Successful completion of the Lithuanian-led Twinning project for Georgia’s forests
The high-level final conference for the EU Twinning project "Strengthening the Implementation of Sustainable Forest Management in Georgia" was held in Tbilisi on 22 November 2018. The conference was opened by Kęstutis Navickas, the Minister of Environment of Lithuania, and Levan Davitashvili, the Minister for Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
Minister Kęstutis Navickas noted the importance of the first Lithuanian-led Twinning project in the area of environmental protection and the significance of pursuing sustainable forest management in Georgia, providing Lithuanian professional experience and developing mutual cooperation.
Three ambassadors, the Head of the EU Delegation in Georgia, the Head of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament of Georgia and other high-level officials welcomed the conference guests confirming the importance of this event and reiterating that forest policy issues are of particular relevance in today's agenda.
Project experts from Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia presented an 18-month joint work with their colleagues from Georgia, covering all the key aspects of the forest policy.
The most relevant project recommendation is to adopt and start implementing a new Forest Code soon, which was prepared following the recommendations of project experts. It will make a solid foundation and be a good start on the road towards sustainable forest management.
Changes in the institutional framework of the forest sector are of high importance as well. Based on EU practice, project experts prepared a concept of forestry enterprise which was adapted to Georgian specificity. A precise guidance was designed to strengthen the state forest control authority - the Department of Environmental Supervision. In addition, experts developed a completely new concept of long-term advance training system in the forestry sector institutions and proposed a new additional national funding mechanism for better environmental and forest management.
However, the real changes in Georgia’s forestry sector can be achieved when all the recommendations are implemented. Only the complex application of all measures will ensure the establishment of sustainable forestry sector. This was the main wish for the future of Georgia’s forests sector from the majority of the participants.
The project “Strengthening the Implementation of Sustainable Forest Management in Georgia“ started in June 2017 and was financed through the EU Twinning Programme. The project was implemented by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuanian State Forest Service and the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary, as junior partner. Over 120 international expert missions, 6 study visits to Lithuania and Hungary as well as a number of workshops and roundtable discussions took place during the implementation process.