Biodiversity of Georgia

Over the last 50 years, nature has changed unprecedentedly around the world, due to the acquisition of natural areas, the extraction of living organisms, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species. The increase in the consumption of biological resources is accompanied by a decrease in the sustainability of natural environmental regulation. The number of endangered species of plants and animals is rapidly increasing. According to the latest estimates 46, the tendency to lose biodiversity and ecosystem services will continue to deteriorate even if current practices in energy, food, water supply, and resource use are not changed. Nature can be preserved and preserved while achieving social goals and improving the quality of life, but this requires immediate and effective efforts at local, national and global levels.

2. Why is Georgia’s Biodiversity Conservation Important?

Due to the diversity of species and habitats, the high level of endemism and the spread of ecosystems of global importance, the territory of Georgia is included in the priority list of nature conservation 47. However, due to significant threats to biodiversity, our country is also part of the world’s biodiversity hotspots 48;

Georgia’s biodiversity is at significant risk of degradation and degradation of natural habitats, excessive use of natural resources, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, and climate change;

Georgia has been in the process of establishing an emerald net since 2009, with the aim of protecting the species by preserving their habitats. In 2017-2018, Emerald Territory was granted 39 territories with a total area of ​​841 875.5 ha. Along with the candidate and proposed areas, the total area of ​​the emerald is 1 285 974.74 ha, which is 18.45% of the total territory of Georgia.

3. State regulation

On May 8, 2014, the Government of Georgia adopted the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan of Georgia (2014-2020), which sets out consistent policies and national priorities to achieve the national vision set by 2030 – “Georgia will be a country where citizens live in harmony with nature, universally Recognized Values ​​of biodiversity; Conservation and prudent use of biological resources ensure the continuity of ecosystem processes, a healthy environment and vital benefits for the whole community. ”

Georgia’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan focus on the need for biodiversity conservation for the country’s economic development and population well-being, taking into account current threats, measures for the conservation and improvement of rare species, native species and endemic species. To preserve the genetic diversity of species, to further develop a network of protected areas and to introduce sustainable use of natural resources.

The development and implementation of a biodiversity strategy and action plan by the country, in particular, is a commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Georgia has been a party since 1994. The document sets 21 national goals for preserving the country’s biodiversity, improving its status and reducing existing threats.

The Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for 2014-2020 forms the basis for the fulfillment of the obligations under the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union and promotes harmonization of the country’s policy with the European nature protection strategies.

The Association Agreement signed in June 2014 includes significant commitments for the conservation of species and habitats and the sustainable use of biological resources. In particular, Georgia should ensure:

  • Harmonization of national legislation with EU Directives in the field of nature protection (EU Directive 92/43 / EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Flora and Fauna, EU Directive 2009/147 / EC on the Conservation of Birds);
  • Complete identifying, assessing, and ensuring that appropriate areas are included in the Emerald Network;
  • Identify conservation objectives for species and habitats in the Emerald Territories and take appropriate action;
  • Assess the species of birds that need special protection measures, including migratory birds; Identify and protect areas important to birds; Establish a system for the protection of birds and prohibit some means and methods of hunting;
  • Develop a conservation status monitoring system for species and habitats;
    Ensure strict protection of certain species;
  • Develop a mechanism for public education and information.

According to EU directives, the draft law sets out the legal requirements for the protection and preservation of plant and animal species, the rules for the establishment of a list of protected species and habitats, and the prohibitions on protected species. The draft law establishes a legal basis for the establishment, management and monitoring of Emerald Territory Areas in Georgia, defines Emerald Territory Ownership Forms, as well as establishes decision-making procedures for activities that may affect Emerald Territory. The Draft Law also provides for conditions and procedures for the use of genetic resources in the territory of Georgia 50 to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the benefits received.

  • Draft Law of Georgia on “Biological Diversity” and
  • Draft Law of Georgia “Forest Code of Georgia”.

The draft Law on Biological Diversity is currently being revised according to the comments received from stakeholders, and the Georgian Forest Code has been submitted to the Parliament for approval.
The specific aims of the Draft Law of Georgia on Biological Diversity are to provide

  •  Long-term conservation of wild plants and wildlife species;
  • Habitat conservation and preservation through the development of an emerald network and the creation of protected areas included in international networks;
  • Regulation of international trade in wild flora and fauna species so as not to endanger these species;
  • Access to genetic resources and related traditional knowledge and equitable distribution of benefits.

According to EU directives, the draft law sets out the legal requirements for the protection and preservation of plant and animal species, the rule for compiling a list of protected species and habitats, and prohibitions on protected species. The draft law establishes a legal basis for the establishment, management and monitoring of Emerald Territory Areas in Georgia, defines Emerald Territory Ownership Forms, as well as establishes decision-making procedures for activities that may affect Emerald Territory. The Draft Law also provides for conditions and procedures for the use of genetic resources in the territory of Georgia 50 to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of the benefits received.

Appropriate changes have been made in 2018 to extract, regulate, control, regenerate, export, import and re-export species at Annexes to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 51 In the Law of Georgia “Do not Redwood “and” Red Book “of 52 (2003).. CITES is a legally binding, but not self-executing, multilateral agreement. Accordingly, States Parties to the Convention are obliged to adopt the national legislation necessary for the effective implementation of the Convention. The adoption of legislation relevant to CITES requirements is also between the EU and Georgia. Requirement for Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA).

Law of Georgia on Living Genetically Modified Organisms “,
Adopted in 2014, banned from living in Georgia
Introducing GMOs into the environment, in 2016 as well
Placing live GMOs on the market is prohibited
Import and re-export. Accordingly, the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia declared the above law. Live
Free from GMOs. in Georgia
It is only allowed in a locked system of genetically modified organisms
Use (for example, scientific research) under a relevant license issued by the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture of Georgia.

In the field of biodiversity, Georgia is actively cooperating with the countries of the Caucasus Ecoregion. In 2018, the Caucasus Ecoregion Conservation Plan has been updated to reflect national biodiversity strategies. The plan helps coordinate actions in the field of nature conservation in the ecoregion and helps governments mobilize financial resources to meet obligations under multilateral environmental agreements.