Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions through Cross-border cooperation



 “With the help of this joint cross-border project, Akhaltsikhe and Lori regions will get 160 certified skilled masters from  the four target communities, 12 families will be using solar collectors, 12 houses will get insulated and 16 households  will start using solar food dryers.”


Society Development Center of Akhaltsikhe (SDCA), a non-government organisation based in Akhaltsikhe, has received 91,395 Euro from the European Union to implement its 18 months-long project – Sustainable Forest and Energy Solutions through Cross-border Cooperation (SuFESC) – under the Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation Support Programme (EaPTC). 

SDCA has already kicked off the project. “After receiving the contract in Dilijan on September 25, we gave a presentation on it both in Tbilisi and later in Akhaltsikhe for representatives of local authorities, city Municipality, non-government organisations, environmental activists and the media. The government and NGO members expressed interest to cooperate,” said Nugzar Tateshvili, the Head of the project and SDCA. 

The project’s coverage area includes Akhaltsikhe district in Georgia’s Samtskhe Djavakheti region and Stepanavan district in Armenia’s Lore region. SDCA will carry out this project in partnership with the two partners – Ecological Farmers’ Association of Georgia ‘SEMA’ and Eco Club Lore from Armenia. 

The project will bring multiple benefits, according to Tateshvili: living conditions will improve in four rural communities through capacity building in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, increasing comfort and lowering costs for the households; joint monitoring of forests will be launched around these four communities to combat deforestation through raising awareness and proposing energy-saving technologies. 

   

“We will help local communities to improve their lives through introducing them to energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies; we will help them install and acquire skills in installing for others these technologies that would save trees from being used for heating and cooking. People would just have no reason to cut down the trees,” Tatashvili noted.  

As a bigger part of the job lies ahead, the partners met in Tbilisi on 11 November to plan the future activities, agree on management details and distribute workload for each module. “We also agreed how to work in line with the European regulations,” Tateshvili said.  According to him, simultaneously, meetings with the local authorities were held in Stepanavan, Armenia. 

“We arranged field trips to four villages in Georgia and four in Armenia – to meet with local communities and select two villages in each country as our beneficiaries,” Tateshvili explained. As a result, Atskuri and Tskruti (and Uraveli on a waiting list) were selected from Georgia, while from Armenia Sverdlov and Agaraki (and Bivadzor on a waiting list) got selected. “In these villages, 4 task groups will be created in each and they will receive theoretical and practical training as part of the project,” Tateshvili noted. “Our promotional banner has also been produced, which we will be using at the training sessions and awareness days.” 

With the help of this joint cross-border project, Akhaltsikhe and Lori regions will get 160 certified skilled masters from the four target communities, 12 families will be using solar collectors, 12 houses will get insulated and 16 households will start using solar food dryers. “These activities will result in the improvement of locals’ quality of life, saving energy by up to 50% and increasing income,” Tateshvili said.  Also, as these efforts will protect the area from illegal logging, intimately the project will contribute to the climate change mitigation.


March 22, 2016
Maia Edilashvili
Information Multiplier in Georgia
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