Identification and Implementation of Adaptation Response to Climate Change Impact for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agro-Biodiversity in Arid and Semi-Arid Ecosistems of South Caucasus
August 30, 2011

Duration: 38 months

Geographical scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia 

Background

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.

 

Main activities
 
- To conduct field inventories and develop vulnerability profiles for agro-biodiversity resources in priority 
areas of the most vulnerable arid and semi-arid ecosystems
 
- To conduct gap analysis of the regional/local development strategies and plans related to conservation of 
biodiversity and agriculture in light of climate change aspect
 
- To review existing institutional capacities at  national/local levels to mainstream agro-biodiversity and 
climate change adaptation issues into national/local development policies and plans
 
- To develop set of measures to promote adaptation to climate change and conservation of agrobiodiversity and include into local development plans
 
- To review traditional farming systems and local knowledge on agro-biodiversity production to outline
their adaptive characteristics to cope with the changes in climatic conditions
 
- To organize series of training programmes for decision makers and local population on value of agrobiodiversity and sustainable agricultural practices to reduce climate change risk
 
- To develop methodology and introduce public monitoring system for assessing climate change impact 
on ecosystem
 
- To develop educational module and increase skills of school children in conducting ecosystem 
monitoring. Introduction of voluntary “green patrol” system for early warning and response may be an 
option.
 
-To implement pilot adaptation projects in selected communities
 
- To conduct information dissemination campaigns on replicating good experience from conducted 
adaptation activities to other communities of all three countries
 
 
Estimated results
 
- Awareness raised for better understanding of climate change risks and impact into agro-biodiversity and 
livelihood of local communities
 
- Enhanced capacities of national and local authorities in understanding climate change issues, planning 
and integration into local development strategies and plans
 
-  Coordination across national institutions involved in agriculture, forestry, land management and agrobiodiversity conservation in all three countries is strengthened
 
- Contribution to the improvement of livelihoods, and preservation of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems 
capable of providing the services we depend upon into the future, taking into account the latest climate 
change scenarios
 
- Capacities of local populations, including schoolchildren,  to systematically monitor and  assess risk of 
possible climate change impacts into local agro-biodiversity species are developed
 
- Exchange of best practices promoted