EU4Climate Kicks Off in Georgia

The European Union has several long-term, large-scale projects in the Eastern Partnership area, covering the six EaP countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Their many programs include EU4Youth, EU4Business, and EU4Energy. Now, the EU has rolled out their newest major program, EU4Climate. The initiative is designed to support the target countries to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to improve climate policies and legislation, and to reduce the impact of climate change on people’s lives.

The EUR 8 million program is being implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in all six EaP countries, in accordance with bilateral agreements between the EU and each country’s national government. The UNDP is also providing EUR 800,000 in co-financing.

“The Government of Georgia welcomes and appreciates international cooperation and support in mitigating climate change,” said Nino Tandilashvili, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. She continued, “We are advancing our work in every sector to fulfil Georgia’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below the 1990 levels, by 2030.”

Sector Coordinator on Connectivity, Energy, Environment & Climate Change at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Alexandre Darras, noted that “Tackling climate change is our common responsibility…Through this new project, we will help Georgia lower its greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil its commitments under the Paris Agreement. It will help mitigate climate change and limit its negative impacts on the environment and the lives of people.”

The UNDP is heading another major environmental initiative in the country: a $70 million Climate Change Adaptation Program to reduce the risk of natural disasters. The seven-year program is primarily funded by the Green Climate Fund ($27 million), the Government of Switzerland ($5 million) and the Government of Georgia ($38 million). At the program’s launch event in February, Louisa Vinton, UNDP Head in Georgia, noted that climate change will be a leading factor in increasing the frequency and intensity of disasters in Georgia in the coming decades. She emphasized that “Prevention is the key concept,” in the organization’s approach to climate-related disasters. Speaking about the EU4Climate initiative this week, Vinton explained how taking climate action on a national scale can aid a country’s overall development, while moving towards a low-carbon economy. “From protecting forests to phasing out fossil-fuel vehicles, climate action requires smart and swift solutions that will limit warming and save the planet,” Vinton said; “Fortunately, UNDP’s experience has shown that taking a greener path can offer win-win solutions that enhance economic growth and create new jobs.”

The EU4Climate program will offer technical assistance to the Government of Georgia to finalize and update Nationally Determined Contributions within the Paris Agreement and national strategies on the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and establish a system of measurement, reporting and verification to ensure that Georgia maintains its progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement goals. The EU hopes the project will help mobilize more funds for climate action and make climate adaptation planning more effective.

EU4Climate is the successor to the EU ClimaEast Program, which supported climate change mitigation and adaptation from 2013-2017 across the EaP. In Georgia, the program assisted the rehabilitation of degraded pastures in the Vashlovani Protected Areas in the eastern region of Kakheti.

By Samantha Guthrie

Image source: European Union

25 April 2019 22:21