How has the EU helped Georgia protect the environment in the past 18 months?

  • All these achievements will permit Georgia to accelerate the implementation of the environmental provisions included within the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and to improve its environmental protection system to the ultimate benefit of Georgian nature and the health of Georgian citizens. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

     

Agenda.ge, 16 Oct 2020 - 13:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

During the past 18 months Georgia has designed legislation for environmental liability, drafted a proposal for a Marine Environment Strategy and Action Programme, trained inspectors and assessed air quality aspects, and prepared management plans for three Emerald Sites with the support of the European Union (EU). 

The EU has just concluded its 18-month project 'Support for the Implementation of the Environmental Provisions of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement’. 

Project results include: 

  • Proposals for four by-laws on environmental liability
  • A draft National Marine Environment Strategy and Action Programme
  • Management Plans for three Emerald Sites: Samegrelo 2, Racha-Lechkhumi, and Svaneti-Racha
  • Reports on air quality aspects (emissions from petrol distribution and from paints production and distribution; air quality policy outlook)
  • Reports on protected areas monitoring and management

The EU said in its press release that all these achievements will permit Georgia to accelerate the implementation of the environmental provisions included within the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and to improve its environmental protection system to the ultimate benefit of Georgian nature and the health of Georgian citizens.

Watch the video published by the EU Delegation to Georgia on its official Twitter account where project team leader Rob Bakx briefly summarises the project achievements. 

Environmental liability

The idea behind environmental liability is that 'the polluter pays', to avoid that non-polluters end up paying the cost, e.g. through higher taxes or personal damage. Recently, the draft Law on Environmental Liability was adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on second hearing. 

Marine strategy and action programme

A proposal for a Marine Environment Strategy and Action Programme aims at improving the quality of Georgia’s Black Sea marine environment in line with the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The EU says that marine pollution is increasing rapidly, affecting wildlife and ecosystems. 

Pollution includes acidification and eutrophication of the sea, underwater noise, accumulation of plastic and other wastes, toxins and comes from industrial, harbour, and agricultural activities, shipping, tourism, traffic, sewage water, and littering. 

Air quality

Georgia is in the process of harmonising its legislation with the EU’s Paints and Stage I Petrol Vapour Recovery Directives. To support the process, the EU project has assessed Georgia’s capacity regarding volatile organic compounds control from the petrol and paints sectors and inspectors were trained to enforce the rules.

Also, an Air Quality Policy Outlook report for Georgia was drafted, concisely reviewing the country’s state of the ambient air, air pollutants and air polluters, with a number of recommendations for each of these for further action.

Emerald Network of protected areas

The ‘Emerald Network’ is a network of nature protection areas, launched by the Council of Europe in 1989 as part of its work under the 1982 Bern Convention, aimed at conserving wild flora and fauna and the natural habitats of Europe.

Georgia is also a party to the Convention and has the obligation to establish its own country Emerald Network. To date, 46 Emerald sites have been formally designated in Georgia and management plans must be elaborated for each site. The EU project supported this work with a series of workshops, the development of the first three management plans, and with monitoring and conservation activities.

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