The Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister Eduard Aghajanyan announced on his Facebook page on November 4, 2019 that the restoration works of the formerly forested areas at the intersection of Sari Tagh and Nork-Marash administrative district will begin soon. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan shared that news on his page.
“Fact Investigation Platform” decided to find out the current stage of the forest restoration process.
The background of the forest
According to the head of Yerevan forestry department Vardan Hovhannisyan, the park was planted during the Soviet period, in 1940-50s. The forest was partially cut down during the energy crisis of the 1990s. Restoration work began in 2004. However, the restoration was not complete; a significant part of the forest is still deserted.
This is clearly shown in the photos below.
At the government session on November 28, 2019, the former Minister of Environment Erik Grigoryan stated that the forest used to be bigger and today the zoning of a part of it has changed and construction has taken place.
According to the Nork-Marash community zoning plan of 2006 prepared by the Urban Development Department of Yerevan Municipality, the northern part of the Nork forest which is close to the populated part of Nork-Marash, is to be constructed; only the southern part of the forest is planned to be preserved as a forest.
The government allocates money
Weeks after Aghajanyan’s announcement, on November 28, 2019, 6 million drams were allocated by the decision of the government for the preparation of design and estimate documents for the introduction of a drip irrigation system in 45 hectares of Yerevan forestry. At the government session held that day, former Minister of Environment Erik Grigoryan said that the entire area of the Nork forest is 56 hectares, of which 20 hectares are almost deserted and need to be restored as a priority, while in the remaining part there are certain forest areas in which work also needs to be done.
According to preliminary estimates, about 120 million drams are needed to install a drip irrigation system in the area.
Nine months later
In response to our inquiry, the Ministry of Nature Protection informed that based on the Prime Minister Pashinyan’s order of August 27, 2020 the design and estimate documents for the implementation of the drip irrigation system of the Yerevan forestry near the TV tower are currently being developed. After their development they shall be submitted for the environmental impact assessment expertise. And only after receiving a positive conclusion from the expertise, the package will be presented for financing.
In fact, at the end of November last year, the government allocated money for the development of design and estimate documents for the introduction of a drip irrigation system in the Nork forest, and only nine months later the Prime Minister issues the order to start that work.