Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Sigrid Brettel visited six municipalities in Imereti and Guria to see infrastructure projects with a value of 2.5 million GEL. These are part of the first phase of the Government’s GEL 220 million Pilot Integrated Regional Development Grant Programme, of which GEL 186 million comes from EU funding.
The six visited projects are part of the 11 initial projects financed by the PiRDP, which was launched in June 2020. They include:
Rehabilitation of 2 road bridges and 100 m long riverbed wall, arrangement of 173 LED lights to develop a recreational area in Chokhatauri, Chokhatauri municipality, Guria
“The EU cares about Georgia’s regions. The EU has been supporting the Government for many years to develop an effective regional development approach, and the PiRDP programme is the result. Based on lessons learned from the EU’s over 50 year experience with regional development, the PiRDP takes an integrated approach looking at the big picture of local development, moves decision making from Tbilisi to the regional level, and forces municipalities to compete with the best ideas to receive funding. We can now see the impact on the ground, and the initiatives I visits in Imereti and Guria are very promising. I had the pleasure to meet local authorities and was impressed with their energy and ambitions for this programme. I look forward to visiting the other 5 initiatives in this first call, and very much look forward over the next 2 years to see all the other initiatives that will be supported” – says Sigrid Brettel, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Georgia.
“An EU-funded pilot programme for integrated territorial development is underway. We are currently in the first phase of the call for projects, resulting in funding of 11 projects in four regions. Most importantly, the projects are directly selected by the municipalities and are aimed at the social and economic development of the local population as well as business incentives.” – said Mzia Giorgobiani Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia
“Guria has also been selected as a pilot region meeting the latest standards of EU regional development policy. Accordingly, all three municipalities – Ozurgeti, Lanchkhuti and Chokhatauri – plan to get involved in this project next year. We hope that future projects will also help improve the socio-economic situation in our region”- said Giorgi Sakhokia, State Representative in Guria Region.
“The support provided by the EU to Imereti region is significant, as we have already implemented the projects with a total budget of GEL 2,2 million and this year we plan to implement more projects worth about GEL 9 million, which will be a very important benefit for each municipality.”- stated Zviad Shalamberidze, State Representative in Imereti Region.
”The PiRDP is especially important programme for our municipalities enabling us to financially strengthen our institutions and implement new projects, while allowing us to further develop our human capital, and plan the integrated development of our municipalities for the wellbeing of the population.” -says Ioseb Khakhaleishvili, Mayor of Kutaisi.
Pilot Integrated Regional Development Programme (PIRDP) for Georgia 2020-2022 is a Government programme based on EU regional development policy. It aims to create a favorable environment for promoting balanced and sustainable socio-economic development through integrated territorial development initiatives in four pilot regions of Kakheti, Imereti, Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti. PiRDP has a budget of 220 million GEL, of which 186 million GEL will be provided by the EU.
The programme is managed by the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI), in the framework of the Government Commission for Regional Development (GCRD). The first set of grants with a total financial envelope 5 million GEL were awarded to 11 municpalities Vani, Sachkhere, Tkibuli, Samtredia, Baghdati, Tsageri, Sagarejo, Telavi, Akhmeta, Ozurgeti and Chokhatauri in July 2020. More projects will be financed in 2021 and 2022.
PiRDP is based on bottom-up, decentralised approach with the appraisal and selection for funding of the municipal projects carried out by Regional Consultative Councils (RCC) that comprise municipal Mayors and Heads of Councils, as well as CSOs and business community members as observers. The funding will allow the winning municipalities to realize important projects covering various areas, such as support to SMEs, improvement of key infrastructure and municipal services, improvement of human capital, education and research institutions, increase the quality and effectiveness of institutions, etc. These initiatives, in line with ongoing sectoral EU-funded programmes and projects, will boost investment and employment in targeted regions.
The development of regional policy in Georgia is an important area of the EU-Georgia cooperation under the Association Agreement. The Pilot Integrated Regional Development Programme 2020-2022, co-financed through the budget support scheme by the EU, was approved by the Government in December 2019. The programme follows the European model of regional development and is implemented for the first time among the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries in Georgia.
Additionally, see the interview on PiRDP with Ms. Sigrid Brettel, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Georgia,