Celebrating the achievements of ENPARD III
On the 15th November the conference ‘LEADER: A European Approach to Better Rural Lives’ was organised by rural development partners of the EU-funded ENPARD III programme. The ENPARD programme is entering its 10th year and aims to introduce European rural development models in Georgia and ensure a sustainable future for Georgian farmers and rural communities.
“Rural development is an important cooperation area between the European Union and Georgia. Sustainable, inclusive and green rural economies push people out of poverty, create employment and set out a pathway to sustainable growth benefitting people and the environment. Georgia has achieved steady progress in the last ten years in modernising its rural development through policies and practical initiatives. The European Union salutes these achievements and remains committed to supporting new opportunities for rural communities,” said H.E. Paweł Herczyński, Ambassador of the European Union in Georgia, during his opening remarks to the conference participants.
During the conference, the following successes of the third phase of ENPARD were highlighted: over 2,600 jobs were created or sustained in the focal areas of the programme with two-thirds (1,700) held by women; almost 7,000 men and women in rural areas developed new skills for employment through vocational education.
As part of the ENPARD III programme, Action Against Hunger, in partnership with Kakheti Regional Development Foundation (KRDF), is supporting the work of Akhmeta Local Action Group (LAG) under the project “Promoting inclusive and participatory local development in Akhmeta Municipality”. The conference brought together other Local Action Groups, as well as civil society and private sector actors and representatives of rural municipalities. As a key panel participant at the event, Ana Imedashvili from Akhmeta LAG, provided the following comments on the conference: “At the closing conference of ENPARD III, project results were presented, and the institutionalization of Local Action Groups was reviewed. Discussions on the LAGs future operation and strengthening took place. The meeting also revealed that positive changes are planned by the state…the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia will coordinate and cooperate with LAGs, financing rural development”
Ana Imedashvili participating in a panel discussion "Institutionalization of LEADER approach in Georgia".
“The Government of Georgia has been taking significant steps over the years to promote the development of rural areas. This critical work is in line with Georgia’s national priorities on the path to European integration. Georgia’s new National Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development for 2021-2027 provides a clear roadmap towards a competitive rural economy, improved livelihoods, better environmental protection and the sustainable management of natural resources,” said Otar Shamugia, Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia.
Representatives of Austrian Development Cooperation and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Georgia contributed to the discussion with their insights on Georgia’s rural development prospects. Government representatives and the ENPARD programme partners discussed Georgia’s efforts to adopt the best economic, social and environmental practices in rural development and institutionalise European approaches, such as LEADER. In parallel with the discussions, the conference hosted an exhibition of agricultural produce from across Georgia.
Products from Akhmeta LAG members.
The conference was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Action Against Hunger, CARE Caucasus, CENN, and People in Need.
Members of the Akhmeta LAG.