Georgia steps up sustainable forest management efforts

Georgia is one step closer to achieving its national forestry goals, as well as the commitments under Forest Europe and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is working with the UNECE, UN FAO and German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) to strengthen sustainable forest management.

The project “Accountability Systems for Sustainable Forest Management in the Caucasus and Central Asia,” will also see the creation of green jobs for rural communities.

“Georgia fully supports proceeding towards the implementation of the commitments and is prepared to implement them through national strategies, programmes and initiatives,” said Carl Amirgulashvili, head of Biodiversity and Forest Policy Department of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection.

The country ratified the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (known as Forest Europe) in 2003 but has yet to develop a system of accountability, making its forests vulnerable to degradation. 40 per cent of the country is covered by forests. It ranks among the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots.

“Georgian forests not only conserve unique biological diversity, but ensure continuous delivery of vital direct and indirect benefits and resources to the population. The forest sector in Georgia has great development potential, with many of its forest resources still untapped,” stated Ekrem Yazici, deputy chief of the Joint UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section.

A national workshop was organised by UNECE/FAO from Nov 29 to Dec 1, 2017, helping Georgia and regional stakeholders achieve these goals.

The project started in 2016 and is expected to run until 2019. It is financed by the UN Development Account. Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are also beneficiary countries of the project.