Georgia’s national path to achieving a climate-proof and economically and socially prosperous future was discussed last week at a workshop organised by the European Union (EU) and UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture and the Regional Environmental Center for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus).
Aiming to push forward the process of creating a national strategy for low-emission development, the participants focused on the long-term vision of reforms needed to accelerate economic growth while limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and boosting investments in low-carbon technologies. They also discussed concrete steps that will help the country decide on low-emission development pathways, analyse the potential costs and benefits of mitigation measures and design national and sectoral climate policies.
The meeting was organized as part of the EU4Climate programme that is funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP in the six Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
“Now is a time to think big,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “The COVID-19 pandemic shows that ‘business as usual’ is not an option for the planet. This process is designed to help Georgia map out a truly visionary path to a carbon-neutral future that can yield both prosperity and a healthy environment by 2050.”
“The Long-Term Low-Emission Development Strategy 2050 is a vital tool for Georgia to plan climate change mitigation measures and enable the country to meet its international climate commitments,” said Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture Nino Tandilashvili. “The Strategy will support investments in the low-emission economic growth and the sustainable management of natural resources, promoting a sustainable economy and climate resilience.”
“The EU4Climate programme assists Georgia and the other Eastern Partnership countries in fulfilling climate and energy commitments undertaken under the EU Association Agreement and the Energy Community Treaty,” said Alexandre Darras, Team Leader on Connectivity, Energy, Environment & Climate Change at the EU Delegation to Georgia. “We welcome the Government’s commitment to adopt a long-term low-emission development strategy that will make national development climate-compatible.”
Georgia’s carbon dioxide equivalent emissions amount to around 17.6 million tonnes per year (2.37 tonnes per capita), which totals around 0.03 percent of global greenhouse emissions. The energy sector is responsible for the largest share of emissions (62 percent), followed by agriculture (19 percent), production and industry (12 percent) and waste (7 percent).
The national Low-Emission Development Strategy is expected to be finalised by August 2021. After the document is adopted by the Georgian Government, it will be submitted to the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). By the end of 2020, Georgia will also update its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement, setting a new ambitious target for 2030 to unconditionally reduce GHG emissions by 35 percent below the 1990 level.
The EU4Climate programme is designed to assist Georgia and other Eastern Partnership countries in mitigating climate change and adapting to its effects by introducing climate-sensitive policies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The programme is funded by the EU and implemented by UNDP, building on the achievements of past cooperation programmes in the European Neighbourhood. Drawing on a total budget of EUR 8.8 million, the four-year EU4Climate programme will continue until the end of 2022.