UNDP Helps Preserve Unique Bio Diversity of Armenia

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–A press release issued today by the United Nations Development Program Armenia office says that the Global Environmental Facility–UNDP and the Government of Armenia’signed an agreement to restore Lake Gilly. The unique wetland complex of Lake Gilly was situated in the south-eastern part of Lake Sevan Basin and served as a nesting area for more than 100 species of migratory water birds–many of them endemic and rare.

Back in the 1960’s–attempts were made to drain Lake Gilly for agricultural activities. As a result–the lake wetland ecosystem received a serious blow–many rare species of birds and plants have disappeared from that area.

As well–the draining of the lake resulted in deteriorated standards of living for the population in the area who used to rely on the lake for fishing and hunting.

In order to restore the wetland complex and the bio-diversity of the Lake Gilly basin by initiative of the local community and "Khazer" NGO–the Government of Armenia–UNDP and the Global Environmental Facility joined efforts and came up with a proposal aiming full rehabilitation of the Lake Gilly and preservation of this unique bio-diversity complex. At this initial stage–emergency measures will be taken to restore the hydrological regime of Lake and to develop a long-term management plan for the area.

This GEF and UNDP project is the fifth GEF-financed project in Armenia–the remarkable feature of which is that the community residing around Lake Gilly will have substantial contribution to the restoration activities and assumed the responsibility for the long-term preservation of the Lake Gilly and its unique bio-diversity.

It is also noteworthy that the project document on restoration of the Lake Gilly wetland was signed 2 February 2000 thus signifying Armenia’s commemoration of World Wetlands Day.

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