Promoting land-use management and more sustainable energy production in the South Caucasus
Title: Management of natural resources and safeguarding of ecosystem services for sustainable rural development in the South Caucasus (ECOserve)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agencies: Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia
Overall term: 2018 to 2024
The three countries in the South Caucasus face severe and continued degradation to their specific dominant land-use systems: pastureland in Armenia, agricultural land in Azerbaijan, forested areas in Georgia. Among the key factors that have resulted in land degradation are the overuse and underuse of pastures, excessive fuelwood use, lack of alternatives and low levels of environmental awareness. The rural population suffers from energy poverty and people depend on natural resources to meet their basic heating needs. With the high pressure on forests and natural resources, energy security for the rural population in Armenia and Georgia is not assured. There is lack of robust data, rules, sustainable practices, and expertise at all levels among the population and related institutions. Holistic approaches to sustainable and biodiversity-friendly use of natural resources are insufficient.
The preconditions for the sustainable and biodiversity-friendly use of natural resources in the prevailing land-use systems in the South Caucasus are improved, with a special focus on energy security for the rural population.
The project pursues a context-specific approach with regard to the relevant land-use systems, considering land-cover percentage, need for protection, safeguarding the rural population’s livelihood source, and the government’s priorities. This reflects the political dynamics in the countries. The availability of land-use data will be improved by adding additional data layers to existing or new information systems, and by conducting socio-economic studies on specific topics. This will allow technical experts and decision-makers to develop targeted policies, strategies, and management practices in a better way. The legal framework and administrative procedures will also be adapted to promote more sustainable management of natural resources.
In pilot areas, practices or innovations will be developed for improved land-use and more efficient use of natural resources for heating purposes, for example wood resources, manure, and possible agricultural residues, which are replicable and marketable. Education for the management level, for technical experts and for resource users will be improved, so they can contribute to more sustainable management of natural resources. Awareness and education campaigns will be developed for the public with a particular focus on the youth.
Last update: June 2022