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Photo: Vladimer Valishvilii/UNDP

Georgia Adopts First National Strategy for Rural Development

The Government of Georgia approved the first ever national strategy for rural development, on 30 December 2016.

It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of natural resources and local engagement in the development process.

The adoption of the Rural Development Strategy 2017 – 2020 has sealed a year-long process initiated by the Government of Georgia and supported by the European Union (EU) and two United Nations agencies –UNDP and Food and Agriculture Organization, under the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).

The Strategy represents a new approach to rural development in Georgia grounded on the best EU practices in this field. It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and civil engagement, and on improving the quality of people’s life while paying special attention to the values of natural and cultural heritage.

ENPARD Programme contributed to the development of the Strategy by offering technical expertise to the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as organizing public consultations, which helped to make the process more inclusive and transparent. The preparation of the Strategy engaged a range of national and international stakeholders, including for civil society and community organizations, national and international experts, relevant ministries and state agencies.

After formal adoption by the Government, an Interagency Coordination Council on rural development will be established.  It will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture with technical assistance from the European Union (EU) and UNDP under the ENPARD programme.  The Council will coordinate the implementation of the Strategy and will look into specific initiatives in the regions of Georgia.  

The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.