Support Development of Biodiversity Conservation Policies and Practices in Mountain Regions of the South Caucasus
December 15, 2011

 

 

Completed Tasks

 

1.     Formation of Steering Committees

Formation of Steering Committees in all three countries has been done, members of SC have been officially appointed by relevant ministries and agencies, as well as NGO representatives. Steering Committee meetings were already launched.

Steering committees discussed the following issues:

  • ·       Introduction of project goals and planned activities,
  • ·       Elaboration of common methodological approaches on TEEBs, relevance of the project activities to national needs, implementation modalities and activities for 2012 work plan
  • ·       Identification of priorities for development of ecological and economic approaches to structure evaluation of ecosystem services,
  • ·       Recommendations of appropriate valuation methodologies to examine the economic costs of biodiversity loss and the costs and benefits of actions to reduce losses in selected communities.

The feedback received from Steering Committees

  • ·       Importance on public awareness component, and inclusion of communities in project activities,
  • ·       Highlighted growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and necessity to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions,
  • ·       RA Ministries of Nature Projection, Ministries of Agriculture, other relevant stakeholders noted that the project is in line with the countries’ current needs, and the tendency to put it into the practices is welcomed. They noted that the topic of ecosystem services is important both for preserving biodiversity and using economic benefits through TEEBs, and the project idea initiated by REC Caucasus is much appreciated.

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2.     Regional Expert Meeting

Regional Expert Meeting has been organized in December 2011 aimed to present project goals and objectives and planned activities, to elaborate common methodological approaches, discuss the relevance of the project activities to national and regional needs, discuss implementation modalities and activities for 2012 work plan.

 

Regional meeting helped to identify priorities for development of ecological and economic approaches to structure evaluation of ecosystem services, and elaborate recommendations of appropriate valuation methodologies to examine the economic costs of biodiversity loss and the costs and benefits of actions to reduce these losses.

Regional meeting has discussed issues regarding involvement of relevant country stakeholders, steering committees, and proposed role of partners, as well as TEEB methodology, including

·       Ecological and economic approaches to structure evaluation of ecosystem services

·       Recommendations of appropriate valuation methodologies to examine the global economic costs of biodiversity loss and the costs and benefits of actions to reduce these losses.

·       Economic assessment of values of ecosystems services and biodiversity (including forest ecosystems)

·       Elaboration of Forest resource use study in selected communities, as well as GIS database development

·       Gap analysis of relevant existing regional / local policy, strategies, programs

3.     Field Trips 

Two field trips have been conducted:

·       The first one on the 14th and 15th of June 2012 in the Oni-Ghebi Region

·       The second one between the 31st of July and the 2nd of August 2012 in the Ghebi Community

The overall goal of the field visits was to identify main consumers of resources (timber and non-wood resource manufacturers, users of pastures, etc.) at the local level and to conduct in-depth interviews with local population to prepare elaborated survey.).

During the meetings with the local population and representatives of Rhebi Community; main juristic, environmental and socio-economic aspects of using timber, non-wood and pasture resources were identified. As a result of the interviews, valuable information was obtained about the amount of resources used at the local level. The data was included in the report on studying forest resource usage. A meeting was also carried out with the principle of the public school of the village Ghebi and the possibility of involving high senior students in the project activities was discussed.

Within the field visit, meetings were also held with Oni Municipality Governor, Head of Sakrebulo and representatives of other municipalities. During the meetings interviews were held and information was obtained about the management of using resources by the local institutions. At the meeting the possibility of including biodiversity protection issues into the local development plans was discussed. It was noted that at present the first draft of Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti socio-economic development plan doesn’t contain any environmental or biodiversity protection issues.