Switzerland invests 10 Mio. CHF for 10-year forest restoration project with Armenia

Press releases, 19.12.2023

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) launches a 10-years project "Forest Restoration and Climate Change in Armenia” (FORACCA). An amount of 10 Mio. CHF (around 11.5. Mio. USD) is envisaged for the period 2023-2033, subject to a recurring review by the SDC of the feasibility of the project from an overall budgetary perspective. 

Local farmers sorting the seedlings in the My Forest Armenia’s nursery on the eve of planting. Fall 2023, Lori, Armenia
Local farmers sorting the seedlings in the My Forest Armenia’s nursery on the eve of planting. Fall 2023, Lori, Armenia © SCO South Caucasus

With altitudes ranging from 375 to 4090 meters above sea level, Armenia is covered with different terrestrial ecosystems that play a key role in ensuring biodiversity and carbon sequestration. At the same time, the nation grapples with deforestation, forest degradation, and the first signs of the far-reaching impacts of climate change. Armenia ranks among the least forested countries in the region, with a mere 11% forest cover concentrated primarily in the northeast and southeast.

FORACCA aims to bring cutting-edge knowledge on climate change-related topic to Armenia so that national policies can be properly designed, and so that people better understand the need for action and react accordingly. Working in close coordination with a broader World Bank project ResiLand, FORACCA implements a well-crafted and holistic strategy for a climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable future for Armenia. Its three primary objectives are to advance scientific understanding of Armenia's capacity to address climate change and sustainably manage its forests; to promote climate-smart practices in rural areas; and to ensure evidence-based policymaking for climate adaptation and efficient forest management.

For planning and implementation, FORACCA is working together with the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (ETH-WSL), which is part of the word-wide renowned Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. In Armenia, the Armenian National Agrarian University, alongside the Ministry of Environment, actively participates in the preparation of this initiative. In the first year, it is decided how and with which local organizations the project should be implemented on site. During this first year, the specific geographic focus of the project will also be clarified. In addition to soil and climatic conditions, logistics and availability of land, the strong interest and capacity of communities to co-invest in innovative agroforestry and forest restoration will be a key factor in the selection of beneficiaries. At the end of this process, up to 7 communal and/or privately owned sites will be identified, preferably in the vicinity of established state-managed forests.

As such, FORACCA supports the implementation of the national forest policy, increases forest monitoring and helps Armenia to honor its international obligations.

With its focus on making available knowledge to the benefit of specific policy reforms and their implementation at the local level, climate-smart forest and pastureland restoration as well as innovative agroforestry initiatives will be stimulated. Thus, biodiversity as well as local CC adaptation capacities will be improved and domestic capacities for CO2 sequestration increased. Eventually, with its focus on sustainable and inclusive forest policies and management practices, FORACCA will contribute to improve livelihood conditions of often marginalized small farmers depending on forest resources – thus to the reduction of rural poverty.

For additional information, please contact Vardan Janazyan, Media and Communication Officer of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Yerevan.

Embassy of Switzerland in Armenia
Melik-Adamyan Street 2/1, 0010 Yerevan
Tel: +374 41 45 75 80
General: +374 10 52 98 60
Email: vardan.janazyan@eda.admin.ch