Georgia Reinforces Commitment to Sustainable Development Goals

Thousands of Georgians gathered in the town of Ambrolauri this weekend to take part in the country’s second national Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Festival, initiated and organized by the United Nations in Georgia. The slogan of this year’s edition of the Festival echoed the core theme of sustainable development: to “Leave No One Behind.”

The SDGs comprise 17 global goals that were adopted by all the member states of the United Nations in September 2015, aiming to end poverty, eliminate inequality and save the planet by 2030. The festival addressed the five pillars of the SDG’s – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.

The President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, addressed the participants and guests of the Festival at the grand opening in the evening. The President confessed her love for the region of Racha and announced her life-long dream of wanting to buy an Oda (Rachvelian house) somewhere in the region, she went on to say that “Racha has everything global tourists are looking for: wine, cheese, wheat, mountains, snow, beauty, your regional folklore – all things getting rarer by day in the rest of the world. That is why we have to protect it, so the region doesn’t lose its identity.”

The newly appointed United Nations Resident Coordinator in Georgia, Sabine Machl, stressed the continuous efforts of the United Nations to support Georgia in achieving its national SDGs.

“The UN agencies active in Georgia are covering a wide range of areas related to the five pillars of sustainable development – People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership,” she said. “Our work rests on strong cooperation with our partners, the Government of Georgia, local self-governments, civil society, the private sector, academia and all development partners in the international community.”

The SDG Festival transformed the public space in Ambrolauri into a colorful display of activities illustrating the country’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The busy agenda included sport activities, interactive seminars and workshops, talks and exhibitions featuring SDG activists and supporters from different walks of life: writers, artists, researchers, students, teachers, school children, farmers, diplomats and politicians.

“It’s no accident that the SDG Festival is taking place this year in Racha,” said Louisa Vinton, Head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Georgia. “Like so many other locations in Georgia, it has vast development potential but needs to overcome the challenges of rural poverty, depopulation and climate change to realize the promise of peace and prosperity. We are confident that the festival will build public understanding and enthusiasm for our shared responsibility ‘to leave no one behind.’”

The Festival concluded with a fair of local agriculture products as part of a project supported by the Government of Switzerland [more details in the next issue of GT], and an open-air concert featuring well-known Georgian artists. It was organized with the support of a wide range of partners, including UN agencies and donors, the Government of Switzerland, the Government of Georgia, the administration of the Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti region, Ambrolauri Municipality, and many others.

By Sophie Tchitchinadze & Nini Dakhundaridze

10 June 2019 17:30