UN Development Program Promotes Pastures in Protected Area

DEDOPLISTSKARO, Georgia – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), European Union and local government officials initiated a new project to rehabilitate degraded and unused pasture land as well as improve the living standards of shepherds and farmers in eastern Georgia’s remote Vashlovani region.

Vashlovani is one of the unique protected areas in the country and home to a traditional area for sheep breeding that provides income to more than 500 indigenous Tush shepherds and their families.

Since 2013 two pilot farms have been set up to maximize the best practices for sustainable pasture management. A water supply system is in place that provides water to 15 farms, which significantly increases the efficiency of local farming and grazing.

Two automated meteorological stations have also been constructed and connected to the national weather system to better monitor conditions for herding and grazing.

A unified veterinary service for Tush shepherds is being established to meet the needs of the estimated 30,000 sheep in the region.

"The initiative in the Vashlovani Protected Areas is an example of how the protection of the environment can contribute to sustainable development, economic growth and the well-being of the local people. It was great to see these outstanding results first-hand,” Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP Georgia, said.

The project also includes rehabilitating 4,000 hectares of unused pastures and 300 hectares of sheep trails by December 2016.

The four-year initiative is part of the European Union’s Clima East program to aimed at helping Eastern Partnership governments adapt to the effects of climate change by introducing innovative practices for pasture management.

By Tamar Svanidze
Edited by Nicholas Waller

Photo: UNDP Georgia

06 May 2016 17:03