Donors support preserving biodiversity in Adjara

Machakela National Park; Photo by Caucasus Treasure;, 09 Jun 2014 - 14:26, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia are launching a new initiative to assist protected areas in the autonomous republic of Adjara in Georgia’s south-west.

The program, worth more than $1.3 million USD, is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP.

The new initiative supported the expansion of Adjara’s protected areas, including the Kintrishi National Reserve, Mtirala National Park and the newly established Machakela National Park.

Environment Minister Khatuna Gogaladze and UNDP head in Georgia, Niels Scott, signed an agreement today that would note the beginning of the four-year program.

Scott believed the project would improve financial and administrative management of Adjara’s protected areas."It will assist local residents to take part in decision-making and benefit from the expansion of the national parks through new employment and business opportunities, raised incomes and improved livelihoods,” Scott said.

Machakhela valley is characterized by a unique variety of relict and endemic plants, where 10.8 hectares of the valley is covered by forests and 75 percent of the territory is virgin forests and is dominated by beech trees.

Around 200 species of vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish) live in the Machakhela valley territory.

The program will also promote cooperation of

Machakela National Park; Photo by Caucasus Treasure;

the Adjara Protected Areas with the Jamili Biosphere Reserve in Turkey, which together form the unique Colchic Forests and create exceptional opportunities for environmental tourism.