“Turn to the Law, Protect Yourself and Your Forest” was the slogan of a series of road-shows organized by ENPI FLEG in 20 communities of Armenia.
A group of national and local experts traveled to 20 communities in Lori, Tavush and Syunik for an open dialogue with local residents dependent on forest resources. The aim was to engage local residents in an open dialogue and encourage them to give voice to their needs and concerns over forest use, logging and its mismanagement in particular.
Experts discussed the very value of the forest as an ecosystem overall. Forests should be perceived beyond fuelwood or timber, or other income. Illegal logging was another theme of discussion, especially regarding the discrepancies between official and unofficial data on logging volumes. In this framework, ENPI FLEG has helped local residents understand their rights to have access to forestry information and to voice their opinion when a political decision is made on use and protection of local forest resources.
The key outcome of this extensive road campaign was a package of detailed and specific proposals which ENPI FLEG collected from community members and further submitted to the government. Among such requests one focused on the right to free access to deadwood to be used for heating.
As a result, “Hayantar” SNCO (the State forest agency in Armenia) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia have drafted a decree to allow the free removal of deadwood from forests by local communities. The decree received positive feedback both from communities, authorities and NGOs and was approved by the government shortly afterwards.
This legal act entered into force in 2011 and serves the rights of forest-dependent families by providing them fuelwood for free.