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Empowering Producers for Sustainable Waste Management in Georgia

Country: Georgia
Component: Environmental Data

Austrian experts from the EU4Environment Water and Data programme are in Tbilisi this week (22 January 2024) to advise the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). With Georgia aiming for EU accession, focus areas include waste streams like packaging and end-of-life vehicles. The team is looking at the implementation of EPR regulations, drawing on successful EU practices. EPR, a key tool in EU member States to increase recycling rates and promote a circular economy, is a challenge for aspiring EU members such as Georgia. This cooperation underlines the importance of sharing experiences for effective EPR legislation and practices.

Three days of Capacity-building on Extended Producer Responsibility in Waste Management

In the frame of the EU4Environment Water and Data programme, Austrian experts are advising the Waste Department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture in Georgia on the implementation of the already adopted Extended Producer Responsibility regulations on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, Batteries, Waste Oils and Tires.

This week in Tbilisi, the discussions focus in particular on those waste streams for which Extended Producer Responsibility regulations are still under development:

  • Packaging – nationwide system in Georgia, regulatory and technical requirements, basic collection infrastructure in municipalities, role of the Coordination Office for Packaging (Austrian experience and options for Georgia)
  • End of Live Vehicles (ELVs) – financial and economic aspects of EPR introduction; responsibilities of the different authorities regarding the collection of abandoned ELVs
  • Waste information system on packaging and other waste – update on developments and open issues, including circular economy indicators
  • European Commission reporting decisions on waste streams – logic, structure and implementation, interlinkage with Waste Statistics Regulation
  • Methodology for calculation of annual amounts of packaging and packaging waste, as basis for recycling targets; circular economy indicators

A particular focus will be on the requirement for nationwide coverage of EPR systems, following the successful Austrian practice, which has not yet been fully adopted by Georgia.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

In the European Union countries, Extended Producer Responsibility has been introduced in the management of specific waste streams to ensure higher collection and recycling rates in line with the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and to develop a more circular economy.

Extended Producer Responsibility is also a tool to support the overall transition to a more sustainable and circular economic model.

For new EU candidate countries, the development of adequate legislation and effective implementation rules and procedures for Extended Producer Responsibility is a major challenge that requires international support and the sharing of successful experiences from EU countries.





Groundwater audit on June 12th-17th in Georgia

Country: Georgia
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

From June 12 to June 17th, in the scope of the EU4Environment Water & Data programme, a team of Georgian scientists supervised by experts from the Environment Agency Austria gathered in Tbilisi to realise a comprehensive groundwater assessment training and a groundwater sampling audit.

The groundwater audit aimed to assess the respect of the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards and the EU Water Framework and Groundwater Directives to monitor groundwater.

On June 12th and 13th, the experts took part in an on-site sampling training in a small municipality close to Tbilisi. On the following days they had a training on groundwater bodies status assessment methodology and a workshop on groundwater body delineation. The water body is a coherent sub-unit in the river basin to which the environmental objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive must apply.

The EU framework for groundwater monitoring

The rules for assessing the good status of groundwater are slightly different from those for surface water (lakes, rivers, reservoirs). Good chemical and quantitative status is the objective set by the EU Water Framework Directive. The EU Groundwater directive sets EU-wide groundwater quality standards for a small number of pollutants and requires Member States to set threshold values for substances of national and river basin concern. 

The soundness of policy decisions is directly related to the reliability of the data gathered by monitoring programmes. And monitoring reliability in turn is predominantly linked to scientific and technological progress, as well as to the careful use of proper equipment, methods and techniques by the staff responsible for the water sampling and laboratory analytics.

Groundwater: a hidden resource not to be forgotten

Groundwater is water that is present under the surface of the Earth. Due to various human activities, it can be polluted, for example by chemicals, wastewater, and other substances that seep into the ground. Groundwater is difficult to clean, and many people rely on it as their primary (drinking) water source.

Since groundwater renews and moves slowly through the subsurface, the impact of anthropogenic activities may last for a long time. Groundwater is often linked to wetlands and surface water and feeds rivers, especially in low flow and dry periods.  Hence, deterioration of groundwater quality and/or reduction of groundwater resources may directly affect related terrestrial and surface water ecosystems.

Groundwater is a “hidden resource” for which pollution prevention, monitoring and restoration are more difficult than for surface waters, due to its inaccessibility.


Credit pictures: Andreas Scheidleder, Environment Agency Austria for EU4Environment Water and Data

Dialogue on Georgia’s Progress and Challenges in meeting EU Water standards

Country: Georgia
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

On 17-18 January, the 10th National Policy Dialogue on Water was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, followed by technical workshops on water financing and environmental reporting.  The meeting and workshops are organised with the support of the European Union. By involving different stakeholders, this multi-sectoral platform is helping to reform water policy to meet national goals and international commitments.

