US government invests $1.6 million to protect national parks of Georgia

Kazbegi National Park. Photo: National Parks of Georgia., 18 Oct 2019 - 13:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

The US government has announced the launch of a five-year, $1.6 million programme ‘National Parks and Ecotourism’ to protect Georgian national parks and make them economically sustainable and more attractive for tourists, announced the Minister of Environmental Development of Georgia today. 

The programme starts today and is financed by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Georgia.

The project aims to develop the infrastructure of protected areas.

Protected areas are treasures of Georgia that need protection and development”, said the Mission Director of USAID in Georgia Peter Wiebler.

A new project will develop protected areas in Georgia…improve their management system and sustainable development”, said Acting US Ambassador Elizabeth Rood.

The USAID National Parks and Ecotourism Program (NPE) will support ecotourism and increase economic activity in the country.

The NPE will also work with municipalities, non-profit and private organizations to provide technical support and training to improve their productivity and economic efficiency. The NPE will promote tourist zones and make economic conditions better for people living near the tourist areas by creating new jobs. 

The programme ... will support the implementation of various economic projects in protected areas, which will significantly improve the economic conditions of the local population," said the Minister of Environment Protection Levan Davitashvili.

The project will be carried out by the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI)’s International Technical Assistance Program (DOI-ITAP).

Earlier this year, the Caucasus Nature Fund has also allocated €870,000 for the development of three national parks in Georgia: Borjomi-Kharagauli, Mtirala and Pshav-Khevsureti.

The development period will span between 2019 and 2021.

In April 2019 European Union (EU) launched three new projects for environmental protection and climate change in Georgia.