Promoting Georgia's knowledge on a global stage

Tamar Pataridze’s main aspiration in conservation is to look for the best ways for people to coexist with the natural environment. She is driven by a desire to find practical solutions to environmental challenges and is an inspirational leader in the field, helping to raise the profile of women’s contribution to conservation.

Ktsia-Tabatskuri Managed Reserve, Georgia

As IUCN’s Regional Councilor for Eastern Europe, North and Central Asia and a member of the Multidisciplinary Expert Panel for the Intergovernmental Panel on Ecosystems and Biodiversity (IPBES), Tamar has intricate knowledge of her region’s issues and is well aware of the priorities her country, Georgia. Tamar provides an effective communication and coordination link between Georgia, other countries in the region and IUCN.

Nestled in the southern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountain Range, Georgia hosts many endemic species, a wide range of ecosystems, remarkably rich and diverse fauna and is the origin of many domesticated plant and animal species, which support the region’s agrobiodiversity. Georgia is listed in two ‘biodiversity hotspots’: the Caucasus and the Irano-Anatolian hotspots. WWF has also identified the area as one of the priority ‘Global 200 Ecoregions’.

Photo by Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia

Inspired by childhood holidays in her family’s country house, Tamar has a strong belief that humanity should live in harmony with nature. Throughout her career, she has sought to participate in the conservation process at both local and global levels to reverse the decline of the region’s biodiversity. This decline is caused by natural and human factors such as habitat loss and degradation, illegal hunting and fishing, introduction of new species, and the unsustainable use of natural resources.

“Biodiversity conservation is carried out on a local level, while many of the processes and decisions take place on a global scale,” explains Tamar. “Although, it has become a cliché to link these two dimensions, I still think that the only way forward is to create an open space for shared thinking while acknowledging diverse and sometimes conflicting interests or perspectives.”

“So far, it has been challenging to support the conservation process, as it requires a number of political and institutional reforms. But there are some positive signs and a lot of potential for success.”

Tamar’s wealth of experience in non-governmental organizations, local communities and public institutions prompted her to take the highly respected MPhil in Conservation Leadership at Cambridge University following an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford.

Her work with civil society and communities has taught her how to involve interest groups, developed her awareness of the benefits of grassroots initiatives and strengthened her leadership, management and communication skills.

Tamar was previously Deputy Head of the Agency of Protected Areas (APA) under the Ministry of Environment Protection in Georgia. Liaising with local and international organizations, she helped improve the management of both new and established protected areas so that they can fulfill their potential, while planning the further development of Georgia’s system of protected areas.

Whilst working for APA, Tamar collaborated with the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF), an initiative which aims to overcome one of the biggest challenges in conservation – the ‘one-off’ projects approach in providing funds for protected area management by instead, creating a stable, enduring funding source to help meet core needs of protected areas in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

To generate resources, the trust fund combines investment income from its endowment with other available capital and annual donations. The model emphasizes a long-term commitment to the benefits of public-private partnerships and the provision of tangible, direct support to meet the every-day needs of protected areas.

“What makes the initiative even stronger and more promising is its ‘50 percent principle’ - CNF matches but does not exceed State budgets for a particular protected area and thereby ensures local buy-in and encourages planning for the long-term.”

Work area: 
Protected Areas
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