On May 15, 2012, the GLOWS (Global Water for Sustainability) program brought together stakeholders in Tbilisia, Republic of Georgia, for a wide-ranging meeting to discuss sustainable water-management practices, impacts on the environment, mitigation and monitoring measures.
Representatives of the Georgia Ministries of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources, Economy and Sustainable Development, the Diplomatic Missions as well as members of the NGO sectors met at the Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRMW) meeting organized by GLOWS Director Maria Donoso.
Although clean water is essential to every community’s social-economic development, it is a resource that is diminishing, assessment and management of this precious resource is part of our mission in Georgia.”
Pollution, overgrazing, illegal logging, inappropriate irrigation and agricultural practices, coupled with an absence of clear environmental laws, and regulations and policy governing pollution and conservation, has caused Georgia’s natural resources to suffer. As a result, large areas of arable lands have been lost through erosion and salinization of soils, making the country at risk for natural disasters enhanced by climate change impacts.
The hope is that the INRMW program will bring the reforms and actions that increase potable water supply, and supply needs for energy and agriculture, while also protecting delicate ecosystems.
On the ground, the INRMW Program has identified the Rioni and Alazani-Iori River Basins as the site of proposed state-of-the-art approaches to watershed and natural resources management.
The challenges facing these river basins are representative of those facing the country. The hope is to develop pilot watersheds there that can be successfully implemented in other regions.”
Also participating the May 15 meeting– called a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) consultation – was Ms. Mariam Ubilava, the USAID’s Mission’s Environmental Officer, who briefed the participants on the USAID Environmental Compliance.
GLOWS (Global Water for Sustainability), a consortium led by Florida International University (FIU), was created in 2005 to implement USAID-funded programs to increase social, economic, and environmental benefits to people through the provision of water supply and sanitation services, healthy aquatic ecosystems and sustainable water resources management.