Duration: 38 months
Geographical scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
Biological diversity is essential to maintaining ecosystem processes and ensure human well being. Climate change poses a significant threat to biological diversity. Before climate change became a credible threat, biological diversity was considered at risk at regional to global scales in response to many anthropogenic factors. In addition to losses of biological diversity over the past 100 years the climate change represents an additional factor of impact on an already at-risk ecosystems. Thus serious decline in overall biological diversity is expected. Considering the necessity of biodiversity conservation (on which human livelihoods directly depend), an elaboration of integrated programme for sustainable management of biological resources in light of climate change risk need to be developed.
The level of biodiversity in the Caucasus is relatively well-known. Based on recent data, there are 6,300-6,350 plant species in the region. In this regard, the Caucasus is the richest floristic region among the regions of temperate climate zones. The Caucasus is one of the oldest and richest centres of agro-biodiversity and agricultural activities here date back to the 5-6th millennium BC.
Over the decades the biodiversity in the Caucasus has been affected by more extensive anthropogenic activities. For instance agriculture sector, being for many years a major economy sector in the Caucasus countries, due to extensive development over the last 50 years resulted into transformation of many ecosystems into arable lands, pastures and hay fields, which in turn resulted in changes and even loos of some natural habitats and ecosystem, significant environmental pollution, land degradation, salinization, degradation of pastures, etc.
The project has the regional scope and will address policy and institutional issues in the South Caucasus countries as well as pilot the activities in selected rural communities located in arid and semi-arid geographical areas to promote community based sustainable practices for agro-biodiversity use and conservation to reduce risk of climate change negative impact that benefit both the rural population and the environment.
Specific objectives of the project are:
1. To promote agro-biodiversity conservation and adaptation to Climate change through introduction of supportive policy framework at national and local level
2. To improve institutional and individual capacity for sustaining agro-biodiversity in arid and semi-arid ecosystems and increasing livelihood level in face of climate change
3. Support in development and implementation of coping mechanisms to improve resilience of local communities to future climate change through introduction of sustainable agricultural practices in selected regions
The project will contribute to the promotion of sustainable livelihood and alleviation of poverty via better understanding of problems related to climate change impact, its socio-economic dimension particularly affecting ecosystem integrity, rural production and food security by introducing of adaptation practices, developing regulatory and institutional framework to consider climate change issues in planning, enhancing local capacities for sustaining their livelihood level in face of climate change and developing the replication strategy to extend results of the activities and upscale best practices in other regions of the South Caucasus.