Ecosystems provide a range of benefits and services, such as clean air, natural resources and sources of income. The programme “Management of natural resources and safeguarding of ecosystem services for sustainable rural development in the South Caucasus” (ECOserve) focusses on agricultural lands, forests and pastures and their sustainable use. ECOserve strives to promoting biodiversity in all three South Caucasian countries, with a particular focus on improving the energy situation, especially among the rural populations in Armenia and Georgia. It aims to create a balance between the usage of resources and their conservation by introducing and implementing models for the sustainable use of natural resources, and thereby fostering biodiversity and climate protection. Furthermore, the programme improves energy efficiency and promotes the use of alternative biofuels that further release the pressure on forests and pastures.
ECOserve is a programme jointly implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and its partners in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Since 2008, we have been assisting the three countries in protecting their biodiversity and sustainably manage the natural resources. The region is home to some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems with an exceptionally high number of endemic plant and animal species. With our regional approach, we are promoting a dialogue between the countries and an exchange of technical information in the wider South Caucasus region. ECOserve is built on the achievements of the previous regional programmes “Integrated Biodiversity Management, South Caucasus”, “Sustainable Management of Biodiversity, South Caucasus” and “Integrated Erosion Control in Mountainous Regions”.
The lack of reliable data, regulations, good practices and competences for the sustainable management of natural resources leads to loss of biodiversity and puts high pressure on natural resources. This is also true for sustainable energy supply of the rural population. There is little public awareness of how to sustainably manage biodiversity and ecosystem services. Furthermore, these issues do not feature prominently in decision-making on political level or in the curricula of education and training institutions. The lack of reliable data, conflicting interests and poor coordination between the various sectors who use and manage the land are adding to the problem.