Ms Nino Tandilashvili, First Deputy Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia and Mr Nicholas Cendrowicz, the Head of Cooperation Section at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia  welcomed the guests and delivered opening remarks.

Led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture and organised in cooperation with the “EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data” programme, the discussion focused on the alignment with water-related EU directives in the context of sectoral action and climate change. The participants discussed how to make operational the new Law on Water Resources Management ahead of its entry into force in September 2026. Special attention was given to the finalisation and adoption of river basin management plans.

The meeting also addressed issues such as water-saving technologies and pollution from agriculture, and accelerating investment needs for the construction of wastewater treatment plants to protect human health and ecosystems. The financial sustainability of Georgia's water sector was discussed in detail the following day at a special workshop on financing water security. Lessons learned from the joint monitoring of surface and groundwater resources with Armenia in the Khrami-Debed basin and next steps were also identified.

Ms Nino Tandilashvili, First Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia said: “In the context of the previous (9th) National Policy Dialogue, held in 2022, a noteworthy paradigm shift occurred at a time when the legislation on "Water Resources Management" had not yet been approved. This shift was facilitated by a series of working meetings, active stakeholder engagement and extensive consultations. The main provisions of the aforementioned legislation are scheduled to come into force on 1 September 2026, ushering in the implementation of the river basin management mechanism in the country. At the same time, through collaborative efforts with the European Union, we have strengthened the national water monitoring system, which helps us to assess the quantitative and qualitative state of water resources throughout the country. The second major development that marked the previous year was the granting of EU candidate status to Georgia. We recognise that both the Government of Georgia and every citizen of the country have a collective responsibility to exert heightened efforts. This commitment is imperative to meet all the requirements for EU membership and to secure a commendable place within the European community.”

Mr Nicholas Cendrowicz, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia said “As an EU candidate country, Georgia will need to take ownership of reforms in the water sector, building on last year’s Law on Water Resources Management. We trust that these reforms will be designed and implemented with strong involvement of all stakeholders, including Georgia’s international partners.”

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture as well as from the Infrastructure, Finance and Health sectors. Numerous participants represented Regional Administrations and Universities, expert institutions and NGOs. Representatives of the EU Delegation to Georgia and international organisations and donors working in the Georgian water sector attended as well.

Speaking on behalf of the EU programme’s implementing partners, Mr Alexander Zinke, Environment Agency Austria said: “Like other countries of the European Union’s Eastern Partnership region, Georgia improves step by step its environment management. Still, many daily practices result in pollution and overexploitation of water resources, also at transboundary level. We are pleased to support Georgia’s many efforts to approach EU standards, such as with river basin planning, regular monitoring and more sustainable water use, as well as in collecting and publishing more data, also on land use, waste management and air pollution. Overall, the adoption of the Water Law is a big milestone towards EU compliance.

Background information

Driven by overdemand, mismanagement and the impacts of the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, water stress is increasing worldwide. At the same time, water is essential for the resilience of both societies and the environment.

Georgia relies on its water resources not only for household, agricultural and industrial use, but also for the biggest part of its power generation. Tensions between these competing uses have emerged and may increase due to climate change impacts. Water must therefore be seen as a truly cross-sectoral issue touching all areas of the economy and the lives of citizens. Although water is abundant in Georgia, its quality and quantity vary widely. Wastewater discharged into rivers, lakes and aquifers is insufficiently treated, triggering risks and associated health problems for the population and ecosystems

Georgia has committed to reform water policies and practices as part of its Association Agreement with the European Union. This includes alignment with the EU water law, in particular, the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

For over a decade, the European Union has provided comprehensive support for reforming the water sector in Georgia. Both investment and technical support projects are ongoing.


Picture: Alexander Belokurov, UNECE.

Workshop on ecological monitoring held in Georgia to discuss the establishment of nutrient concentrations

Country: Georgia
Component: Water resources, Environmental Data

On May, 8th 2023, a workshop on ecological monitoring centered around « Establishing nutrient concentrations to support good ecological status & assessing the ecological potential in heavily modified water bodies according to the Water Framework Directive » was held in Batumi, Georgia.

The workshop was attended by 13 Georgian Biologists and Chemists from the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Water Biodiversity Department, Batumi and from the Atmospheric Air, Water and Soil Laboratory, Tbilisi. All of them are involved in the performance of the harmonization of the surveillance monitoring of the Georgian coastal and transitional waters with the EU Water Framework Directive. The workshop featured opening and closing remarks by Ms Marina Mgeladze, Head of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Water Biodiversity Department of the National Environment Agency of Georgia.

