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The European Network for Rural Development supports Georgia in establishing National Rural Development Network

The European Network for Rural Development supports Georgia in establishing National Rural Development Network

Batumi. 27 July 2018 – Up to 35 representatives of the Georgian Local Action Groups from different municipalities, ENPARD partner NGOs, the Government and international experts took part in the training workshop about EU rural networks held in Batumi on 26-27 July. The workshop was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the support of the European Union (EU) and in cooperation with the Georgian Association of LAGs, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and Ajara AR Government.
The training workshop was aimed to stimulate awareness rising about the EU rural networks as one of the key drivers for rural development policy implementation and facilitate the process of establishing Georgian Rural Development Network. The participants were introduced to the objectives, membership and governance of the National Rural Networks in Europe and became more acquainted with thematic work of the European Network for Rural Development around topics such as smart and competitive rural areas, greening the rural economy, social inclusion and generational renewal.
Mr. Nodar Kereselidze, First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and Mr. Tite Aroshidze, Minister of Agriculture of Ajara AR officially opened the meeting and addressed the workshop participants. An estimated 35 representatives of EU-supported Local Action Groups from eight municipalities of Georgia (Tetritskaro, Lagodekhi, Dedoplistskaro, Kazbegi, Akhalkalaki, Borjomi, Keda and Khulo), the Government and ENPARD partner NGOs – RDFG, CARE, HEKS-EPER, PIN, GIPA, Mercy Corps, CENN and Caritas attended the workshop which was delivered by Ms. Gaya Ducceschi, Policy Analyst at the Contact Point of the European Network for Rural Development (ENRD).
The ENRD, established by the European Commission, DG AGRI, supports the effective implementation of EU Member States’ Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) by generating and sharing knowledge, as well as through facilitating information exchange and cooperation across rural Europe. 
“We attach high importance to the first ever visit of the European Network for Rural Development Contact Point to Georgia. The knowledge and experience gained will give a more stronger impulse to successful implementation of Rural Development Strategy through effective stakeholder engagement” said Nodar Kereselidze, the First Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
The training workshop also focused on the European good practices and policy in action showcasing the added value of LEADER and the practical benefits of rural development for now and in the future. Representatives of the Government and the Civil Society engaged in networking and exchanged personal experience of rural development know-hows in their respective regions.
„The workshop gives an ample opportunity to learn about EU practices for rural development policy implementation ensured by a significant tool such as the Rural Development Network set up to contribute to the LEADER implementation in Georgia” said Tite Aroshidze, Minister of Agriculture of Ajara AR.
Some specific attention at the workshop was provided to the establishment of the Georgian Rural Development Network (GRDN). GRDN will serve as a hub of exchange of information on how rural development policy, programmes, projects and other initiatives are working in practice and how they can be improved to achieve more.  
It was the first visit of the focal point of ENRD in Georgia which will continue to support the process of establishing the functioning national rural development network in Georgia.
The implementation of the National Rural Development Strategy and Action Plan in Georgia is supported by the European Union (EU) in partnership with UNDP through the EU funded ENPARD programme. Aiming to reduce rural poverty in Georgia, ENPARD has been implemented since 2013, with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million. Its first phase focused on developing the national agriculture potential, while the second and third phases focus on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge.