On July 26, 2019, the launch event of the Adventure-Rope Park and Algeti National Park Visitor’s Center was held along with the official hand-over of equipment to successful grant applicants. First, Algeti National Park Visitor’s Center was opened and guests had the opportunity to tour the facilities and explore the area. Afterwards, Association Rural Development for Future Georgia (RDFG) together with the European Union, GIZ, KFW, and GFA launched one of the region’s wide-scale rural development projects – Adventure-Rope Park in the Algeti National Park.
Within the framework of the EU ENPARD Programme RDFG and the Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG) successfully completed two phases of the Rural Development Grant Program. Through the given initiative 65 rural development projects have been selected for funding which has raised a co-investment of around 5 million Georgian Lari (35% of which comes from beneficiary contributions). The rural development projects selected to receive support will create job opportunities for over 300 residents of the Tetritskaro Municipality, 40% of whom will be women.
At the launch of the rural development projects, welcome remarks were given by Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Georgia, Vano Grigolashvili, RDFG Chairman, H.E. Hubert Knirsch, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia, Valerian Mchedlidze, chairman of the Agency of Protected Areas, and Klaus Viegel, KFW South Caucasus regional office director.
“Algeti National Park is a unique protected area with distinguished biodiversity. The Visitor’s Center in the Park has been equipped according to modern standards. The existence of the center will help to fully exploit the tourism potential in the region. Visitors of the Center will have an opportunity to get whole information and recommendations not only about the protected areas but about other sightseeing of the region, as well. The implementation of the important financial investment along with the modern standard eco-tourism infrastructure has already been planned on Dashbashi Canyon. On the one hand, the development of tourism in the region will help to improve the socio-economic situation of the local residents and on the other hand, it will be very useful for local and foreign tourists to get acquainted with the unique Georgian nature and sightseeing”, – said Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
“Through programmes like the ENPARD in Tetriskaro, the EU is helping promote economic development in the rural areas of Georgia. This model of development is based on decades of EU experience and has proven effective at mobilizing local communities, promoting priority development projects and supporting grassroots initiatives. We are happy to see the results for Tetritskaro here today as well: The 65 new initiative should help establish 300 sustainable jobs for the local community”, – stated Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Georgia.
„Today we are present at the launch of the important rural development projects that have been available as a result of the LEADER approach implementation in Georgia, where local private-public actors united efforts to move forward tangible local development agenda”, – said Vano Grigolashvili, RDFG chairman.
After opening and exploring the Algeti National Park Visitor’s Center and the Adventure-Rope Park, RDFG invited attendees to participate in a competition to overcome the Rope Park’s obstacles – a tangle of bridges and ropes above the ground – after which the winners were awarded certificates and symbolic gifts. In parallel, an exhibition of photographs of the Adventure-Rope Park was held.
The second part of the rural development event was held in the city of Tetritskaro where the guests had an opportunity to attend the official equipment hand-over and exhibition of the rural development projects implemented by RDFG through the EU. Within the event, Chairman Grigolashvili highlighted the importance of the EU LEADER approach in Georgia and emphasized the role of LAGs’ activities in the rural development process. Furthermore, Nino Tikurishvili, Executive Director of the Tetritskaro Local Action Group spoke about the LAG’s initiatives and key achievements. Tetritskaro’s LAG is a multisectoral cooperation platform that brings together the civil, private and public sectors to stimulate the local development of the Tetritskaro municipality through a balanced, participative and inclusive local development strategy.
The EU-funded project “Rural Development for Sustainable Growth in the Tetritskaro Municipality” is implemented by EU partner organisation, RDFG. The project aims to improve the quality of life in the Tetritskaro municipality through the introduction of innovative social-economic models and engagement of local private and public sectors in the decision making. RDFG is partnering with the Agro-Technology Association and the Lithuanian Local Action Groups Network to carry out the action.
The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities. More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge