Georgia and Azerbaijan share rivers and plans for a water rich future
The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan hosted the Regional Inception Workshop of the “UNDP - GEF Kura II Project: Implementing IWRM Across the Kura River Basin” on April 6-7, 2017 in the grand Minister’s Conference Hall in Baku.
Regional Inception Workshop Baku, April 6-7, 2017
The Kura II Project is a 4 year UNDP-GEF funded project with allocated budget of 5.3 million USD. National partners in Azerbaijan and Georgia have contributed over $190 million in co-financing. Mr. Vladimir Mamaev, UNDP/GEF Regional Team Leader and Regional Technical Advisor noted that this project was the second highest co-financing contribution in UNDP-GEF International Waters almost 30 year history.
In the opening of the Inception Workshop, Mr. Firdovsi Aliyev, Deputy Minister of Ecology & Natural Resources of Azerbaijan emphasized the vital importance of transboundary cooperation with neighbor country Georgia and wished success in further implementation of the project. He strongly stated that “the capacity building emphasis of this project in Azerbaijan and Georgia are a priority, and both countries will receive huge benefits from this effort”.
The leader of the Georgian Delegation, Ms. Marina Makarova, Head of Water Resources Department in Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource Protection said “This phase of the project is important for the two countries as it will focus on practical actions to implement IWRM to have sustainable water use for the benefit of the whole basin.”
The Inception Workshop launched the efforts of the project and was enhanced by the active participation of 35 regional stakeholders. Participants from Georgia included: representatives from Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Tbilisi State University, National Environment Agency, United Water Supply Company. Azerbaijan participants were from Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, including the Environmental policy department, National Geological Exploration Service, National Hydrometeorology Department, and National Environmental Monitoring Department, as well as Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Emergency Situations and the State Water Resources Agency, Azerbaijan Parliament - Department of Environment and Energy, AzerSu JSC, Amelioration JSC and Scientific research institute, NGOs and private companies. The multiple water dependent sectors representatives participated enthusiastically and agreed to continue building strong linkages to harmonize water management within and between the two countries.
The Kura II Project Team presented work plans to meet 5 component outcomes, with 22 outputs, with budgets, annual work plans, and activities that will span institutions strengthening, capacity building for water managers across sectors, applied actions to reduce water stresses in critical areas, stakeholder education, awareness and empowerment, and using science for governance.
Project activities have already begun, and strong linkages are being built with the EU Water Initiative Plus (EUWI+) Project, as well as other related efforts in Azerbaijan and Georgia to further strengthen the future for a water resource rich Kura Basin.