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EU and Armenia to launch a new programme: EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data

The official launching of the EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data programme in Armenia was held in an online format on 28 February 2022. The programme will further support the country in the preservation of its natural resources in line with the European Green Deal and a post-COVID-19 green recovery. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Armenian citizens, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme is part of the Team Europe Initiative on Water and Zero Pollution, which aims at moving towards a toxic-free environment for all citizens.

EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data reinforces the on-going EU4Environment Action in Armenia. It aims i) to support existing and new environmental policies and their implementation at local levels through decentralized management of water resources, and ii) to improve access to reliable data and information on water resources, but also on air quality, land use and waste to decision-makers and Armenian citizens. To this end, the new programme builds upon the success of previous projects like the European Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+) and the Shared Environmental Information System Phase II (ENIS SEIS II East).

River Basin Management Plans for the Lake Sevan and Hrazdan River Basins were developed under EU Water Initiaitve + and are now ready for adoption (respectively 4,700 and 4,000km², 200,000 and 1,6 Million inhabitants). Under this project, knowledge of water resources was reinforced through relocation and refurbishment of the National Laboratory with new high-end analytical equipment, upgrade of monitoring sites for rivers and groundwater, and more than 140 sites were covered by field surveys. Additional work on water data integration, laws and regulations enforcement and financing mechanisms were also undertaken.

The implementation of principles of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) to strengthen the production of environmental data and indicators in biodiversity, water, land, waste and air in Armenia was supported by the ENI SEIS II East project. The project developed Armenia’s institutional capacity in environmental assessment and accounting, and as an example introduced new tools for improving the accessibility to air quality monitoring data based on the EU Air Quality Directives and the Air Quality Index published by the European Environment Agency. As a result, Armenian organizations now publish weekly and monthly air pollution distribution graphs, quarterly and annual reports about air quality monitoring and interactive maps on current air quality levels.

The European Commission and the implementing partners look forward to continuing their engagement with Armenia under this new European Union support. Together they will strengthen the management of water resources and environmental data to benefit the environment and wellbeing of citizens in Armenia.

Frank Hess, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Armenia said “The EU and Armenia are investing in environmental and climate resilience for keeping both people and the environment healthy. Under the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement we made important steps to that end. Building on EU Water Initiative +, the EU continues to support, through the new “Water Resources and Environmental Data” regional programme, sound management of water resources in Armenia and helps reduce the adverse impact of human activities on water quality and ecosystems. In particular, the programme reinforces the on- going EU4Environment Action in Armenia and improves access to reliable environmental information (including on air quality) to Armenian decision-makers and citizens.”

Background information

The EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data programme is part of the co-operation framework of the European Union with the Eastern Partnership and has a total budget of 12.75 million Euros. It will be implemented in the period 2022-2024 by a Consortium of European Union Member States (Environment Agency Austria (UBA), Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and International Office for Water – France (OiEau)), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).