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1.7 Million Georgians to be Better Protected from Climate Hazards

New early warning system project in Georgia provides increased protection for 1.7 million people from the heightened risks of climate change.

US$70 million UNDP-supported project, financed through the Green Climate Fund, Swiss Government and the Government of Georgia, signals ‘paradigm shift centred around risk reduction, prevention and preparedness’

The Green Climate Fund approved a new project that will scale up early warning systems and the use of climate information in Georgia, enhancing resilience of 1.7 million people and their livelihoods to floods, droughts and other heightened climate risks.

“Climate hazards are derailing government-led efforts to reduce environmental risks in Georgia,” said Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. “This new project will provide increased protection for over 40 percent of Georgia’s population from fast-acting floods and other natural disasters.”

The seven-year US$70 million “Scaling-up multi-hazard early warning system and the use of climate information in Georgia” project is supported through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and benefits from the US$27 million grant from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), US$38 million in co-finance from the Government of Georgia, as well as a US$5 million grant for the Swiss Government. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

According to national estimates and Georgia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, climate hazards without the proper adaptation measures, could cost the people of Georgia between US$10 and $12 billion from 2021 to 2030. The estimated cost of adapting to climate change in Georgia over the same time-period is estimated between US$1.5 billion and $2 billion.

“Investing in climate resilience is good for economy and good for our people,” said Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. “To date, risk management in Georgia has largely been reactive, rather than proactive. This has meant large costs to compensate the victims of floods and other natural hazards, the increased number of ‘eco-migrants’ leaving vulnerable areas, and higher costs for recovery. This project signals a paradigm shift centred around risk reduction, prevention and preparedness.”

The project will achieve its goals of deploying an effective nation-wide multi-hazard system by scaling-up of several projects and initiatives already creating positive impact in Georgia. One example comes from the UNDP-supported project financed through the Adaptation Fund that improved forecasting and early warning systems in the Rioni Basin, promoted climate-informed development policies and demonstrated concrete community adaptation action in the high risk areas.

Across the globe, governments are leveraging support from the United Nations Development System to improve climate information and early warning systems. In addition to the Georgia project, the governments of Malawi and Uganda recently launched new GCF-financed initiatives that connect climate information with poverty reduction, food security and improved livelihoods. With funding from the Adaptation Fund, Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund, UNDP supports a global portfolio of projects on climate information and early warnings to facilitate risk-informed public investment planning.

“As Georgia moves forward to achieving its national Sustainable Development Goals, the Climate Action becomes a crucial priority to build the adaptive capacity the country needs to ensure climate-resilient development into the 21st Century. UNDP stands ready to assist the Government of Georgia in improving the collection of climate information, planning and decision-making across all sectors,” said Niels Scott, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia.