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ENPARD partners and stakeholders mark the 20th stakeholders committee meeting

ENPARD partners and stakeholders mark the 20th stakeholders committee meeting
6 March 2019, Tbilisi – The implementing partners of the EU-supported European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) marked the 20th ENPARD stakeholders’ meeting by highlighting the main achievements since the launch of the programme in 2013, and by identifying new opportunities for developing agriculture and improving the living conditions of the rural population in Georgia.  
Aiming to share progress in the ENPARD projects and to discuss new developments within the ENPARD family, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been facilitating the ENPARD stakeholders’ round table discussions for the last six years. The committee serves as an effective platform for coordination, coherence and successful implementation of EU-supported agriculture and rural development projects in Georgia.
At the event, the opening remarks were presented by Khatia Tsilosani, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Cristina Casella, Attaché, Programme Manager for Agriculture and Food Safety, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, and Raimund Jehle, the FAO Representative in Georgia.  
“We have learned many lessons from the ENPARD projects in Georgia. First, we have concrete achievements that we can celebrate and second, we have been able to define next steps on the basis of this experience. The programme is getting increasingly focused on rural development as we aim at improving the lives of people in the rural regions whether it be from more competitive agriculture or other profitable economic activities. Thanks to this Programme, we are also bringing Georgia closer to the EU and opening up new opportunities for trade. Our mission is not only to foster livelihoods and the sustainability of the sector in the country but also to give it access to the EU market.” stated Mikolaj Bekasiak, communication attaché at the EU Delegation.
Khatia Tsilosani, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, updated the stakeholders about the implementation of the Strategies of the Agriculture and Rural Development. She highlighted new state-supported programmes focusing on supporting farmers on bio production.
Raimund Jehle, the FAO Representative in Georgia, highlighted FAO’s role in implementing ENPARD projects in Georgia in all the three phases focused on developing national agriculture potential as well as creating economic opportunities for the rural population.
“FAO together with the ENPARD stakeholders is now implementing the third phase of the programme in Georgia, and we have already started to think together with the partners about the fourth phase of ENPARD. I think that ENPARD in Georgia with its results can become a good example to be considered when implementing the related projects in the neighbouring countries.” Jehle said.
The meeting was attended by the representatives of the ENPARD implementing partner organizations: UNDP, Mercy Corps, Care, PIN, RDFG, HEKS-EPER, GIPA, CENN, Caritas Czech Republic, Action Against Hunger and other partners such as the development representatives from Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Important highlights of the day were the stakeholder presentations focusing on the topics of food waste and geographic indications.
The presentation of food waste counted with the presence of Carrefour representative, and raised the concern of the food wasted in Georgia and how to activate the policy discussions to implement a framework of food donations. On Geographic Indications, the presentation explained the work done to implement two GIs in Georgia for Tusheti Guda and Sulguni Cheeses, and how these pilots can be replicated by other partners.
Also, the participants discussed the EU-supported rural development projects launched under ENPARD III in four new municipalities: Akhmeta, Tsalka, Tskaltubo and Mestia. These projects introduce in these municipalities a bottom-up, inclusive rural development approach that fully engages all stakeholders and communities. They promote socio-economic integration of vulnerable population, including IDPs, eco-migrants, people living in high-mountainous regions and ethnic minorities in Georgia. The four new projects follow the earlier rural development actions under ENPARD in Borjomi, Lagodekhi, Kazbegi, Dedoplistskaro, Tetritskaro, Akhalkalaki, Keda and Khulo municipalities.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 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 and third phases of ENPARD focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.