Developing the Protected Area System of Armenia

What we do

 “Zangezur” State Sanctuary

Armenia is part of WWF’s “Global 200” and “Caucasus Hotspot”. The National Protected Area System was established in 1958 to protect high number of flora and fauna diversity. Current system of protected areas covers ca. 10 percent of the territory of the country. However, these areas are ecologically isolated and fail to incorporate a wide variety of habitats. Major threats are habitat loss and overexploitation.

The long-term solution is to alleviate habitat fragmentation through a functional, ecologically representative, well-managed and sustainably financed protected area network, which should include adequate examples of all biomes present in Armenia.

The project focuses on rationalization of the Protected Area System through improving the regulatory and institutional framework and institutional capacity building by piloting a suite of largely absent tools, such as active community participation in Protected Area management.

UNDP supports national partners in:

  • Revising national legislation on Specially Protected Nature Areas;
  • Establishing new protected areas;
  • Developing new approaches in participatory management of protected areas by the local communities;
  • Developing and assisting in implementation of management and action plans for newly established protected areas;
  • Implementing training programs for sanctuary managers and local communities.

Some results so far

A package of 4 draft laws is developed and submitted to the National Parliament of Armenia for approval. The package includes the draft laws on changes of RA laws on “Specially Protected Nature Areas”, “Local Self-governance”, “Environmental Supervision”, on RA Land code. Of them the “Law on Specially Protected Natural Areas” in fact is fully rewritten.

With the project support the Government of the Republic of Armenia enlarged acting “Zangezur” State Sanctuary on 8,501.87 ha (total surface 25870.64 ha) and established “Khustup” State Sanctuary (6,946.74 ha) through Government Decree N1465-N of 19 December 2014.  

Consolidated [draft] management and business plans for “Zangezur” and “Khustup” state sanctuaries, as well as “Shikahogh” State Reserve and “Plane Grove” State sanctuary are prepared and posted in the web-site of the Ministry of Nature Protection for comments and suggestions.

The communities of Areni, Gnishik and Khachik have established “Gnishik” community managed protected area and approved its management plan, as well as approved Consolidated Management and Business Plan for Gnishik Protected Landscape and Gnishik Protected Landscape Support Zone Economic Development Plan.

To support Management and business plan implementation on the ground total 151 demarcation signs (Khustup – 56, Zangezur – 64, Gnishik - 31), 4 furnished ranger shelters (Khustup – 1, Zangezur – 2, Gnishik - 1), 11 roadway gates (Khustup – 3, Zangezur – 5, Gnishik - 3), 22 precaution signs (Khustup – 3, Zangezur – 7, Gnishik - 12), 12 information signs (Khustup – 1, Zangezur – 2, Gnishik - 9), and 18 tourist route signs (Khustup – 6, Zangezur – 3, Gnishik - 9) were installed.

In Gnishik, near the towen of Yeghegnadzor, an Information Center is established equipped with guest and office houses. The area is indicated by information signs and a road sign.

Around 100 participants representing 20 local communities attended two-day public awareness raising seminars on SPNAs in Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions.

Twelve protected area managers from Armenia increased their knowledge and skills in protected area community co-management in Austria and Slovenia.

Nine protected area managers from Austria and Slovenia shared their knowledge with managers of five protected areas in Armenia. 

Nine protected area managers and civil servants of the Ministry of Nature Protection and nine local community leaders attended a training designed by the project and funded by the Nuffic, The Netherlands. The training is implemented by the Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen University and Research with involvement of project staff.

Who Finances it?


Donor name

Amount contributed





 Ministry of Nature Protection


Delivery in previous fiscal year

December 2013

 $ 183,179.88

December 2012

 $ 257,881.64

December 2011

 $ 193,332.62

December 2010  $ 196,754.16

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