Facilitating Stakeholder Participation in Protected Areas of Georgia
Protected areas (PAs) do not only play an essential role in conserving Georgia’s unique biological diversity, but also contribute to rural livelihoods. Therefore, their effective management is one of the major priorities for the Georgian society.
Effective PA management relies on a strong participation of stakeholders. However, even if there is a legal basis, political will and an institutional framework for it, stakeholder participation in Georgian PAs is limited both by a lack of know-how of participation mechanisms and communication barriers between PA administrations and local communities. As a consequence, PAs currently do not fulfill their full potential for biodiversity conservation, livelihood support and income generation.
In order to increase stakeholder participation in planning, management and benefit distribution of PAs, it is necessary to develop clearly defined, transparent mechanisms. IUCN POSC will support the Agency of Protected Areas to develop such sustainable mechanisms in three pilot protected areas (Lagodekhi, Tusheti, Vashlovani). These mechanisms will be informed by international best practice and IUCN’s global experience in this field. Moreover, the lessons learned during the project will be integrated by IUCN into its PA-related work in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The project supports the Agency of Protected Areas in developing and piloting Terms of Reference for newly established Protected Area Advisory Boards. Additional participation mechanisms, such as Associations of Friends of Protected Areas, Junior Ranger Programme are initiated and supported in their early phases, while local stakeholders will be trained to make the most of the newly established participation opportunities.
1. Establishment of Advisory Boards with clearly defined Terms of Reference as an effective mechanism for stakeholder participation in PA management.
2. Creation of Friends‘ Associations, which will function as a means of practical stakeholder support to the management.
3. Local stakeholers capacity development, in order to play an effective role in PA Scientific-Advisory Boards and PA Friends’ Associations.
4. Establishment of Junior Ranger Programme, which will attract young people to PAs and will build their responsibility for them.
Donors: BP/BTC “Eco-Award”, administered by Eurasian Partnership Foundation.
Project Partners: Mlokosevich Society (Lagodekhi), Georgian Society of Nature Friends (Telavi), Agency of Protected Areas.
Project Duration: 03/2009 - 11/2010
Contact Persons: Ekaterine Kakabadze, Ketevan Skhireli