|EVALUATION FOR THE REVIEW OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
PROGRAMME OF WORK ON PROTECTED AREAS
Key evaluation questions and national considerations
1. Is the existing national protected area system comprehensive, ecologically representative and effectively managed (provide number of existing protected areas, total area covered, and type and percentage of biomes covered)?
The national protected areas system/network coverage is significant, but not yet comprehensive.
The Protected Areas of Georgia are consistent with the IUCN categories. So far protected areas categories are distributed as follows: 18 Strict Nature Reserves (category I), 5 National Parks (category II), 3 Natural Monuments (category III), 9 Managed Nature Reserves (category IV) and 1 Protected Landscape (category V).
The total area of the protected areas system is 467 22, 5 ha.
The following biomes are represented in the protected areas of Georgia: forests, high mountain ecosystems, marine and fresh water ecosystems, wetlands (mires, swampy forests etc.), flood plane forests, semi-deserts.
2. Do new protected areas established since COP-7 cover underrepresented ecosystems and biomes (number of new protected areas since COP-7, area covered by them, type and percentage of biomes covered by them)?
Since COP -7 Mtirala National Park has been established, with the area of 15 806 ha, representing the forest ecosystems of the medium mountain zone. In these ecosystems Rhododendron ponticum, Rhododendron caucasicum, Rhododendron luteumt, Rhododendron smirnowii, Rhododendron ungernii, Buxus colchica, Epigaea gaulteriodes are spread, the latter species is found only in Turkey and Adjara Region of Georgia.
3. Are there plans for the establishment of additional protected areas by the year 2010 (terrestrial) and 2012 (marine)?
There are several plans and proposals/draft laws on designation of new protected areas in Great Caucasus Mountains (Svaneti and Racha National Parks and Protected Landscapes, as well as dozens of Natural Monuments), in Minor Caucasus Mountain (Ktsia-Tabatskuri Managed Nature reserve and Javakheti National Park), as well as in region of Carst Caves of Imereti.
4. What measures haven been taken for developing enabling environment (legislation, policies, tools) for integrating protected areas into broader land and seascapes and sectoral interests (i.e. agriculture, infrastructure, energy)?
Protected areas network development is the fundamental for the existing protected areas framework legislation. Furthermore, through the international technical assistance new recommendations are provided for further advancement/amendment of protected areas legislation and related regulations in order to strengthen role of protected areas in introduction of “ecosystem approach” in regional/landscape level planning and sustainable development programs.
5. What collaboration across national boundaries has been implemented in relation to protected areas?
The two transboundary protected areas are planned to be established: Georgian- Azerbaijanian transboundary protected area of Lagodekhi-Belakani and Georgian-Armenian transboundary protected area of Samtskhe-Javakheti.
6. What percentage of protected areas (area and number) has up-to-date science-based management plans that
a) Are under development?
b) Are under effective implementation?
Up-to-date science-based management plans have been elaborated and are being implemented for five protected areas of Georgia (Tusheti, Vashlovani, Lagodekhi, Kolkheti and Kobuleti) with the area of 192107 ha. The management plan has also been elaborated for Borjomi-Kharagauli protected area. The management plans for two (Batsara-Babaneuri and Mtirala) protected areas are under development.
7. What measures have been put in place to identify, prevent and/or mitigate the negative impacts of threats?
Increase in size, establishment of connectivity and institutional enhancement of protected areas are contributing to the decline of threats related to habitat fragmentation, illegal resource extraction/poaching, however approaching large scale privatization of forests and other wilderness areas that are outside of protected areas potentially can consequent negative impact on functioning of life support system.
Capacity building and awareness programs are underway for professional staff and general public, ecotourism development initiatives are demonstrating importance of ecosystems and natural resource conservation. Special seminars have been held to improve the management of the protected areas, including seminars – aiming to increase efficiency of anti-fire measures, to carry out pathological researches. The anti-fire clothes and devices have been acquired; besides the acquirement of the transportation means, weapon and horses, as well as introduction of the radiolocating network have been planned in order to strengthen the protection measures.
8. What legislative or policy frameworks are in place to establish frameworks for the equitable sharing of costs and benefits arising from the establishment and management of protected areas?
The management of the protected areas is implemented according to the following laws:
Law of Georgia on Protected Areas;
Law of Georgia on Establishment and Management of Tusheti, Batsara-Babaneuri, Lagodekhi and Vashlovani Protected Areas;
Law of Georgia on Establishment and Management of Kolkheti Protected Areas;
Law of Georgia on Red Book and Red List;
Forestry Code of Georgia
9. What mechanisms have been implemented to ensure full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, in full respect of their rights and recognition of their responsibilities, consistent with national law and applicable international obligations, in the management of existing, and the establishment and management of new, protected areas?
The management of existing and the establishment and management of new protected areas, occurring with the participation of the local governments, include the inquiring of the local population and sharing priorities identified by them. Besides, the legislation on protected areas considers possibility of alternative ways for solving the problems related to the interests of the local population.
10. What mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the participation of relevant stakeholders, in the management of existing, and the establishment and management of new, protected areas?
