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The project launch was opened by: Vincent Rey, EU Delegation to Georgia Head of Cooperation, Molly Lien, Embassy of Sweden, Head of Development Cooperation, Mr. Heinz Habertheuer, Austrian Development Agency - Director of Department Programmes and Projects International. Mr. Robert Wolfsberger, Deputy Director/CARE Austria and Mr. Kapiton Zhorzholiani, Major of Mestia.
Head of Swedish Development Cooperation, Molly Lien underlined: “We truly believe that joining forces across local, national and international partners, makes development cooperation more effective. This initiative directly resonates and contributes to the sustainable development goals”
Director of Department Programmes of Austrian Development Agency, Heinz Habertheuer stated: “Based on our experience in Austria, we believe that this is the best possible way of support for this region. The “Alps” are the highest and most extensive mountain range system across eight Alpine countries in Europe including Austria. The challenges and opportunities that we are facing in Austria in the Alps are similar in the Caucasus.”
Major of Mestia, Kapiton Zhorzholiani emphasized: „Today is a vivid example that despite the existing challenges, with the support of European Union, Sweden and Austria we continue to grow the economic potential and employment opportunities in the region. Valuable assistance for developing mountainous regions of Georgia will serve to create successful value chain of two tightly correlated and perspective field such are mountain tourism and agriculture in Georgia.
The event was organized by the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Tbilisi, Austrian Development Cooperation, Austrian Development Agency, Mestia local government and CARE Austria and PMC Research Center.
In the event were introduced donors, ENPARD partner organizations, GRETA project, LEADER implementers and other local or international stakeholders with the main goals, milestones and future activities of rural development projects supported by the EU. Speakers introduced prospects and opportunities of local development in Mestia municipality, and mountainous regions of Georgia.
Later in the day delegates visited Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography to explore the local spirit, culture and traditions and then opened the public event in Seti square. Local citizens were invited to learn about the European Union and its activities in Georgia, participate in a chess competition and taste delicious food from local chefs.
Information about the projects
GRETA, a four-year project of Sustainable Mountain Tourism & Organic Agriculture, focuses on the support of Georgian small and medium enterprises to professionalise and scale up. The action will also facilitate an improvement of the business environment and the creation of new income opportunities in the two growth sectors mountain tourism and organic agriculture. The 6.8 Mio. € project is co-funded by the EU and the two EU member states Sweden and Austria. Find out more information about GRETA project here.
Project "Local Action Group Mestia"
In combination, CARE Austria, with its partner PMC-Research Center, will be implementing a four-year rural development project in Mestia. The project is supported by the EU’s ENPARD programme, which has been implementd in Georgia since 2013 to reduce rural poverty. ENPARD III Mestia ("Implementing LEADER in Mestia municipality for better livelihoods in high mountainous regions of Georgia") aims to improve livelihoods of vulnerable households in remote, high mountainous regions of Georgia and support their economic and social well-being by applying the European LEADER approach. The 2.5 Mio. € project is co-funded by the EU and Austria.
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