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The cooperation between the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) and VivaCell-MTS started in 2006 with the project: “Following the Sun - VivaCell-MTS and Children for Nature”. Today the brand “SunChild” bundles all environmental education and awareness raising projects implemented by the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) in cooperation with the organization’s General Partner VivaCell-MTS.
The current components of SunChild are:
The SunChild Eco-club Network (since 2006)
SunChild International Environmental Festival (since 2007 biennial)
The FPWC/VivaCell-MTS annual Earth Day Campaign; including tree plantings, garbage pick-ups and the flower recycling event at Tsitsernakaberd (since 2008)
The Pan-Armenian Nature Painting Contest and Painting Day (since 2008)
The Green School Project (since 2010)
The Animal Carnival Parade (2009/2011/2012)
SOS Culture (2011/2012/2013)
Additional FPWC/VivaCell-MTS projects are:
The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge
FPWC for Yerevan Zoo
In Novembers 2012 the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding with the RA Ministry of Nature Protection. Both parties see the paper as a basis for a broad range of joint activities and collaboration. The Memorandum specifies several fields of cooperation between the Ministry and FPWC among them for example the joint development and implementation of projects, the publication of articles and conference materials, the exchange of data, and the organization of conferences, workshops and environmental festivals.
For the mutual benefit both sides agree to contribute with their specific capacities to the joint activities. Thus the Ministry of Nature Protection agrees for example to support the project implementation by assisting in the solution of problems on administrative and institutional level. Moreover the Ministry will provide all necessary information needed for the development of joint programs. The Ministry also agrees to support FPWC in the organization of SunChild International Environmental Festival. The Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets will – according to the Memorandum – for example involve the experts of the Ministry in the organization and hosting of conferences and workshops. The Foundation binds itself also to exchange with the Ministry on frequent basis information about its environmental projects.
The SOS Culture project which is funded by the European Union within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme, was launched in January 2012 by the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC). With an overall duration of 24 months, the SOS Culture project is implemented by FPWC in cooperation with the dvv international – Georgia Country office and Research on Armenian Architecture Foundation. The overall objective of SOS Culture is to involve young people living in remote border regions in the protection of cultural assets in the vicinity of their communities. The project has also a strong environmental education component as it underlines the linkages between cultural and natural sites in the South-Caucasus region.
In November 2010 FPWC has signed a memorandum of understanding with the British organization World Land Trust (WLT). The World Land Trust supports FPWC’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge project on a long term basis. Currently the WLT contributes to the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge project mainly on two levels: Through WLT’s global Keepers of the Wild the rangers of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge are subsidized and equipped. Moreover the programme supports reforestation measures in the refuge. Through WLT’s special Leopard Appeal FPWC is enabled to undertake field researches with the aim to map the migration corridor of the highly endangered Caucasian Leopard through Armenia. The project has been initiated after the discovery of Leopard footprints as well as droppings and fur in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge.
Since its foundation in 1989 the World Land Trust has been working to preserve the world's most biologically important and threatened lands, and has helped purchase and protect over 400,000 acres of habitats rich in wild life, in Asia, Central and South America and the UK. FPWC is the only partner of WLT in the South-Caucasus region.
IUCN NL is the platform for the 35 IUCN members based in the Netherlands. The members are civil society organizations, scientific institutions and the State of the Netherlands. IUCN has supported FPWC through its programme Small grants for the Purchase of Nature (SPN). This programme enables local partners to take direct action and save nature. SPN provides funds for the purchase and protection of threatened wildlife habitats and vulnerable ecosystems. Over 22.000 hectares are secured all over the world.
Supported by a small grant in the frame of the SPN FPWC was enabled in 2011 to lease 540 hectares of land and to start a model project in nature conservation: the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge. The Caucasus Wildlife Refuge is the only privately managed protected area in the South Caucasus. Currently the refuge already comprises approx. 2000 hectares in the vicinity of Khosrov Forest State Reserve. The territories leased with the support of IUCN NL form a core area of the refuge with a high diversity of flora and fauna including a number of endemic and globally important species.
In close cooperation with World Land Trust IUCN NL has established a long term counseling partnership with FPWC.
The Urtsadzor Eco-training Center: Improving Capacity of Local Villagers for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity Resources
With the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme is currently implementing the Urtsadzor Eco-training Center project. The core of the project is the set-up of an Eco-Training Center on communal land of Urtsadzor village. The land is leased by FPWC and part of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in the vicinity of Khosrov Forest State Reserve. The proposed Eco-Training Center aims to raise the local population’s capacity to use the area’s biodiversity resources sustainably. Moreover, as the village population suffers from poverty and migration due to lacking job opportunities, the Eco-Training Center will offer training courses focused on methods to generate income based on environmentally friendly approaches and nature conservation
GEF is a global partnership among 181 countries, international institutions, NGOs, and the private sector that aims to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. The GEF serves as an independent financial mechanism to assist countries in fulfilling their obligations under the following Conventions they have signed and ratified: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) was launched in 1992 following the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The programme is funded by GEF as a corporate programme and implemented by the UNDP on behalf of the GEF partnership, and is executed by the UNOPS.
Involving young villagers in nature conservation and ecotourism activities
With the support of a small grant provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs FPWC currently implements a project under the title: Involving young villagers in nature conservation and ecotourism activities. This project is closely connected with community development in Urtsadzor, a village located near FPWC's Caucasus Wildlife Refuge. Through the project FPWC aims to offer young villagers new employment opportunities as locally available jobs are rare and as a result many young people leave Urtsadzor. In the frame of the project FPWC develops ecotourism facilities such as hiking and horseback riding trails, a modest camping area, and a bed & breakfast in Urtsadzor.
Large Bear Enclosure
FPWC cooperates with the Dutch organization Alertis Fund for Bear and Nature Conservation to set up a Large Bear Enclosure in Yerevan Zoo. Currently in Armenia approx. 30 Caucasian Brown Bears are kept by private owners under very poor conditions all throughout the country. The bears are used to attract customers to restaurants, gas stations and shops. These bears are mostly caught in the wild. FPWC wants to address this problem by setting up a Large Bear Enclosure. Following the example of the Bear Forest in Rhenen, the spacious semi-natural enclosure will be embedded in the Yerevan Zoo. Yerevan Zoo is an ideal location as it not only offers enough space for a Large Bear Enclosure (6 hectares forested area can be used for the cause) but can also be used as an educative platform to reach out to the Armenian society with an educative pro-bear approach. The zoo has 300.000 visitors per year and is managed by the FPWC since 2011.
With the support of the Coca-Cola Foundation the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) implements the Green School project. The project collaborates with local schools in different regions of Armenia. The aim of the project is to establish a school network for environmental education and the promotion of general environmental awareness among students, teachers and communities. The Green School project relies on practical experiences and hands-on learning methods. The students of the Green School are enabled to develop and implement their own green projects. They also join outdoor excursions and additional practical classes focused for example on waste management and recycling. The project also offers environmental education workshops for the teachers of the Green Schools in order to raise their didactical capacities and introduce them to new teaching methods.
With the support of US Embassy in Armenia the SunChild Eco-clubs in Urtsadzor and Garni/Goght have restarted their work. The young club members research local environmental problems and suggest practical solutions. The “SunChildren” also gain skills in the spheres of journalism, photo and video. In the photo/video training course the club members get introduced to the history of photography and film, to the rules of using photo/video camera as well as to the secrets of visual art. These skills will empower the club members in future to advocate for nature protection through media.
The “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise supporting the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. The Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) cooperates with the GIZ Country Office Armenia since 2009. The GIZ supports the employment of an Integrated Expert from Germany at FPWC.
Additionally FPWC works closely with the GIZ regional programme for sustainable biodiversity management in the South Caucasus.