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 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.

UNESCO biosphere reserve in Kakheti

Next steps towards the nomination

Location: Kakheti, Georgia

Duration: 12.2018 - 07.2021

The feasibility study by the Succow Foundation and the Georgian NGO NACRES, in cooperation with the Georgian Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, identified numerous favourable conditions for the establishment of a biosphere reserve in Kakheti. Some UNESCO criteria have already been met. Together with stakeholders and decision-makers at regional and national level, several scenarios for such a biosphere reserve have been drafted and discussed - including one that includes the complex system of migrating pastures in Tusheti and Vashlovani, including a connecting corridor. In this way, the biosphere reserve could effectively support the traditional land use of mobile sheep farming in Kakheti and contribute to solving a number of related problems.

Based on the results of the implemented study, the Succow Foundation together with the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (RECC) implemented another project "Establishment of the Three Alazani Rivers Biosphere Reserve in the Climate Change Threatened Regions of Kakheti in Eastern Georgia - Next Steps towards Nomination". Within the framework of the project, numerous activities were carried out, such as development of the zoning concept, agreement on the management concept for the planned biosphere reserve, capacity building as well as awareness raising activities for the establishment of the first biosphere reserve in Georgia. In addition, a complete nomination document was developed with the participation of local stakeholders and the Georgian Ministry of Environment, which was approved by the Georgian Government and submitted to UNESCO for recognition.

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 and Nuclear Safety through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Society for International Co-operation).


Contact person

Nika Malazonia
Expertise: Protected area management, biosphere reserves, World heritage


Tel +49 3834 83542 19