Georgia

UNESCO biosphere reserve establishment in the climate-vulnerable regions of Kakheti in Eastern Georgia – working towards the nomination

 

So far there is no biosphere reserve in Georgia. However, the rich natural and cultural heritage as well as preserved traditional land use forms gives a good base for the establishment of biosphere reserves. The eastern Georgian province of Kakheti, in particular, contains several protected areas and is most relevant for the still surviving mobile pastoralism with sheep. A biosphere reserve could help to maintain and reconcile both. With the project of the International Climate Initiative "Biosphere Reserves as model regions for climate protection and adaptation - capacity development for the establishment of a UNESCO biosphere reserve" the Michael Succow Foundation contributed to its preparation.

 

Biosphere reserves (within the framework of the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program, MaB) support a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable regional development. They are also a promising tool to encounter climate change by developing and testing climate protection and adaptation measures and thus strengthening the resilience of climate vulnerable regions such as Eastern Georgia. Within the framework of the completed project "Study on the potential and feasibility of the expulsion of biosphere reserves in Georgia", Kakheti was selected by a national working group for a feasibility study on the development of a biosphere reserve.

 

The feasibility study of the Succow Foundation and the Georgian NGO NACRES, in cooperation with the Georgian Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources, has identified numerous positive preconditions for establishing a biosphere reserve in Kakheti. Some UNESCO criteria are already fulfilled. Together with stakeholders and decision makers at regional and national level several scenarios for such a biosphere reserve were drafted and discussed. The scenario covering the complex system of migratory pasture areas in Tusheti and Vashlovani including a connecting corridor was identified as the long-term objective for the biosphere reserve. Like this it could most effectively support the traditional land use of mobile sheep husbandry (transhumance) in Kakheti and help solve various problems connected to it.

 

Within the recently launched project, “UNESCO biosphere reserve establishment in the climate- vulnerable regions of Kakheti in Eastern Georgia – working towards the nomination”, the Michael Succow Foundation continues working towards the establishment of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Georgia. The project is the next phase of the work done within two one year-projects in which the potential for biosphere reserves in Georgia was studied, the feasibility of the region of Kakheti was analysed, capacities of relevant actors were strengthened and an implementation plan for the planned Kakheti BR was developed. Within the commenced project, Michael Succow Foundation and its partner organization, the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (RECC), in cooperation with local and national stakeholders in Georgia, will realise selected parts of the implementation plan to build up the BR and achieve a successful nomination to UNESCO.

 

The initiated project aims to develop a concept and a nomination document of the planned BR meeting the requirements of the UNESCO for biosphere reserve nomination; raise acceptance and awareness of the planned BR among the local, regional and national stakeholders of the planned BR; and conceptually prepare a BR management structure allowing multi- stakeholder participation.

 

The project is financed as part of the program “Capacity development for climate policy in the Western Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Phase II” of the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation,​ Building and Nuclear Safety through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Co-operation).

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Project coordination: Nika Malazonia

Email: nika.malazonia(at)succow-stiftung.de