The final months of 2018 were busy and eventful for ECF Georgia. On December 14th a signing ceremony was held at Hotel Courtyard Marriott in Tbilisi to celebrate and finalize the signing of two conservation agreements.
Welcome speeches were delivered by multiple high-profile guests. The Georgian Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture, the Head of Development Cooperation from the South Caucasus/German Embassy, the Regional Governor of Satmtskhe-Javakheti Region and the Regional Director of WWF Caucasus all spoke, briefly outlining their involvement in the project and their excitement at its success.
Next, WWF Caucasus director Giorgi Sanadiradze and ECF National Coordinator, Rusudan Chochua spoke, giving short presentations on the Eco-Corridors Fund projects as a whole as well as on the specific conservation agreements being signed. The event was also attended by high-level representatives from different governmental institutions and international organizations.
Four communities in Georgia were celebrating the signing of ECF conservation agreements. The beneficiaries of the agreements are the communities of Dertseli, Mokhe, Naminauri and Tsikhisubani who will have access to a total budget of 751 000 EUR over 10 years. The total area covered by conservation agreements is 8.709 ha, including 2.285 strict protection zone.
The nature conservation measures identified for the newly signed agreements in Georgia are focused on maintaining the existing landscape mosaic, promoting ecologically sustainable land-use in the region and protecting selected Red List species and their habitats, ultimately increasing population numbers within the corridor area.
Main conservation measures included in the agreements:
prevent poaching and promote the protection of core wildlife habitat zones by caretakers
preserve forest ecosystems
preserve traditional pastures and improving their productivity
maintain hay meadows with high grassland plant communities
implement community-based livestock damage solidarity fund
conduct biodiversity monitoring
secure long-term interest of the people for sustainable management of the lands
The momentum from these new conservation agreements will carry into 2019, with the continued preparation of pending conservation agreements in Adigeni and Khulo Municipalities. These two agreements are well advanced and are expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2019.