A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the IUCN Programme Office for the Southern Caucasus and the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia. The MoU was signed by Mr. Giorgi Khachidze, Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources, and Mr. Ramaz Gokhelashvili, the IUCN South Caucasus Director, on 19 February, 2009.
IUCN POSC and the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources of Georgia (MoE) have cooperated closely since the office’s establishment in 2006. Several projects have been carried out in cooperation, for instance the development of a draft Protected Area System Development Strategy and National Action Plan, a consultation and capacity building process aimed at the improved and coherent implementation of international conventions, the development of biodiversity indicators, or the development of a management plan for Ktsia-Tabatskuri Managed Reserve. The cooperation between the Ministry and IUCN also led to Georgia’s IUCN State Membership in October 2008.
By signing the MoU, IUCN POSC and the MoE express their will to intensify collaboration in the fields of nature conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and safeguarding of ecosystem services. The MoU commits parties to develop and expand the collaboration in priority areas e.g. biodiversity monitoring or protected areas, the latter through strengthening the institutional, legislative and financial framework for the national PA network in Georgia. Specific focuses are the evaluation of the PA system, the identification and addressing of capacity development needs, the development of long-term participatory strategies and action plans for PAs, as well as their monitoring. Other fields mentioned in the MoU are species conservation, sustainable forest management, conservation of aquatic ecosystems, and awareness rising and education.
Mr. Ramaz Gokhelashvili, Director of the IUCN Programme Office for the Southern Caucasus, expressed his satisfaction about the signed MoU: “After becoming an IUCN State Member in October 2008, today marks another important day in our relationship. The signing of the MoU will strengthen and deepen our cooperation. This will contribute to effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, which in turn supports the improvement of the standard of living of the population and the economic development of the country”.
A presentation and discussion of the TEMATEA outcomes, as an important example of the previous cooperation, took place immediately after the ceremony. Another presentation about “Georgia’s IUCN State Membership – how to make the most of it” provided information about practical benefits and ways of cooperation to MoE staff.