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UNEP to help fight land degradation in Georgia

UNEP is to support Georgia in its efforts to tackle land degradation and associated threats to food production under a new Global Environment Fund (GEF) project launched at the Environment for Europe conference.


Under an agreement signed on 8 June by UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw and the Georgian Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Protection Gigla Agulashvili, UNEP will help Georgia to mainstream sustainable land management into agricultural production in the country through institutional and regulatory reforms, technical support, demonstration projects and capacity building.


The Georgian Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources Protection rates 35 % of its agricultural land as being degraded and, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, 60% of agricultural land in Georgia is of low or middle production quality. Major drivers of this include uncontrolled grazing and urban sprawl, as well as deforestation.


The project will therefore develop a list of technical solutions, identify gaps in the country’s laws and policies and boost national capacity and knowledge management through the training of farmers and decision-makers on sustainable practices. Three pilot projects will furthermore be run in the towns of Gardabani, Dedoplistsqaro and Akhmeta demonstrating sustainable practices.


As a result, the project is expected to lead to healthier ecosystems, reduced emissions stemming from agriculture, improved carbon sequestration and biodiversity levels and reduced vulnerability to climate change.


Sustainable land management allows land users to maximize the economic and social benefits from land while maintaining its ecological support functions, such as good soil quality.


The GEF project is titled ‘Applying Landscape and Sustainable Land Management (L-SLM) for Mitigating Land Degradation and Contributing to Poverty Reduction in Rural Areas’ and will run for three years. It has a budget of $4.58 million, including $923 000 of GEF grant.


UNEP is currently working on projects worth $70.5 million focusing on Sustainable Land Management worldwide.



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