Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Georgia

Panorama photo of historic village

Historic village in high mountain region Tusheti (Georgia), target region for the establishment of a biosphere reserve; Photo: Sophie Hirschelmann

The Eighth Ministerial Conference of the pan-European Environment for Europe process was held in the Georgian city of Batumi from 8 to 10 June. Around 800 delegates from the 56 member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which includes the countries of Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia, the USA and Canada, discussed air pollution control, promoting a green economy, and education for sustainable development. It was possible to agree on tangible actions and measures, among other things via the Batumi Action for Cleaner Air (2016-2021), in order to reduce air pollution in the UNECE region.

The goal of the Ministerial Conference, which has been held every five years since 1991, is to improve pan-European environmental quality and to promote multilateral cooperation in the UNECE region.
Within the context of the regional programme on Capacity Development for Climate Policy in the Western Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Phase II, the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) is also supporting activities in Georgia, which were introduced at the conference. The programme is being implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH with a grant totalling EUR 6.45 million.

In Georgia, the project is focusing its support on the country’s environment ministry as it implements the climate chapter of the EU association agreement as well as its national contribution to climate change mitigation. A conceptual framework for considering cumulative impacts is likewise being developed through the implementation of environmental impact assessments in the hydropower sector. Within the GIZ programme, the Michael Succow Foundation for the Protection of Nature is advising the environment ministry on identifying appropriate sites for establishing an exemplary biosphere reserve in line with UNESCO standards.

Under the framework of the advisory assistance programme being implemented by the Federal Environmental Agency, support is being provided to the environment ministry on the collection of data regarding improved management of chemicals in Georgia. The overarching goal of the projects being supported by BMUB in Georgia as well as its neighbouring countries is to raise environmental and nature conservation regulations to the level of German or EU standards.

In his speech during the Ministerial Conference, Georgia’s environment minister, Gigla Agulashvili, thanked BMUB and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) for the long-standing and successful cooperation, and emphasised the important role that Germany plays for Georgia as a donor and partner in promoting environmental protection and nature conservation.