The management of existing and the establishment and management of new protected areas are based on the sharing of the interest of all relevant stakeholders, by their direct participation in different projects aiming at efficient development of the protected areas system. Framework legislation provides legal bases for establishment of stakeholder forums at particular protected area and the system levels.
11. Are the appropriate policy, institutional and socio-economic frameworks in place to value goods and services and enable more effective establishment and management of protected areas?
In order to enable more effective establishment and management of protected areas, different measures have been taken by Georgia, including the establishment of Brjomi-Kharagauli assisting zone. Besides, for improving the socio-economic conditions, developing of the ecotourism in the protected areas is deemed to be essential. On the other hand, the sustainable development of the ecotourism greatly depends on the ensuring the participation of the local population in it. This serves to them as compensation to prohibition of any other kind of economic activities in the area. In this case, the population will make efforts to maintain the traditional life style and thus will contribute to avoiding violation (such as poaching, wood cutting, etc) of conservation rules. This participation may include producing and selling the specimens of folk craft, arrangement of family-hotels (hotels located in private houses), providing the visitors with food, selling or renting the devices and so on.
14. What capacity-building programmes have been undertaken or are being undertaken. How successful have the completed programmes been?
The most important and successful trainings, held in this regard, are the trainings on the inventory and conservation methods of biodiversity and on development of relevant management plans. These trainings have ensured the sharing of experience of each protected area.
16. Have financial needs been identified? What are the results of this needs assessment (quantitative and qualitative)?
The following measures have been taken to meet the financial needs identified:
The project on development of the Tchachuna Managed Reserve – Government of Norway, WWF Caucasus PO, 156 000 lari was allocated within the project in 2006;
Open programme – Borjomi-kharagauli National Park
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW and WWF Caucasus PO are involved. The programme was started on 21of December, 1998 and since 2 609 427 German marks has been allocated for infrastructure of Borjomi-kharagauli National Park.
2005-2009 the grant of 400 000 euros have been issued to cover expertise and operational expenses of Borjomi-kharagauli National Park.
The integrated management project of the coastal zone:
The project has been funded by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, began in 1999 and ended in February of 2007. Within the project 7, 6 million USD have been allocated, within which the Kolkheti Protected Areas have been established and equipped with infrastructure (spent 2 436 113, 75 USD).
Protected Areas Development Project – Global Environment Facility (GEF), World Bank (WB), grant – 8 700 000 USD for the protected areas of the Eastern Georgia (Vashlovani, Lagodekhi, Tusheti);
Establishment of Mtirala National Park – WWF Caucasus / Government of Norway;
Protected Areas Development Project – Global Environment Facility (GEF) and World Bank (WB), Project on Institutional Development of Protected Areas – 1 255 900 USD;
The preparation of the management plan for the Central Caucasus – 188 865, 85 USD – within the International Technical Assistance Programme of the US Internal Department; in 2006-2007 – 600 000 USD within the same Programme for:
Capacity building/reviewing the legislation and elaboration of recommendations;
Planning the demonstrative sites in the National Parks of Tbilisi and Racha;
Preparation of informational material;
Transboundary protected areas (planning, coordination, technical assistance);
17. What strategies are in place to meet these needs, and in particular to secure long-term funding for the national protected areas system?
One of the planned measures to secure long-term funding for the national protected areas system the following is the establishment of the foundation of Caucasus Protected Areas in Germany (CPAF), ensuring the Long-term financial support;
Besides, as one of the best ways to secure long-term financial sustainability of the protected areas is the establishing of self-profitable mechanism, with this purpose the efforts are made (as it is mentioned above) to flourish ecotourism. Currently in National Parks the mechanisms have been elaborated aiming to receive the income from tourism and special tariffs have been defined. The potential sources of income, derived from ecotourism are:
Different tourist services in the national parks (service of guide, renting of horses, renting of boats, parking fees, costs of tourist routs, renting of the devices for amateurish fishing);
18. Is there a review mechanism for public education programmes to measure if they have been effective in communicating the basic biodiversity values of protected areas?
The eco-educational programme has been elaborated on protected areas, within which the conference-exhibition has already been held for school children. The open-lessons are regularly held in schools regarding biodiversity value of the protected areas and conservation needs. The questionnaires have been elaborated for local population. Besides, the following activities are planned:
The preparation of the methodical instructions for teachers and school children;
The preparation of instructions with the title: “the code of conduct in protected areas”, assigned mainly for school children, students and visitors;
Planning of eco-educational path in the state reserve of Algeti;
Continuous cooperation with different educational organizations with the purpose of conducting the joint eco-educational activities;
19. Have standards, criteria and best practices for a) site selection, b) management, c) governance, and d) long-term monitoring of outcomes been applied and documented?
(Please provide a reference).
The protected areas monitoring system is planned to be established, which will be included in the international biodiversity monitoring system.
20. Has your country evaluated management effectiveness of protected areas in a systematic way? If yes,
(a) What percentage of national protected area system surface area has been evaluated?
(b) What are the conclusions for the national protected areas system and to what extent were results incorporated into management plans and strategies?
In 1998 World Bank-WWF alliance was established aiming at controlling the efficiency of monitoring mechanism.
In 2003 the efficiency of the management of the protected areas was estimated.
Besides, from time to time, the governmental and the public organizations assess the efficiency of functioning of protected areas.