The Armenian Government wants to establish a biosphere based on Sevan National Park. 'The establishment of a biosphere area will ensure the international recognition of the area due to its important ecological and cultural values. It will also ensure the operation of a mechanism based on local obligations and local opportunities, which is directed at the proper governance of the resource use, if needed, their preservation to support the current and future generations,' the Concept paper on Lake Sevan National Park Reforms and Development says, which the executive approved at the meeting held at the end of 2017. RA Nature Protection Minister was assigned to submit to the Armenian Government Sevan National Park Reform and Development Strategy and Action Plan within one year.
EcoLur asked WWF Armenia Director Karen Manvelyan whether Sevan National Park will lose its preservation regime by turning into a biosphere. In reply, Karen Manvelyan said, 'Biosphere or biosphere reserve is not a category of specifically protected areas of nature, under the IUCN. It's a format of land use by several stakeholders, which aims at sustainable development without causing any damage to nature. It has three zones: the first one is the main zone, where the specifically protected area of nature is, the second is the buffer zone, which surrounds the area and the transition zone, where there are different land use forms starting from the industry to agriculture. The biosphere area has no relation with Sevan National Park, which must be realized both in the government and in the national park. The National park must become its nucleus – the part of the main zone with all other zones.'
Karen Manvelyan also noted that large investments are needed to establish a biosphere. For example, in Germany, the state and the EU provide subsidies for farmers in the biosphere areas. If you guide a person to be 'green', you should support them,' Karen Manvelyan said.
In reply to EcoLur's observation that the concept paper also plans the development of tourism business, Karen Manvelyan said, 'A biosphere is not established to develop business. It aims to use land areas in an environmentally correct manner, and here there are specific limitations not only in the main zone but also in the buffer and transition zones. Whether our people are ready, for example, to stop the operation of Sotq mine and to become greener. Sure not. The villagers are not ready to cultivate their land areas without pests.'
Armenia still doesn't have any area with the status of a biosphere reserve, as well as there are no provisions on the preservation and use of biosphere reserves in RA Law 'On Specifically Protected Areas of Nature.'
15:39 January 12, 2018