The research is aimed at assessing the efficiency of the local self-governance (LSG) in forest and specially protected natural areas based on both internal and external criteria.
At the current stage the project team has summarized the assessment of efficiency of local self-governance based on internal criteria. The efficiency assessment has been possible through application of a 3-layer analysis methodology preceded by classification of provisions of Armenian Law “On Local Self-Governance”, which allowed to distinguish 3 groups of regulations. Thus, the 1st group cover the organizational basics of the local self-governance bodies, the 2nd group includes the LSG functions and activities, and the 3rd encompasses regulations on community budget, financing and development programs.
Through assessing the extent of efficiency of LSG against its goals and objectives in the selected communities the research team has come to quite interesting conclusions: the community objectives related to environmental protection are not supported by relevant functions, material, human and financial resources vital for implementation thereof. The LSG functions in the sphere of forest and specially protected areas are strictly limited and lack relevant implementation tools. LSG bodies, in their turn, cannot be praised for their initiative, full-scale implementation of their functions and undertaking additional commitments. In the result of this the LSG bodies in Armenia are not capable to ensure the right of the community to benefit from the ecosystem services of forests and specially protected areas, while the rich potential of ecosystem services and the opportunity of sustainable use thereof is widely recognized by experts, public authorities and LSG representatives.
Assessment of the LSG efficiency based on external criteria is on the research agenda for the coming months which will greatly benefit from the planned study tour to Switzerland.
The outcomes of the research will be published as 2 consecutive articles in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. In parallel, a policy brief summarizing the research results will be prepared and presented to the Government of Armenia. The Policy brief building on the research will outline the possible legal and economic solutions that may be useful for communities to move towards receiving greater benefits from the ecosystems services of forests and specially protected areas, as well as engaging in the management processes thereof.