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EU Promotes Best Rural Development Practices in Georgia

The European Union has finalised a series of study tours to the regions of Georgia for representatives of local governance, business and civil society.

The study tour to Borjomi on 18-19 February 2017 followed the earlier tours to Lagodekhi and Kazbegi and aimed to share experience of the Local Action Groups (LAGs) that work to engage local residents in rural development.

The Borjomi study tour involved over 40 participants from different regions of Georgia and was attended by the Government officials, including: Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Agriculture; Irakli Matkava, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure; Nino Javakhadze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development; and Tamaz Marsagishvili, Deputy Minister of Education and Science.

In the framework of the European Union’s Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), the study tour was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia, in cooperation with the Civil Development Agency (CiDA) and international non-governmental organization Mercy Corps. 

In Borjomi, the study tour participants met with the local authorities and Local Action Group members and visited the sites of small initiatives funded by the European Union in 2016 to promote rural development in the region. This included the tourism development projects in Bakuriani and forest restoration in Tsagveri.

The Borjomi Local Development Group was established in November 2015 with assistance from the European Union and in cooperation with Mercy Corps, Angus Council and Bundesanstalt für Bergbauernfragen.  The group lists up to 25 members and takes active part in municipal life.

The Local Action Groups (LAG) in Borjomi, Lagodekhi and Kazbegi are the first of the pilot LAGs across Georgia.  The European Union will continue supporting the establishment of the Local Actions Groups this year in the municipalities of Dedoplistkaro, Akhalkalaki, Tetritskaro, Keda and Khulo.

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The assistance to the Local Actions Groups (LAGs) is in line with the Rural Development Strategy of Georgia adopted by the Government of Georgia in December 2016.