Can nature help us face climate change? A pilot project by IUCN in the Caucasus shows concrete opportunities for natural, cost-effective solutions to climate change in Georgia.
Protected areas play a vital role in contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, both on global and local scales. However, their role in responding to climate change is currently insufficiently recognized in the development of national strategies and policies in Georgia.
To identify the role of protected areas as natural, cost-effective solutions to climate change and initiate a process of better realizing their mitigation and adaptation potential, the IUCN Caucasus Cooperation Centre started the project “Natural Solutions to Climate Change: the Role of Protected Areas” in December 2011.
The project aims at to incorporate the role of protected areas as natural solutions to climate change into national sector strategies and international conventions, such as the United Nations Climate Change conference; and contribute to the effective management of protected areas under climate change conditions.
A national scoping study has been conducted to better identify the role of protected areas in climate change action specifically in Georgia. Relevant IUCN guidelines have been compiled, adapted and used to train national and local protected area staff, as well as other relevant stakeholders.
Through a series of expert-policy roundtables, the outcomes of the study will feed into relevant strategies and decision-making processes. This is especially important as Georgia has started the preparation of the Third National Communication to the United Nations Climate Change conference.
The project has also developed concrete recommendations and an action plan for adaptation and mitigation measures in selected protected areas in Georgia targeted to policy-makers and practitioners.
The final phase of the project will focus on replicating results in other projects in the region which will be discussed during a regional workshop in February 2013.
The project is funded by GIZ, German International Cooperation, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).