Georgia occupies south-eastern part of Europe, to the South of the watershed of Great Caucasian Range, in Transcaucasia, lying between the Black and Caspian Seas. Due to natural conditions, i.e. complex mountainous landscapes (54 % of territory) and considerable coastal zone (stretch of coastline 310 km), similarly to other mountain regions and coastal areas, Georgia is one of a vulnerable areas to climate change impacts. Climate change is a negative factor not only for environment (biodiversity, water, landscapes, forests) of Georgia, but also for its essential sectors of economy, such as agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, etc. Climate impact on agriculture (11% of GDP2) is especially harmful as agriculture is directly linked with socio-economic development and poverty aggravation, due to the fact that 55.6% of Georgian population is occupied in the sector.
Number of international and national agencies operating in Georgia are implementing initiatives of different scale related to climate change. However, current efforts are not sufficient enough to overcome existing problems. The number of factors suppresses full-scale combat to climate change in Georgia: 1) lack of the National Strategy on Climate Change, 2) fragmentary character of existing actions and lack of coordination among initiatives on climate change, 3) lack of knowledgeable professionals at the local level, etc. The regions (rural areas of the country) are most vulnerable to climate change negative impacts, causing natural disasters, degradation of eco-systems, landscapes and agricultural lands, etc., but also having significant socio-economic consequences for rural development. This is a reason why bulk of adaptation projects is implemented in the regions of Georgia. However, lack of knowledge/skills, insufficient institutional framework and underdeveloped capacities of local authorities, communities and NGOs 1) causes unsustainability of results of implemented projects and their succession; 2) limits local authorities participation in decision-making; and, as result, 3) prevents consideration of local climate change related interests in decision-making at the national/ local levels.
The six years of experience of work with LAs clearly demonstrated to the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia that sufficient institutional and organizational set-up is one of the most important conditions, which ensures sustainability of any initiative or project. The NALAG by decision of its Board (consisted of representatives of LAs) in the summer of 2010 established the Center for Regional Policy and Sustainable Development. The Centre aims at integration of environmental considerations, including climate change, into agenda of LAs of Georgia. In December 2010, the Board unanimously approved Action Plan of the Centre for the next year, including the Programme “Institutionalisation of climate change adaptation and mitigation in Georgian regions Fostering Community”. It was elaborated considering recommendation of the Strategy Recommendation for Regional Development claiming that the “special commissions responsible for planning adaptation activities in vulnerable areas should be created at the level of local self-government”.
The Programme is a flagship initiative which integrates environmental and climate change considerations into agenda of the local authorities of Georgia. The Programme envisages establishment of special units on climate change, environment and sustainable agriculture at the level of self-government to ensure, among other, implementation of a broad range of statutory functions of LAs on natural resources management, spatial planning and sustainable development stipulated in the Organic Law of Georgia on Local Self-Governance and sectoral legislation.
The main products/outcomes of the Programme will be: 1) the Commissions on Climate Change, Environment and Agriculture (the Commissions) in all the Georgian municipalities 65 in total; 2) the Road Map on climate change at the local level; 3) the Recommendations to relevant national authorities to support development of the climate change policy; 4) National conference: “Climate change at local level: policy and action”, which should define the role of local authorities of Georgia under the given policy and organizational framework; and 5) elaboration of climate change related chapter for the State Strategy for Regional Development.
The Goal of the Programme is fostering of climate change adaptation measures in regions of Georgia through institutionalization of climate change adaptation and mitigation at the local and national levels by building of capacities of local authorities.
The Objectives of the Programme are as follows:
Fostering climate change adaptation and mitigation through establishment of institutional and organizational capacities for the local authorities;
Promotion of climate adaptation and mitigation measures at the local level and consideration of climate change related local problems in related national policy;
Involvement of local authorities of Georgia in discussion and decision-making on climate change at the local, national and international levels;
Ensuring sustainability of existing climate change adaptation and mitigation measures at the local level.
-Local authorities (LAs)
-National authorities (the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure; the Ministry of Economic and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs, etc.)
- Local and national NGOs
- International organisations and donor agencies
Programme Manager: Nina Shatberashvili