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From left to right: Mr Alisher Mamadzhanov - UNECE, Ms Tatiana Efimova - OECD,
Ms Nino Tandilashvili - Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA),
Mr Alexander Zinke - EUWI+ project leader of the EU Member State Consortium
© Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia

Georgia is undertaking a major reform of its water sector that includes a shift towards basin management of water resources to comply with the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) requirements. The reform includes developing River Basin Management plans and further strengthening the water monitoring system. The current reform agenda and remaining challenges in the water sector were the focus of discussions at the 7th steering committee meeting of the National Policy Dialogue on Integrated Water Resources Management on 5 March 2020. Delegates from national authorities, local stakeholders, NGOs and international experts from EU Member States gathered to share practical experiences of the water reform journey and to discuss the next steps to ensure the environmentally sound management of water resources.

 

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7th Steering Committee Meeting of the National Policy Dialogue in Georgia © Mikheil Kurdadze - REC Caucasus

 

“The national water policy dialogue is crucial to implement a coordinated approach to Integrated Water Resources Management in Georgia. Policy dialogue is pivotal as it allows for complex decisions to be made by engaging all government agencies, NGOs and experts. By bringing all relevant stakeholders together, we can sucssesfully adopt sustainable water management practicies.”

Ms Nino Tandilashvili – Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.

The EU Water Directives provide a framework to set up policy objectives for Georgia’s water sector. The National Policy Dialogue supports water reform by strengthening water governance and enhancing stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process.The meeting discussed the progress made on legal and regulatory reforms, development of pilot river basin management plans for the Alazani-Lori and Khrami-Debeda basins, and emerging needs associated with implementing the EU Association Agreement.

The meeting was facilitated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia with support from the European Union through the “European Union Water Initiative plus for the Eastern Partnership Countries” (EUWI+) programme.

 

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7th Steering Committee Meeting of the National Policy Dialogue in Georgia © Mikheil - REC Caucasus

The event was attended by more than 45 participants representing various national ministries and agencies, civil society, local stakeholders NGOs, international experts from EU Member States and international financial institutions.

Keynote speakers:

  • Ms Nino Tandilashvili - Deputy Minister, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA) – welcoming remarks and adoption of the agenda
  • Ms Mariam Makarova - Water Division, Environment and Climate Change, MEPA
  • Ms Nana Gabriadze, Head of the Environment and Health Division, NCDC, Ministry of Health
  • Ms Margarita Arabidze, Deputy Head of Energy Division, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
  • Mr Gizo Chelidze, Head of Hydromelioration and Land Management Department, MEPA

Background info:

National Policy Dialogues (NPDs) are the main operational instruments under the European Union Water Initiative in the countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. The objective of National Policy Dialogues is to facilitate the reform of water policies in a particular country. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe is the strategic partner for NPDs on Integrated Water Resources Management; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the strategic partner for NPDs on Water Supply and Sanitation and also works on the economic and financial dimension of water policies. http://www.unece.org/env/water/npd

Launched in September 2016 for a duration of 4 years, the European Union Water Initiative plus for the Eastern Partnership programme (EUWI+) is one of the biggest policy dialogue and technical support commitments of the European Union to the water sector in the Eastern Partner countries. The programme supports the six partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) to align their legislation with European Union's policy on water management, with a focus on transboundary rivers. The project is co-funded by the European Union (EUR 23.5 million) and Austria and France (EUR 1.0 million). It is implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and an EU member states consortium comprising the Environment Agency Austria (Austria) and the International Office for Water (France). At the end of the project, two river basin management plans will be developed in Georgia in the pilot river basins of Khrami-Debed and Alasani-Iori. Law enforcement at national level will ensure the further implementation of these plans to help manage water resources for sustainable development.

PRESS RELEASE (EN)