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UNESCO supports sustainable tourism in Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands, Georgia

Friday, 21 October 2022
access_time 2 min read
Mtirala National Park. Visitor shelter, 1,250 meters above sea level. Colchic broad-leaved mixed forest © Agency of Protected Areas | Paata Vardanashvili

UNESCO and the Development Fund of Protected Areas (DFPA) of Georgia have signed an agreement to support sustainable tourism and heritage conservation activities in Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands (Georgia) World Heritage site.

The partnership between UNESCO and DFPA, worth around US$ 150 000, will support Georgia’s sustainable tourism recovery through enhancing visitor management and raising awareness of the outstanding universal value of the property, which was Georgia’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage site to be inscribed on the List in 2021. 

As part of the partnership, significant capacity building activities will be rolled out focusing on upskilling heritage management staff, visitor service teams and local rangers. A ‘cash for work’ initiative will create short-term job opportunities for unemployed youth, who will be trained to support heritage safeguarding and carry out maintenance and conservation work on the property.

The Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands are located within an 80km long corridor along the warm-temperate and extremely humid eastern coast of the Black Sea. It comprises of four protected areas in Georgia: the Kolkheti and Mtirala National Parks and the Kintrishi and Kobuleti Protected Areas. The site is rich in biodiversity, with around 1 100 species of vascular and non-vascular plants, including 44 threatened vascular plan species, and almost 500 species of vertebrates, and a high number of invertebrate species. The site also harbours 19 threatened animal species including sturgeon, notably the critically endangered Colchic Sturgeon.

Eco-tourism is seen as an important tool to booster revenue generation for the Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands, in order to achieve long-term conservation and financial sustainability. Through training on sustainable tourism management, improving interpretation and developing new ecotourism products - the partnership will help strengthen the overall management of the World Heritage property.

The partnership takes place within the framework of a 2 million euro COVID-19 tourism recovery project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The project is currently being implemented in nine World Heritage properties in six other countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Viet Nam.

Friday, 21 October 2022
access_time 2 min read
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