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EU implements European model of integrated approach to improve lives of Racha residents

EU improves lives of Racha residents

On 28 September, 2022 The European Union continues to implement the Integrated Territorial Development Programme for more prosperous regions aiming at improving the living conditions in the EU’s four focal regions in Georgia. The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia (MRDI) is an important partner in the implementation of the programme. Within the joint initiatives of the EU and MRDI, it has led to more investments in the regions, created more jobs and opportunities locally, and improved access to services.

To observe some of the ongoing and completed works and to underline the European Union’s support to regional development, Sigrid Brettel, Head of the Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia together with Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia travelled to Racha. The parties visited the sport arena especially designed for wrestlers. Upon completion, it will be able to accommodate 80 students.  The sport center will create new opportunities for local youth to refine and deepen their sport talents and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

While in Oni, Brettel and Giorgobiani also visited the rehabilitated and constructed water springs and surrounding recreational areas, the construction of which was also supported by the joint efforts. This will provide a new space for locals to gather and boost the tourist potential of Oni.

Papuna Margvelidze, Governor of Racha-Lechkhum-Kvemo Svanet, Sergo Khidesheli, Mayor of Oni Municipality, representatives of Governor’s Administration and Regional Projects and Coordination Department, also representatives of Infrastructure Department of the Oni Municipality attended the visit.

During the day trip, Sigrid Brettel also met with the owner of woodworking workshop, that  received EU funds to purchase machines and other equipment to increase the quality and quantity of the wood products. The workshop offers master classes in traditional crafts and makes souvenirs and other handcrafts which are exported to various countries including the USA. Brettel met with a large group of Danish students who are being trained at the facility in Georgian traditional wood furniture.

About the EU’s and MRDI’s work on regional development

The European Union has dedicated a total of EUR 54 million to regional development in Georgia, of which  EUR 40.5 million was made available for the Government’s Pilot Integrated Territorial Development Programme (PIRDP), which moves decision-making from Tbilisi (centralised) to the regional level (decentralised). Through this programme, funds are made directly available for local municipalities, which decide the pilot initiatives to improve opportunities and living conditions of their communities. The joint work of the EU and the Government of Georgia is complemented by several initiatives (up to EUR 13.5 million), implemented by Team Europe partners and international organisations. Partners work together closely with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure to make sure all efforts go towards the benefit of the local population. Between 2020 – 2022, 136 projects were selected and financed in four focal regions amounting around 160 million GEL. In Racha-Lechkhumi, 15 projects have been financed amounting to 11,448,685 GEL.