During his two-day visit to Kakheti, Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, spent time in Dedoplistskaro municipality. The programme included a joint announcement of the nomination of the Dedoplistskaro Biosphere Reserve with the Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture Otar Shamugia. Ambassador Hartzell also spoke to members of the Local Action Group Dedoplistskaro and visited several project sites of EU support to local businesses and entrepreneurs.
Ambassador Hartzell started the day together with Minister Shamugia in the Dedoplistskaro Biosphere Reserve to announce the submission of nomination papers to UNESCO. Together with REC Caucasus the municipality has worked on establishing the Biosphere Reserve as a model for inclusive and sustainable growth. The nomination of the Biosphere Reserve as well as efforts to develop businesses around the project will help improve living conditions and quality of life of the local community. A clean and diverse environment combined with local production will hopefully help the municipality and its citizens prosper.
Whilst in Dedoplistskaro, the Ambassador met with the Local Action Group (LAG). The LAG brings together representatives of local public and private sectors, as well as local communities who wish to contribute to the socio-economic development of the community. The activities of the LAG are founded on a European rural development model, the so called LEADER approach, and aim to help local economic diversification and overall economic development of Dedoplistskaro. The LAG has so far supported over 100 local development initiatives and created hundreds of jobs. Ambassador Hartzell visited several of these local initiatives:
“Nasrashvili Winery” received a small EU grant through the Local Action Group to refurbish its production facilities, which has helped the family-run business enter the EU market selling wine in six countries. They plan to continue expanding and increase their exports to other countries.
Ambassador Hartzell stopped by the Hotel “Autograph”, which has received funding for the reconstruction works of the historical building. It has 14 rooms available for guests. The upgrade of the hotel has created 6 new jobs locally.
The last stop took place at art studio “Pesvebi” (Roots) supported by the EU through the Local Action Group Dedoplistskaro. Pesvebi is a unique workshop in Georgia that has considerable experience using natural dyes producing unique products distinguished by the density of color and decorative composition.
Across the two-day mission, the Ambassador visited projects related to regional development seeing refurbished touristic sites and meeting businesses, farmers and exporters who have benefitted from EU support to further develop their businesses.
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