The mountains, forests and lakes of Armenia are some of the last true wilderness locations in Europe and need to be protected from illegal poaching and logging, and climate change. Since 2010, the Caucasus Nature Fund has done just that – providing more than €5 million in financial assistance to improve management at selected Protected Areas (PAs) of high biodiversity value. A German Foundation primarily financed by Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the KfW Development Bank (KfW), CNF is a long-term partner to Protected Areas in the South Caucasus. Typically, this funding ensures a basic level of financing – in addition to governmental contributions – for operational costs such as vehicles, uniforms, salary supplements, and small-scale infrastructure.
CNF committed more than €600,000 at the beginning of this year for 5 PAs in Armenia, but as we all know, by March 2020, the world was a different place and governments were forced to re-allocate funds towards health and social safety nets due to the CIVID-19 pandemic. CNF immediately realized, that in the absence of additional funding, the progress made over the past decade would be under threat.
And so, earlier this month Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan and CNF Executive Director George Giacomini signed an emergency grant agreement in absentia for an additional €500,000 which will support Armenia during these difficult times.
The money will essentially replace the governments funding for 6 months and will be used to support Dilijan National Park, Lake Arpi National Park, Khosrov Forest State Reserve and Zangezur Biosphere Reserve.
George Giacomini, CNF’s Executive Director stated, “Over the last few years, much progress has been made in the PAs and the lack of funding in 2020 could have had truly deleterious effects on that progress. CNF was created for just this purpose – to provide long term financing to PAs, and I am extremely happy we were able to increase our funding in this time of real crisis.”