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Addressing the Issue of Environmental Migration in Georgia: Prevention of Natural Disasters and its Challenges

On December 20, 2016, Europe Foundation will be hosting the third public forum addressing the Issue of Environmental Migration in Georgia: Prevention of Natural Disasters and its Challenges. The event will take place in Holiday Inn Hotel within the framework of the EU-funded project Advocating for the Rights of Eco-Migrants funded by the European Union through Institute of Democracy.

The public forum aims at continuing discussions on environmental migration in Georgia, with focus on the prevention of natural disasters, which are the main cause of eco-migration in the country.  Georgia’s approach to preventing the causes of environmental migration is fragmented, with most disaster risk reduction efforts being led by international actors that, in turn, lament on lack of coordination and ownership from the GoG. The following challenges seem to be present as Georgia attempts to prevent the causes of environmental migration:

  • Lack of comprehensive national disaster prevention and management strategy
  • Legal and attitudinal obstacles precluding local authorities from taking environmentally-friendly decisions that could reduce disaster risk
  • Lack of knowledge on disaster risk reduction measures among the population

The review of recent environmental prevention practices shows that the authorities are oriented more on immediate disaster response actions, rather than assessing the disasters risks and implementing preventive actions. At the same time, however, the regional meetings organized by project partners in 76 municipalities have demonstrated that there is a will to be more proactive in taking prevention steps locally, but for real changes to take place substantive regulatory changes are needed to improve the existing institutional framework and financial instruments available to local authorities.

During the event, which will start with welcoming remarks from Ms. Keteven Vashakidze, President of Europe Foundation, the guests will learn what has been done with respect to the long-term prevention strategy of natural disasters and what the needs are on the ground.  They will also hear about the results accomplished and future plans of the Government of Georgia from Mr. Gigla Agulashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Mr. Sozar Subari, Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees, and Mr. Giorgi Ghibradze, Director of the National Crisis Management Center of the State Security and Crisis Management Council of Georgia. Presentations to shed light to the needs of environmental migrants and how various public entities have addressed them will be made by Mr. Archil Khakhutaishvili, Executive Director of Institute of Democracy, Ms. Rusudan Kakhishvili, Senior Adviser to the National Crisis Management Center of the State Security and Crisis Management Council, Mr. Besarion Datishvili, Head of Natural and Anthropogenic Threats Management Department of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Mr. Merab Gaprindashvili, Head of Geological Department of the National Environmental Agency, and Mr. Ramaz Jincharadze, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

The event will take place on December 20 during 12:30-16:15, at Holiday Inn Hotel, Adjara Conference Hall, (Address: 1, 26 May Square, Tbilisi).

Contact Person:  Natia Berdzenishvili, Program Manager, E-mail: nberdzenishvili@epfound.ge, tel: 225-39-42/43

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