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EU and UNDP assist four municipalities to carry out forest inventories

EU and UNDP assist four municipalities to carry out forest inventories

TBILISI. 2 October 2019 – As part of a broader effort to protect Georgia’s rich natural resources, the European Union (EU), in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is assisting the country in introducing sustainable forest management practices and increasing national expertise in forest inventory. 
Lagodekhi is the first of four target municipalities where this support to the National Forestry Agency of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia resulted in the execution of a forest inventory covering more than 21,000 hectares. The data collected will provide the basis for the development of a sustainable forest management plan. By the end of 2020, similar forest inventories will be carried out in the Akhmeta, Tetritskaro and Dedoplistskaro municipalities. 
The EU and UNDP assistance also includes specialized training for 15 forestry specialists in different Georgian universities.
The immediate results of the forestry project and the next steps in protecting Georgia’s natural heritage were discussed at a workshop today hosted by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture. The meeting was attended by Minister Levan Davitashvili; Programme Manager for Rural Development, Civil Protection and Crisis Management of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Ketevan Khutsishvili; UNDP Head in Georgia, Louisa Vinton; Head of the National Forestry Agency, Archil Nikoleishvili; Lagodekhi Municipality and the Ministry Environmental Protection and Agriculture. 
“Conducting an inventory is a step forward in collecting up-to-date and reliable data on the status of Georgia’s forests,” Minister Dvalishvili said. “This important work we are undertaking in four municipalities will help promote sustainable forest management across the country.” 
“We are happy to support National Forestry Agency (NFA) to develop its capacity in forest taxation, which will enable Agency to undertake forest inventory and develop sustainable forest management plan. Conducting the forest inventory in four pilot municipalities encourages climate-smart forestry practices across the country, which is one of the important parts of the EU’s support to rural development in Georgia.” stated Ketevan Khutsishvili. 
“Protecting Georgia’s rich and diverse forests will help the country fight the impact of climate change,” noted UNDP Head Vinton. “But it will also contribute to rural development by ensuring that logging and other use of forest resources benefit local communities without threatening the health and longevity of Georgia’s woodlands.”
The support the National Forestry Agency is receiving is part of the EUR 179.5 million in EU assistance that has been allocated to Georgia under the ENPARD programme between 2013 and 2022. This support aims to promote rural development policies and create economic opportunities for the rural population outside of agriculture.