Austria`s Experience in the Forestry Sector of Georgia
April 7, 2022. Tbilisi. –The National Seminar of the Multi-institutional Rural Development Forestry Work Group established by Civil Committee was held at the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel. The seminar was organised by CENN, with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and US Forest Service (USFS), within the framework of the “Sustainable Forest Management for Rural Development” project.
The main part of the seminar was dedicated to presenting the research carried out within the framework of the work plan of the group, pilot initiatives on the production of forest timber and non-timber products, and market development. The parties also discussed ecotourism projects, including the first bicycle path in Adjara and the initiative to establish a Mukhuri Regional Park, which covers 9,000 hectares of forest area.
“In close cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia, the Council meets twice a year with the involvement of partners working in the field. The aim of the project is sustainable management of forests and watersheds, the emergence of sustainable energy solutions in rural areas and the diversification of income sources for the rural population. We consider it important to have this Civic Committee and Forest Working Group, as we believe that this Civic Council will become a tool for monitoring the Rural Development Strategy. ”- Nana Janashia, CENN Executive Director
The participants got acquainted with the updated plan of the Multinational Forest Working Group, which includes a wide range of activities for 2021-2024 and is based on the sectoral priorities of the “Green Budget Project” approved by the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the Parliament of Georgia.
“We are moving towards Europe and fulfilling our European obligations. Each model, which works in Europe in terms of various developments or coordination, must also exist in Georgia and work successfully so that we can quickly cross the path that separates us from EU membership. The country needs to get rid of the feeling that the forest is just firewood. It is important to see how the village can receive more and more modern civil benefits from the forest.” – Giorgi Khanishvili, Deputy Minister of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia
The meeting was attended by the Head of the Tbilisi Office for Development Cooperation, Alexander Karner; The Head of the Department of Biodiversity and Forestry, Karlo Amirgulashvili; representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia, and private and state agencies interested in the field.
“On behalf of the Austrian Development Cooperation, we are really grateful to support not only today’s meeting, but also all of the progress that has already been made. When we began to strengthen the National Forest Program, we knew at that time it would be a long way. However, today proves that this support was worth it and that we must strengthen this process with a multi-sectoral approach. We have a lot to discuss and I am willing to support and overcome any challenges. I am happy that our colleagues were here today, as we have a lot to do.” – Alexander Karner, Head of the Tbilisi Office of the Austrian Development Agency
The seminar was held in a hybrid format and participants had the opportunity to ask questions remotely.
The “Sustainable Forest Management for Rural Development” project has been implemented by CENN with the financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) since 2018. The project aims to create an environment conducive to the diversification of local sources of income and reduce environmental risks through effective forestry improvement, sustainable energy solutions, natural disaster reduction, education, awareness-raising, employment opportunities for women, and effective advocacy.