.  

Given the structural water scarcity and drought conditions the sub-basin is facing, many participants stressed the importance of such dialogues with local stakeholders.

The quantitative water resources management plan

The EU4Environment Water and Data programme supports the development of a pilot quantitative water resources management plan for the Kasakh sub-basin. It is the first such plan to be developed in the Eastern Partner Countries. It is based on similar management plans developed in France for several years.

The Kasakh water quantity management plan aims to ensure a sufficient amount of water for different users, e.g. agriculture, industry, drinking water and aquatic ecosystems, at the scale of the sub-basin. The consultation process aims to set collective management rules, to develop water-saving measures and to adopt monitoring tools.

Workshop on water accounts on June 13th in Armenia

Country: Armenia
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

The workshop’s main objective was to introduce water accounts to decision makers. It was organized by the Armenian NGO Environment and Health in the scope of the EU4Environment Water & Data Programme.

Water accounting enables a consistent representation of the role and importance of water for the economy and the impact of the economy on water resources.

Water accounts show the stocks and flows of water between the environment (for example groundwater, rivers and atmosphere) and the economy (agriculture, industries and private households). This makes it easier to see what quantity of water is needed by which economic sector, and they can provide a basis for decisions on the allocation of water quantities to economic sectors, especially in areas where water is limited, as is the case in Armenia.

During the workshop, the participants discussed water accounts and the role of water in the economy of Armenia, physical water flows and data exchange, as well as water use fees and environmental taxes: better understanding of water accounts, which means better understanding how water is spent and how it circulates, allows for more efficient planning and more sustainable water governance.#EU4Environment Water and Data

You can download an explicative infography in English here, and in Armenian here.

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The EU-funded “EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data” Programme, launched in 2021, aims at supporting a more sustainable use of water resources and improving the use of sound environmental data ... Read more

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