Supporting the process of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves establishment in Armenia


The Southern Caucasus is a global biodiversity hotspot. Yet, biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate mainly due to an unsustainable land use. Thus it has a priority need for protection. Also, the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events (e.g., drought, hot dry winds, hail and spring frosts), have become more frequent and extended in recent decades.

In Armenia the urgency to address the loss of biodiversity and the impacts of climate change is stressed in national strategies and action programmes. These are stating the need for vulnerability assessments, adaptation strategies and related projects. In order to safeguard the natural biodiversity of the country and to promote environmental education and ecotourism, the government of Armenia lately has recognized a potential in the concept and expressed a strong interest in the development of a biosphere reserve in Armenia.

The Michael Succow Foundation together with the Centre for Ecological-Noosphere Studies (CENS or Ecocentre) support the process of establishing UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs) in Armenia. CENS is a state non-profit multi-disciplinary research organization engaged in fundamental and applied studies in the area of ecology and environmental protection,

The project “Sustainable regional development in Armenia – an analysis of potentials for UNESCO biosphere reserve establishment” analyses the potential of climate vulnerable regions in Armenia to become biosphere reserves (BRs) and act as model regions for sustainable development and climate change adaptation.

The project will not only provide an overview of potential BR-sites in Armenia but also a base for further projects to establish BRs in Armenia. Therefore, two feasibility studies for selected areas will be he main outcome of this project.

These positive effects will be supported by stipulation and strengthening the capacities and knowledge about the concept of the UNESCO MAB programme by involving diverse stakeholders in the various processes and making information material available in Armenian language. The foundation's project partner in Armenia therefore is the Center for Ecological-Noosphere Studies National Academy of Sciences (CENS).

This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) – „Capacity Development for Climate Policy in the countries of South East, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, Phase III“. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.


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Anja Salzer: anja.salzer(at)