Maia Bitadze, Chairperson of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee, took part in the signing ceremony of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) project "Support to Forest Sector Reform in Georgia - ECO.Georgia".
The Georgian Ministry of Environment and Agriculture, the Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) signed an "Agreement on Technical Cooperation Projects" as part of the event, which will serve as the foundation for the project's official launch.
On behalf of the Parliament, Maia Bitadze thanked the international partners for their cooperation and mentioned that an important document is being signed today that will demonstrate what sustainable forest management entails in practice.
"For our team, both the parliamentary and executive branches, in general, for the Georgian Dream, the 'green economy' and environmental protection, energy efficiency was part of the program we wrote before the elections, and it is the program we will stick to. The components that are generally in the program and detailed in the project, such as sustainable management of secondary forest resources, reuse of forest waste, and conversion into energy, are extremely significant. Phytosanitary issues, as well as the challenges that our country faces in general in the field of phytosanitary, are also very essential components. Georgia needs a great deal of international assistance and support. This is the first step in allowing the Green Climate Fund to help our country put the principles of sustainable forest management into practice”, - the Committee's Chair said.
The project's main goals are to help Georgia's forestry sector, contribute to climate change mitigation, and implement ongoing forestry reform.
The project will contribute to increased forest carbon stocks through forest restoration, forest loss reduction, sustainable forest management, and conservation, as well as the development of a market for energy efficient and alternative fuels, improved living conditions, and increased local self-government's role in sustainable forest management. The pilot initiative will be implemented in eight municipalities of Guria, Kakheti, and Mtskheta-Mtianeti.
The GCF Supervisory Board approved a grant of € 33 million for the project in August 2020. The project will run for seven years, from 2021 to 2027, and it will be co-sponsored by the Federal Republic of Germany (€ 10 million) and the Swiss Confederation (€ 4 million).
Representatives from Georgia's governmental and legislative branches, municipalities, the governments of Germany and Switzerland, and donor organizations attended the ceremony.
The agreement was signed by Georgia's Minister of Environment and Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili, Georgia's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natela Turnava, the Head of the German International Cooperation (GIZ) Georgian Office Karl Friedrich Testensen, and the ECO.Georgia project's Head.
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