Georgians will learn from Lithuania’s experience and how to prevent mistakes in the field of forest management2017-07-04
At the end of the last week, in Tbilisi, Lithuania and Georgia took yet another step to closer cooperation, this time – in the field of forest management. During the 18-month Twinning Project funded by the European Union, the plans are to help the Georgian counterparts to develop a forest management system based on the principles of sustainable forest management.
“The situation of the forest sector in Georgia is not good and truly needs to be changed. The factors which are mainly related to the transition from the Soviet system to the modern one lead to the transfer of almost one tenth of the Georgian forests to various foreign companies under long-term lease contracts a decade or so ago. Such companies use the forests without having regard to the national interests. It is obvious that the decisions made in the past undermine the country’s economy and forest sustainability”, says Martynas Norbutas, Vice-Minister of Environment, who participated in the official opening ceremony of the project.
The situation in other Georgian forests is not better – no systematic inventory has been taken for a couple of decades now; therefore, there is no reliable information about forests and their resources available. Solomon Pavliashvili, Georgian Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, emphasised that it has been many years that forestry specialists have not been prepared in the Georgian higher educational institutions, and state-owned forests in terms of their use have been understood almost exclusively as the source of logs and similar wood for the satisfaction of public needs. Furthermore, there is no state-owned enterprise which would engage in integrated management of forestry activities in Georgia.
“There is definitely room for optimisation of activities; therefore, the assistance of our experts will be undoubtedly helpful to our Georgian counterparts. Taking due account of resistance that we are currently facing when seeking to ensure more effective management of state-owned forests in Lithuania, we will try to warn the Georgians and prevent a repetition of the same mistakes”, says Vice-Minister of Environment Martynas Norbutas.
The project “Strengthening sustainable management of forests in Georgia” is implemented by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania in cooperation with its partners from Hungary. The team consisting of 25 experts from the main forest institutions of both states will implement around 100 missions to Georgia. During the missions, the legal base of the Georgian forest sector will be reviewed, proposals for its improvement will be provided, institutional capacities will be strengthened, and the forest-linked institutional setup and the forestry information and monitoring system will be improved. In addition, the Georgian experts will also be able to get familiarised with our forest sector directly during their study visits to Lithuania and Hungary.
Public Relations Division
4 July 2017