The official launching of the EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data programme in Georgia was held in an online format on 7 March 2022. The programme will further support Georgia in the preservation of its natural resources in line with the European Green Deal and a post-COVID-19 green recovery. It aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Georgian citizens, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme is part of the Team Europe Initiative on Water and Zero Pollution, which aims at moving towards a toxic-free environment for all citizens.
EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data reinforces the on-going EU4Environment Action in Georgia. It aims to support existing and new policies and their implementation at local levels through decentralized management of water resources, and to improve access to reliable data and information on water resources, but also on air quality, land use and waste to decision-makers and Georgian citizens. To this end, EU4Environment – Water Resources and Environmental Data builds upon the success of previous operational projects like the European Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+) and the Shared Environmental Information System Phase II (ENIS SEIS II East).
The EUWI+ project has helped Georgia implement its existing Association Agreement with the EU and gradually adopt EU water management practices. River Basin Management Plans for Alazani-Iori and Khrami-Debeda river basins and extension of the Chorokhi-Ajaristskali basin management plan to the Black Sea coastal issues, all three ready for Government adoption (covering together 24,000km2, 961,000 inhabitants). Its development involved 16 Georgian experts and 319 local participants took part in stakeholder consultations. To reinforce knowledge of water resources, monitoring sites for rivers and groundwater were upgraded, and field surveys covering more than 230 sites were held in the frame of the project. Additional work on water data integration, laws and regulations enforcement as well as financing mechanisms and public awareness raising was also undertaken during the project.
The ENI SEIS II East project supported implementation of the principles and practices of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) to strengthen the production of environmental data and indicators in biodiversity, water, land, waste and air. The project developed the country’s institutional capacity in environmental assessment and accounting, and as an example introduced new tools for improving the accessibility to air quality monitoring data based on the EU Air Quality Directives and the Air Quality Index published by the European Environment Agency.
The European Commission and the implementing partners look forward to continuing and strengthening their engagement with Georgia under this new European Union support. Together they will strengthen the management of water resources and environmental data to benefit the environment and wellbeing of Georgian citizens.
Mr Alexandre Darras, Team Leader Connectivity, Energy, Environment and Climate change, European Delegation said “The European Union supports Georgia’s green transformation in line with the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building on previous EU projects and with a view to strengthening existing support, this programme focuses on water and environmental data. It will help ensure a clean and safe water supply for all Georgian citizens and tackle challenges of air pollution or waste management with better availability of policy-relevant data for decision-makers.”
Ms. Nino Tandilashvili, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture said “As part of its commitments under the Association Agreement, Georgia is aligning its national policies and strategies with the European Union. Georgia is undertaking reforms to ensure protection and sound distribution of water among different sectors of the economy: progress was achieved with the Draft Law on Water Resources Management and our water monitoring network has been significantly extended. This new programme will be instrumental for supporting environmental protection in Georgia.”