The one-day workshop included sessions on the harmonization of nutrient thresholds with biological quality elements thresholds, on the assessment of the ecological potential in coastal heavily modified water bodies (HMWBs), and a discussion on coastal and transitional water monitoring results obtained during the 2022 survey. This last discussion set the groundwork for a transitional water monitoring survey which is taking place this week.

During the previous EUWI+ project, the coastal strip from Sarpi (Border to Turkey) to Kobuleti (two surveys, including also Chorokhi estuary) was monitored. Now, under the EU4Environment Water and Data programme, experts are monitoring the remaining part of the coastal trip, from Kobuleti to Anaklia, including transitional waters of the Supsa, Rioni and Enguri Rivers, as well as the Paliastomi lake. These surveys have several purposes, first to collect data in particular water bodies for the setup of draft thresholds, second to apply multiparametric indices suitable for the Black Sea, and third to assess the ecological status of investigated coastal and transitional water bodies.

During the workshop hold in Batumi on the 8th of May, two topics have been covered.

  • The first one was about the problem how to harmonize nutrient thresholds with the status of biological quality elements (especially with Phytoplankton). The Joint Research Center Ecostat approach on this problem was explained and the Nutrient toolkit presented. Different Toolkit linear and categorical models were presented. A copy of the Toolkit was handed over to the workshop participants to perform the same calculations based on existing data for the coastal zone in Georgia.
  • The second topic was about the ecological potential which has to be assessed in artificial (AWB) and heavily modified water bodies (HMWB) instead of the ecological status. During this discussion, the difference between natural and artificial and heavily modified water bodies was considered, the stepwise approach for the designation of artificial and heavily modified water bodies was shown and some typical changes of the hydromorphological quality elements due to physical alterations in the coastal zone demonstrated. Further the differences between the ecological status and the ecological potential was discussed as well as the problem of the Maximum Ecological Potential (MEP) assessment. Based on the example of a harbour, as an identified HMWB, the MEP assessment was demonstrated with two methods (HMWB restoration measures method and “closest comparable” surface type method).

At the end of the workshop, some minor identified gaps from the first Kobuleti – Anaklia survey have been discussed as well as the draft results of the survey which indicate a relatively good status of the investigated water bodies. The final assessment of the ecological status will be calculated after data evaluation of the second coastal and transitional water survey  (currently in progress).

Georgia kicks off the planning process for Enguri and Rioni river basins

Country: Georgia
Component: Water resources

On February 14, 2023 the Kick-off workshop for the development of the River Basin Management Plans (RBMP) for the Enguri and Rioni river basins in Georgia was held at “Best Western Hotel” in Kutaisi.

 The aim of the meeting was to present the approach and timeline for the development of RBMPs, introduce the Georgian team of experts involved in the development, and initiate the dialogue with  local stakeholders.

The meeting was attended by around 40 representatives of the beneficiary organisations, regional administrations, local authorities, NGOs, local subcontractor, water sector experts, as well as the “EU4Environment: Water and Data” programme.

Opening remarks were made by Maia Javakhishvili, Deputy Head of Environment and Climate Change Department, Ministry of Environmental Protection of Georgia and representatives of the “EU4Environment: Water and Data” programme.

As an introduction to the meeting, the history and status of development of RBMPs in Georgia was presented by Mariam Makarova, Head of Water Division, MEPA Department of Environment and Climate Change.

The local contractor team for development for the RBMPs, REC Caucasus, and the programme's representatives presented the timeline and methodology of the RBMP development. The French expert from International Office for Water shared experiences from the EU member states. The work to develop the RBMP chapters started in December 2022, the RBMP is expected to be finalised by June 2024.

Georgian experts responsible for the development of the RBMP chapters presented their approach and methodologies, including the delineation of water bodies, basin characterisation, identification of significant pressures and analysis of their impacts. The participants to the workshop provided their feedbacks.

The approach for communication and stakeholder engagement in both basins was also presented by the expert of the local contractor. Two plenary consultation meetings (multi stakeholder meetings) are foreseen at different development stages for both plans.

The last session of the workshop was dedicated to identification of data and information, to the identification of on-going projects and initiatives in the basin, as well as to a preliminary identification of the main challenges in the basins, according to local stakeholders. The identified issues ranged from site-specific pressures and issues to problems general for the overall basin, as well as institutional and global issues, requiring intervention at national level.

The EU-funded “EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data” Programme, launched in 2021, aims at supporting a more sustainable use of water resources and improving the use of sound environmental data ... Read more




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