Association Agreement with EU in 2014 initiated “ambitious” reforms in Georgia’s environmental policy - Environment Ministry candidate

07.02.24 11:00

Otar Shamugia, the candidate for the post of the Environment and Agriculture Minister of Georgia, on Tuesday told Parliamentary committees that signing the Association Agreement with the European Union in 2014 had initiated “ambitious” reforms in “all areas of Georgia’s environmental policy.


Shamugia noted that out of the 27 environmental directives stipulated by the Association Agreement, legislative approximation had already been implemented with 20 legal acts and the work on seven was underway.


He highlighted the creation of 100 different categories of protected areas in Georgia on about 13.1 percent of Georgia’s territories, in order to promote the protection of biodiversity, adding “we actively continue to work in this direction”.


The draft law on establishing the Guria National Park has been submitted to the Parliament, Shamugia said, emphasising the studies to be conducted in 2024 on creating a protected area in Georgia’s western region of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and expanding the existing national park in Racha.


Shamugia noted in efforts to continue developing the ecotourism infrastructure in Georgia, the construction of up to 1,200 km of hiking hills and recreational infrastructure would be completed in 15 protected areas in 2024, for which more than ₾30 million (about $11.2mln) was allocated by the Government.


Also, this year, new ecotourism infrastructure will be created in at least ten new locations, for which ₾10 million (about $3.7mln) will be allocated”, the official added, stressing the efforts of the Government in this regard resulted in hosting more than one million visitors in the protected areas in 2023, that is a 19 percent increase compared to 2022.


He also highlighted the adoption of “several fundamental laws” in recent years, including the Forest Code, laws on environmental liability, aquaculture, water resources management and industrial emissions. Shamugia added that the Government had also approved the draft law on biological diversity at the end of 2023.




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