The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) completed a 7-year programme to promote the long-term financial sustainability of Georgia’s protected areas.
With USD 1 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the programme was implemented by the Agency of Protected Areas and Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF) in cooperation with the Transboundary Joint Secretariat (TJS) for the South Caucasus.
The summary workshop of the programme on 25 January 2017 brought together a wide range of partners and beneficiaries. Gigla Agulashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, and Niels Scott, Head of UNDP in Georgia, addressed the participants of the meeting.
“The last seven years were critical for making a system of protected areas in Georgia more effective and sustainable. We made good progress in improving financial sustainability of Protected Areas, developing biodiversity monitoring and environmental tourism. In order to keep pace of these positive developments, we hope to launch the second phase of the programme soon,” Minister Agulashvili said.
Since 2010, the programme has benefitted 10 protected areas and national parks in Georgia with the focus on infrastructure projects, environmental tourism and education.
“Sustainable management of protected areas has environmental, economic and social benefits. The examples of Borjomi-Kharagauli and Lagodekhi national parks show that local residents are the first to benefit from environmental tourism and other opportunities”, said Niels Scott, Head of UNDP in Georgia.
The assistance to the protected areas is part of a wider cooperation between the Government of Georgia, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP, aiming to support Georgia in expanding the access to green solutions and making environmental issues an integral part of development.