TBILISI. February 12, 2020 — REC Caucasus hosted an online consultation workshop to discuss key metrics and land degradation indicators in the context of Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Agriculture and Food programme (TEEBAgriFood) in Georgia. The consultation workshop gathered more than 30 participants, representing a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds and perspectives.
The main aim of the meeting was to identify key priority areas and objectives for the TEEBAgriFood study in Georgia, as well as determine the baseline and alternative scenarios regarding the current Sustainable Land Management practices. Topics of discussion included issues of cost and benefits of agriculture and food systems, which need to be unravelled, understood, and evaluated, as well as drivers to encourage shift to SLM and change current land use practices. Participants agreed on TEEBAgriFood Evaluation Framework to assess the impacts of diverse “eco-agri-food systems” and policy interventions in the contexts of Land Degradation Neutrality and Sustainable Land Management in 4 pilot municipalities of Georgia, which include Gori, Kareli, Kvareli and Sagarejo.
Some of the key ecosystem services discussed as appropriate for inclusion in the study were: soil maintenance, fodder and grazing for livestock, water quality and quantity, flood regulation, carbon sequestration, recreation and tourism and biodiversity. As for the SLM options, which the study should explore were cited rotational grazing, crops rotation, reduction of livestock herds, reduction of crop residue burning and reforestation. The participants analyzed key drivers, barriers and incentives to change and outlined that some of the main barriers are lack of knowledge on SLM and finances. Speakers also pinpointed on current land use practices to be fragmented and chaotic, which can be addressed by providing information and demonstrating SLM, providing subsidies and enforcing relevant regulations. The first Study Report will be available and validated with broad spectrum of Stakeholders in June 2021.
The workshop was organized within the GEF funded project “Generating Economic and Environmental Benefits from Sustainable Land Management for Vulnerable Rural Communities of Georgia”. Project’s Implementing Agency is UNEP – UN Environment Programme, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia (MEPA) as its beneficiary and the Regional Environment Centre for the Caucasus (REC-Caucasus) as an executive agency.