Protecting Georgia from Floods

Feb 21, 2017

From left to right: Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia, and Ekaterine Grigalava, Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia. Photo: David Khizanishvili/UNDP

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) summarized a five-year long initiative that aimed to introduce modern approaches in flood management and bring on climate resilient economic practices and adaptation measures.

The closing event of the programme on 21 February 2017 brought together representatives of the Georgian Government, Parliament, businesses, civil society and local municipalities.

Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia; Ekaterine Grigalava, Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, and Tamar Bagratia, Head of the National Environment Agency, presented the achievements of a five-year long work and informed of the future steps to making Georgia a flood resilient country.        

With over USD 5 million from the Adaptation Fund and UNDP, the programme focused on the Rioni river basin, covering six municipalities in the flood risk areas and assisting 200 thousand local residents.

Tangible results of this work since 2012 included the riverbank reinforcement in the 10 flood risk sites, planting of agroforests on 12 hectares to protect river shores from land degradation and erosion, establishment of an early warning system and modernization of the weather forecasting and water level monitoring service.

The programme assisted the Government of Georgia to introduce new policies, legislation and tools for promoting climate resilient economic practices and managing floods and flash floods. This included the comprehensive analysis of the flood-related socio-economic risks for 18 municipalities, flood zoning policy to describe land areas in terms of their risk of flooding, and Weather Index Insurance Scheme which will come into force in near future.

In addition, UNDP and the Adaptation Fund commissioned a series of research to collect the complete and credible information about the hydro-meteorological threats in the Rioni river basin and create the flood maps.

Successful practices and models tested in the Rioni river basin can be expanded to the other regions of Georgia to reduce the risk of floods and protect the lives and livelihoods of most vulnerable.

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