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EU supported conference on “Development Perspectives of Vashlovani Protected Areas”

EU supported conference on “Development Perspectives of Vashlovani Protected Areas”

26 December 2018 – In the frame of EU and ENPARD Rural Development project – “Promoting Citizen Engagement for Economic Development (PROCEED)” the conference on the “Development Perspectives of Vashlovani Protected Areas” had been organized.
The conference aimed to develop a shared vision of the needs of Vashlovani Protected Area (VPA) and agree on the strategic directions for supporting the areas, brought together representatives of major actors in the environment conservation sector such as the Agency of Protected Areas of the Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture, EU Delegation, Administration of Vashlovani Protected Areas, Association of Friends of Tusheti Protected Areas, Association of Vashlovani Friends, Biological Farming Association Elkana, Caucasus Environmental NGOs Network, Caucasus Nature Fund, Georgian Ecotourism Association, GiZ, HEKS EPER, Kasristskali Development Group, KfW, Mercy Corps, NACRES – Centre for Biodiversity Conservation & Research, Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus, Support Programme for Protected Areas in the Caucasus, World Wildlife Fund and others.
A broad range of issues was deliberated during the event, including the impact of climate change on VPA, the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the integrity of the natural environment, waste management in the areas, and the efforts of various parties to restore fauna and flora to their original natural condition. Given that virtually all participants of the conference have great practical experiences to share, the best practices in the sector were among the key discussion topics.
A special discussion was dedicated to the environmentally sound economic development in villages adjacent to the protected areas. Among the solutions to improve economic opportunities for the local population were the enhancement and diversification of tourism infrastructure and businesses associated with hospitality services combined with awareness raising and professional capacity building of people engaged in hospitality sector.
In addition to the identified solutions, the conference participants developed a list of potential interventions for PROCEED and other similar actors that could be implemented jointly with the administration of Vashlovani Protected Areas and local authorities.
The EU supported ENPARD II project “Promoting Citizen Engagement for Economic Development (PROCEED)” is implemented by HEKS/EPER Georgia in partnership with the Biological Farming Association “Elkana”. The project aims at contributing to the reduction of poverty in the Dedoplistskaro Municipality of the Kakheti region in Eastern Georgia.
The EU is supporting agriculture and rural development in Georgia through the ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second and the third phases focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at www.enpard.ge.