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Latest activities on project ALTER

18 September 2018

Announcement of December Partner Visit and Training Workshop

ALTER Partners will visit Armenia from December 2-6 2018 in order to hold steering committee and planning meetings. More importantly, the visit will also include a training course for young scientists and professionals in the field of disaster risk reduction. The training course will focus on the analysis of risks and include topics on emergency logistics, evacuation, and involvement of local communities. All coursework will be based on the experience of ALTER’s European experts. Additionally, there will be a session on the design, implementation, and evaluation of risk awareness campaigns for the broader public. All sessions will be open to local students and media members, and course materials will be posted to ALTER’s website. For more information, contact the project at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Review of Project Activities

On 24.01.2018, a technical meeting was held in Brussels, in which project leadership participated, presenting the key points of ALTER Project to the managing authority and leaders of approved projects. All participants received important instructions for project implementation. A kick-off meeting was organized by the lead partner in Athens, on February 12th and 13th 2018 at the historical premises of National Observatory of Athens. During the meeting, managerial, administrative and technical issues were discussed and the Steering Committee (SC) of the Project was elected. A project meeting was held in Yerevan on June (17-23.06.2018), during which the Partnership visited the pilot areas where the foreseen activities will take place: Project Area 1: Kapan and Kajaran in the southern Armenian region of Syunik Project Area 2: Vorotan Cascade hydroelectric infrastructure Project Area 3: Akhtala in the northern region of Lori Stakeholders expressed their interest and their optimism that ALTER’s mission has synergy with their wider risk reduction efforts.

Communication and Dissemination Updates

Work Package 1 of the ALTER project focuses on communication and dissemination. There has been significant progress on this work package so far. A communication and dissemination plan was produced defining key messages, positioning statements and target audiences, and selecting appropriate tools and channels (including relevant conferences and events) to meet the information needs of the target audiences. Next, a corporate identity for ALTER was created to ensure a common graphic line for all communications material. At right is the project logo, a focal point of the graphic line. A project website was set-up and is maintained by American University of Armenia. Social media profiles have been set up on Facebook and LinkedIn to further help in dissemination of project materials. A press release on the project and its results, targeted at decision- and policy-makers, was developed in English and translated into the partners’ languages. It will be sent to the European press and national journalists. Finally, as a part of ongoing communication efforts, a mix of communication tools are being developed to expand the reach of the ALTER project. In July, the project partners released their first project leaflet to be disseminated through project partners. Read the leaflet here. This newsletter is also a part of these efforts.

Best Practices on Resilience Updates

Work Package 2 of the ALTER project focuses on the discovery and application of best practices as they relate to ALTER's project goals. After the June 2018 study visit, partners - under European University of Cyprus guidance - started working on best practices from all around the world regarding:

  • Dams’ failure and consequent floods
  • Tailing Dams’ management to avoid pollution during floods
  • Floods’ risk management, including early warning and evacuation
  • On field exercises planning to simulate real emergency situations
  • Capacity building of local communities
  • Public – Private sector cooperation in floods prevention, preparedness and management

Best practices related to these issues will be identified, collected, and analysed in detail. Selection, adaptation, and adoption by Armenian authorities and key stakeholders will be facilitated through questionnaires and coaching by partners.

Increasing Local Resilience Updates

Work Package 2 of the ALTER project focuses on increasing resilience of local communities through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), small scale exercises, and training. The work is focused on private companies that own or manage dams located in the Syunik and Lori regions of Armenia and local communities in those regions that face risks associated with those dams. Since the beginning of the project, project partners began the process of communicating and collaborating with relevant partner companies. During these initial meetings, project partners emphasized the importance of optimizing cooperation between the public and private sectors for increasing the communities’ resilience. A brief overview of the progress regarding collaboration with each company is below: ContourGlobal Hydro Cascade, CJSC During meetings with company management partners discussed the company’s newly developed emergency action plan and how it relates to broader initiatives by Armenian authorities. As a part of the plan, the company developed the Study of Dam Safety and Civil Structures of Vorotan Hydropower Cascade.The study is an estimation of dam break outflow and impact downstream in the Vorotan Cascade and was prepared by German based Fichtner Engineering and Consulting Company. Both project partners and the company agreed that the study should be made available in order to bolster efforts in protecting the local population. The Company is also interested in participating in ALTER's training and small-scaled exercise activities, particularly those related to the implementation of early warning systems. Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine, CJSC The project was welcomed by the company as a part of ongoing efforts to improve relationships between the public and private sector as it relates to population protection and resilience building. The company expressed an interest and willingness for being involved in project implementation. As an initial step, the company will provide technical data on the conditions of the Geghi reservoir in order to study the possibility of installation of seismic sensors on the dam. Kapan Mining and Processing Enterprise, CJSC On the whole the company is interested in cooperation, particularly in the participation of its staff in training and exercises. Akhtala Mining and Processing Enterprise, CJSC Negotiations with the newly nominated director are still in process.

WebGIS System Updates

The final work package of ALTER involves the development of a WebGIS system for use by decision-makers at the national and local level in Armenia. During the June site visit, GIS experts from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the American University of Armenia met to discuss the next steps for the development of a web-GIS which provides analysis of flood risks to decision-makers in Armenia. The experts discussed the pros and cons of a paid GIS system such as ArcGIS online versus an open source, Linux based option. Given sustainability concerns, it has been tentatively decided that the server will use an open source platform. Additionally, the team discussed what would be included in the WebGIS. Considering the data available for analysis, the team decided to focus the system on the pilot case of the Geghi Reservoir in Syunik Marz. This site was chosen due to the mechanical failure of the dam’s spillway in 2012. While the issue with the spillway thankfully did not cause a catastrophe, the associated flow data will allow the team to analyze what might happen during a more significant event. Since the June visit, the team has reached out to Armenia’s Hydrometeorological Service of Armenia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations for data related to ALTER’s pilot sites. The initial response from these public sector partners has been positive and the team hopes to have all necessary data by the end of 2018.

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