Public Debates on "Sustainable Development"

Public Debates on "Sustainable Development"

On June 16, 2016, the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation hosted public debate "June13: Lessons Learned".

That topics about the environmental are not very popular in Georgian society became clear during the discussion on the topic “Green activism for the environment”, held by the Boell Foundation.

The first debates held in Kutaisi by the HBF were met with high public interest. Two main themes were discussed at the meeting: the city development in terms of urban planning & economic development.

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Lado Vardosanidze – architect, expert on urban studies, Professor at the Technical University of Georgia;
Hrachya Poghosyan – architect, Deputy Chair of the Urban Planning Council of Yerevan Municipality;
Levon Abrahamyan – anthropologist, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

Lia Todua and Sasha Khorava

How do Georgian specialists view “green competitors” in politics within the framework of sustainable development, caring equally for both global and local issues?

Borjom-Kharagauli National Park

Forest should have its owner, existing legislation should be changed as Georgia’s forestry sector is in great need of reform - participants and speakers of the debate held at the HBF on 9 November 2010 on the issue of new directions of Georgia’s forestry reform, agreed upon these postulates. Though, the speakers invited by the HBF had diverging opinions regarding mechanisms for implementing reforms.

Urban Studies is one of the priority for the Heinrich Boell Foundation, - with these words Gogi Gvakharia, the moderator of the public debate opened the discussion: “Participatory Urban Development – The Way towards Social Compact” organized by the HBF South Caucasus Regional Office on 12 October 2011.

On May 10, 2011, the fifth public debate supported by the South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation was held at Telavi State University. The meeting was devoted to the agricultural problems and challenges in the Kakheti region.

On 20 December 2010, the Heinrich Boell Foundation South Caucasus Regional Office organized a roundtable in Baku dedicated to the impact of the urban infrastructure on the lives of residents of Baku.

The port of Poti

Heavy industrial projects that have been planned or are being carried out in the region and in Poti may cause significant ecological problems. Today, when society is focused on how to solve economic difficulties, it is not easy to advocate environmental issues.

On 17 November 2010, the Heinrich Boell Foundation hosted a public debate, “Urban Development of Tbilisi: Realities and Perspectives”. Lado Vardosanidze, Papuna Dzidziguri, Joseph Salukvadze gave presentations.

Experts and NGOs working on ecological problems in Georgia think that today the protection of the environment in our country is not a priority. According to NGO representatives working on ecological issues, this negative tendency is also connected to the gradually diminishing functions of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, which is becoming a weak governmental institution.

Waste Separation in Kutaisi

The waste management system available in Georgia does not meet international standards, waste collection and disposal systems are not well-developed in the country; waste is not recycled and used as a secondary resource. None of 63 landfills available throughout the country today meet sanitary and ecological requirements.

Ecology is a more and more pressing topic which is related to many problems everywhere throughout Georgia. But especially in Poti, which on the one hand is one of the most important ports in the whole Black Sea Region and on the other hand is immediately situated nearby the Kolkheti National Park, the question of how to combine economic development and ecological sustainability is especially important.

Luscious green fields, rolling hills, deep valleys, countless vineyards, national parks and blue rivers against a backdrop of the Caucasian mountains – the Kakheti region of Georgia, known for its monasteries, landmarks, artists, and excellent vines and meat dishes among others, has always been a tourist attraction during Soviet and post-Soviet times alike.

It is quite difficult to find a city in Georgia, or anywhere else in the South Caucasus for that matter, that is changing its image as fast as the city of Batumi. The rehabilitation project of Old Batumi and new hotels being built in the city are just a few examples of large-scale projects currently underway in Batumi.

Tourist season is over. Data from the Tourism Department of the Adjarian Autonomous Republic show that 400,000 tourists visited Adjara during the 2009 season, the highest number in recent years. The regional government has declared developing tourism one of its prime priorities.