Hosted and moderated by ISET Policy Institute’s Salome Gelashvili, Acting Head of the Agricultural and Rural Development Policy Research Center, the German Sparkassenstiftung Southern Caucasus and Ukraine (DSIK) have recently developed a presentation looking into their Climate Risk Pattern Analysis in Georgia. The event offered an overview of DSIK’s efforts into improving the resilience of farmers and entrepreneurs to climate change shocks in rural areas. The workshop moreover discussed the German-funded project (Promotion of rural finance for sustainable MSE development in the South Caucasus and Ukraine), which aims to strengthen economic participation and financial services in rural areas. This project contributes to the sustainable improvement of living conditions and the reduction of rural flight, while further heightening resilience to exogenous shocks such as the effects of climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many expert speakers developed on these topics, including the German embassy representative, Lidija Christmann; the Head of the Climate Change Division from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Maia Tskhvaradze; and, the Chairwoman of Georgian Farmers’ Association, Nino Zambakhidze. While other notable representatives also offered their important perspectives on the present situation and plans for future development as detailed below.
Although Georgia has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to improved resilience as part of the Paris Climate Agreement and under its Climate Change Action Plan, there are still many issues to address. Agriculture is critical in Georgia as it constitutes such a vulnerable and vast sector, moreover as the native climate differs widely across the country distinct approaches are required for coping with climate change in different regions. The speakers went on to emphasize both the significant risk, and the opportunities, in the agricultural sector amidst the threat of climate change. They identified that farming is becoming increasingly risky, that global warming is directly affecting farmers, and that broad climate risk patterns have a vast effect on small-scale farming. As such, many farmers currently need to develop risk management, contingency planning, and develop digital tools to benefit their small businesses. If these issues are not combatted it could lead to economic instability, thus the government and foreign donors need to bend the curve and try to reduce CO2 emissions.
As one of the leading research institutions in the Caucasus, ISET-PI heartily supports the ongoing work into such critical rural development issues, as well as the combined efforts of the DSIK and Salome Gelashvili in the Agriculture and Rural Policy Research Center.