Strengthening Livelihoods and Social Inclusion in Georgia's Forest Sector Reform


As part of a comprehensive forest sector reform, the proposed project contribution aims at diversifying livelihood opportunities of target forest dependent communities and at strengthening the local capacities in forest management in a sustainable manner. This is particularly relevant since up to 90% of Georgia’s rural households rely on forests for energy and other purposes, leading to progressive forest degradation. The COVID-19 crisis further aggravates economic hardship of the most vulnerable groups among them.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Climate change and environment
Governance
Vocational training

Forestry policy
Democratic participation and civil society
Vocational training
01.07.2020 - 30.06.2025
CHF  4’800’000
Background

A large part of Georgia consists of mountainous areas, with tough terrain and challenging climatic conditions, where agriculture is less reliable, infrastructure is under-developed and public utilities1 are scarce. Employment opportunities available locally are limited; in agriculture, the mainstay of rural economy, the average annual salary of a farm-worker amounts to only 64% of national average. Urbanrural inequalities are significant, with poverty rates of 11%, 13% and 20% for the capital Tbilisi, other cities and rural areas, respectively.

The Forest Sector Reform comes not only at a financial cost but also requires capacity development of various involved institutions, implementation of social support measures and income-generation schemes for the affected households to compensate for adverse socio-economic implications.Women are expected to be particularly badly hit with the restrictions imposed on non-timber forest products in terms of their income and as primary caretakers of the households’ diet. As a result, families, with women who no longer have income, will become 26% poorer if no other supportive measures are implemented.

Objectives The overall Goal of the SDC’s component is to diversify the livelihood opportunities and strengthen the local self-governance in forest management in Kakheti, Guria and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions of Georgia, which will lead to increased incomes and reduced socio-economic disparities.
Target groups

The project area includes 8 municipalities of Kakheti, Guria and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions.

At the local level, specific groups of actors and beneficiaries  are notably:

  • VET colleges, specialized academic institutions and their students benefiting from capacity-building, improved teaching practices and curricula in forest related disciplines and international research;
  • Business circles (to be identified in Inception Phase) establishing forest-related value chains;
  • Civil society, including media, participating in local decision-making and awareness-raising activities;
  • Municipal employees of 8 target municipalities and from targeted trainings and awareness-raising.
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Men and women in target communities benefit from diversified income opportunities thanks to forest-related value chains, forest-related knowledge and skills.

Outcome 2: The municipal authorities and citizens have and use relevant technical and human capacities to participate in the sustainable management of forests in the target regions.

Results

Expected results:  

Output 1: Mechanisms at local level to better protect the interests of adversely affected stakeholders are developed, promoted and tested. As the new Forest Code foresees strong participation and commitment of local stakeholders to forest-related issues5, the awareness of local communities and businesses on the forest sector reform and its implications on an individual as well as on a community level shall be raised. To do so, the project will effectively utilize local media outlets and set up redress mechanisms for the citizens.

Output 2: Municipal-level tools, practices, plans and necessary capacities for participatory sustainable forest management and conservation are developed and introduced. The project will offer various instruments, practices and competences to be utilized in municipal forest management and conservation. Through their enhanced capacities, municipal employees and community members will be able to effectively apply the new tools and knowledge for the benefit of SFM.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • Other international or foreign NGO North


Other partners
The project is under the overall leadership of the GoG/MoEPA. Main funding partners are the GoG, the GCF, the BMZ, and SIDA. GIZ is the main entity responsible for the overall management and implementation of the project.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’800’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’831’546
Project phases Phase 1 01.07.2020 - 30.06.2025   (Current phase)