For the cooperation in the South Caucasus, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has formulated the Caucasus Initiative, which expresses the political will to contribute to regional dialogue between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. For that reason, GIZ on behalf of the BMZ is only implementing regional programmes covering all three countries. All regional programmes are expected to address the regional dimension in their areas of cooperation.
GIZ has been active in the South Caucasus since the beginning of the 1990s. In 2015, GIZ launched the Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus (IBiS) programme. It is intended to run until 2019 with the aim of supporting Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia protect and rehabilitate its biodiversity.
The region’s biodiversity is of global importance but under threat from the exploitation of natural resources by the local population, private industry and governments. We are supporting the countries in the South Caucasus to manage their biodiversity and ecosystem services more sustainably and in a more coordinated manner, based on solid data. Through this approach, we are helping to safeguard species and habitat diversity for future generations.
Our work is built on the results of two earlier GIZ projects. We have helped to develop policies, strategies and laws that are based on European standards. A number of strategies have already been successfully implemented for the sustainable management of forests, climate-adapted agriculture, and improved pasture management.
IBiS regularly hosts conferences, meetings and trainings for participants in all three countries. Several actors from the region have become master trainers on how to integrate ecosystem services into development planning. They conduct trainings for academic institutions and public agencies in their home countries on how to integrate the ecosystem services approach into development planning. They continually communicate and exchange ideas via a network of continued learning.
A new platform supports long-term virtual exchange and dialogue between actors all over the region. We designed the platform together with RECC, the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus.
- Using national biodiversity monitoring systems, our partners are able to gather, collate and communicate robust data in accordance with recognized scientific principles.
- Principles of sustainable forest management, modern forest planning methods and satellite-based forest monitoring systems have been introduced for the approximately 35,000 km2 of forest in the South Caucasus.
- Thanks to improved cropping methods and agrobiodiversity management, agriculture is now better adapted to climate change. More than 1,000 farms are already applying these approaches.
- Environmental education campaigns and environmental education in schools are improving public awareness, attitudes and behavior with regard to environmental issues. We regularly measure this improvement by conducting opinion surveys across the South Caucasus region.
- Exchange and dialogue are taking place between decision-makers and experts in the three countries on urgent environmental issues of cross-border significance, such as the sustainable management of ecosystem services, effective environmental policymaking, and establishing biosphere reserves in the region.
- Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus RECC