“Armenia has a beautiful nature, a fantastic landscape, a deep culture, and it’s natural that you have “Territories Of Life” here,” ICCA Consortium Global Coordinator Grazia Borrini said, during the regional conference of ICCA Consortium (Indigenous Communities or communities for conserved areas). The ideology of ICCA Consortium coincides with the main mission of creating the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR), so it has a great importance in their dissemination.
In June Y2019, an important event, in terms of community development, took place in Armenia. The ICCA Consortium Regional Conference aims to support the communities in Armenia to become a part of “ICCA” large family, to identify and proclaim “Territories of life”, as well as exchange experiences through direct communication and training. Within the framework of the conference, the participants visited the Vardahovit community of Vayots Dzor, the first in Armenia, which expressed its desire to become a ” Territory of Life.”
The Founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) Ruben Khachatryan, speaking on the importance of the conference, said: “There’s only one intention. How to make sure that the protected areas become sustainable, the communities that lived there for long centuries, are engaged with nature, are tied with the environment, they appreciate it, and use their ties and traditions to promote for nature conservation ever more. ”
Another participant of the conference, Aibek Samakov, assured: “I can definitely say that the local population has a deep and sincere connection to the environment, and there are such institutions, traditions, informal rules that allow residents to manage their community areas.”
During the visit to Vardahovit, the residents introduced the participants with the daily life of the village. The guests tasted hot lavash immediately at the baking site (Tonir), enjoyed ecologically clean treats prepared by the Vardahovit residents, accompanied by Armenian folk songs and dances. The guests arrived from different parts of the world also presented fragments their from their national culture.
Grazia Borrini highlighted the primary challenge of ICCA Consortium, which according to her, is in the idea that the territories of life are nither forgotten nor destroyed.
“The most important thing is that the community itself understands the values surrounding it, especially the values of nature because those values are borrowed from the next generations and don’t belong to them. Those values must be maintained for them.” concluded FPWC founder Ruben Khachatryan.