What we do
Armenia lies in one of the most seismically active regions of the world. Earthquakes have affected large numbers of people and caused significant economic losses over the past 20 years. The 1988 Spitak earthquake in Armenia that killed 25,000 people, injured 15,000, left 517,000 people homeless, caused significant damage to several cities, and resulted in direct economic losses of $ 14.2 billion. The landslide hazard zone covers one-third of the country, primarily in foothill and mountain areas. Around 15 % of the total population is exposed. Average annual damages from landslides amount are $10 million.
The population, economy, and environment of Armenia are highly vulnerable to natural hazards. Poverty incidence is around 30% and is concentrated in rural areas and provincial cities. A high degree of urbanization (64%) concentrates disaster (particularly seismic) risks in cities. The economy remains highly vulnerable. In any given year, there is a 20% chance that a major disaster will result in losses of 12.7% of GDP.
Armenia is at high risk of natural disasters, owing to high levels of exposure and vulnerability, as well as insufficient capacity to manage risks. he Government of the Republic of Armenia assigns a high priority to disaster risk reduction and has created and updated a sound legal and regulatory framework for DRR, signed bilateral and multilateral agreements, acceded to the international conventions, allocated significant resources, established structures to coordinate and implement activities in the field, and encouraged participation of civil communities.
The history of partnership of UNDP and Armenian authorities in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction goes back to 1997. Since then the whole approach and consequently the system went throughout serious transformations and reforms growing from the response oriented system to more Disaster Risk Reduction system.
For a decade, UNDP has supporting the strengthening of Disaster Risk management system by:
● Supporting the Ministry of Emergency Situations to establish and enhance national disaster management system;
● Pushing for changes in disaster risk reduction institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks;
● Increasing national awareness to promote disaster preparedness and risk reduction;
● Building resilient communities through minimizing their exposure to disaster- and climate change-related risks, enhancing the local disaster management capacities and, eventually, introducing a community culture to better understand and cope with these risks,
● Implementing small-scale projects to mitigate the risks of disasters in disaster-prone communities.
Some results so far:
- In 2010, with the Government of the RA Decree the Disaster Risk Reduction National Platform was established the active performance of which is aimed at building a disaster risk reduction multi-sectoral mechanism with the involvement of all stakeholders.
- In 2012, the Government of the RA approved the DRR National Strategy aimed at building a disaster resilient country and providing gradual increase and sustainable development of the safety of an individual and the society. The strategy was developed based on Armenia’s Sustainable Development Programme and Hyogo Framework for Action. After the approval of the strategy, the Government of the RA, with support of the UNDP, initiated the development and introduction of strategy implementation mechanisms on national, regional (marz) and local level.
- During 2010-2012, an extensive and targeted process was initiated for the establishment of 10 Regional Crisis Management Centres and 911 Emergency Call Services where human resource and gender policies were strictly observed. 49% of more than 100 employed are women. It is important to mention another initiative relating to the employment of the disabled; thus, 30 disabled people are now employed in 911 service.
- During 2011-2012, within the DRR National Platform and with the support of the UNDP and UNICEF the Academy has developed and introduced DRR educational programmes in kindergartens, elementary and middle schools, as well as in the training processes of specialists. Implementation of such projects is aimed at building a culture of safety.
- Within the frame of DRR National Platform and the support of UNISDR CASC, UNISDR/Global Education and Training Institute (GETI), UNDP, OCHA, MES and other partners City resilience concept and action plan was developed and piloted in one of the cities officially joined the “Making Cities Resilient. My City is Getting ready” global campaign which was later recognised as a Role model city during the WCDRR. The replication of the exercise is planned for the rest 22 Cities officially joined the campaign. Stepanavan, Kapan and Dilijan cities Resilience Action Plan developed by implementing the Local Government Self-Assessment toolkit and more that 60% of its recommendations were integrated into the City development 5-year plans. Stepanavan was recognized as a Role Model City during the “Third DRR International Conference” in Sendai, Japan in 2015.
- Early Warning System established at national level, in 3 Regional administrations, in 20 rural and in 4 urban communities.
- GIS based multi-risk assessment conducted in Stepanavan, Gyumri, Dilijan, Kapan, Goris and Sisian cities.
- In 2015-2016 UNDP supported the implementation of Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) programme in Armenia. GARD is an airport preparedness programme launched in 2009 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) and funded by the government of Germany. GARD is a workshop-based training programme that prepares airports and trains the airport personnel in high risk countries for worst case scenarios. UNDP provided logistical & national coordination support for GARD trainings and follow-up actions while DPDHL provided aviation operations training experts to coach participants on how to prepare for the logistical challenges posed by disaster crises, and develop action plans to evaluate the capacity of the airport in case of a natural disaster. Based on the GARD report recommendations Government Regulation was adopted in 2017 aimed at coordinating the cooperation and actions between the Airport and the relevant ministries during the big disaster.
- Capacity assessment for Disaster Risk Management system conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, UNDP and World Bank and the Action Plan for 2016-2020 was developed and provided to the Government for approval. Country-wide assessment was conducted by using priority directions of the Sendai framework for DRR as a toolkit. The recommendations, which came out of this assessment, will contribute to Sendai implementation in the country and are interlinked with the SDGs. Based on these recommendations the Disaster Risk Management National Strategy was developed and adopted by the Government of Armenia in April 6, 2017.
- The “Local Level Risk Management” common methodology has been adapted and piloted. This methodology is used with the direct participation of communities and serves as a tool for community risk identification and management. “Community Risk Certificate” has been developed that regards community risks and development processes as closely connected directions, and knowledgeable implementation of the latter contributes to safe development and risk reduction. LLRM was legally adopted by MES in 2018 as an obligatory toolkit for community based risk informed development.
- Within the frame of ECHO funded project more than 700 beneficiaries received trainings; Making Cities Resilient (MCR), Flash Environment Assessment Tool (FEAT), Get Airports Ready to Disasters (GARD), Minimum initial service package for reproductive health in emergencies (MISP). More than 12,000 public information and awareness materials on DRR (handbooks, manuals, booklets, leaflets, posters) were distributed to the public. UNDP in partnership with DRR National Platform partners helped the establishment of DRR mobile library distributed in all communities of Armenia and to coordinate public awareness campaigns in 40 communities.
- Within the established private-public partnership modality with ACBA Credit Agricole Bank and DRR National Platform for investing in DRR 40 hectares agricultural lands covered by anti-hail nets. Blending loan and grant resources to unlock the market for large scale replication of anti-hail nets were provided and 25 farmers benefited from the installed anti-hail nets.
- The Parliamentary hearings on Disaster Risk Reduction were organized and Parliamentary Resolution was adopted by the Standing Committee on Defense and Security of the National Assembly in November 2017.