South Caucasus environmental planning issues discussed in Tbilisi

REC Caucasus Regional Conference – “LEAPs is SEA proof! Seven Years of Experience in Local Environmental Planning in the South Caucasus” was organized by REC Caucasus on December 4, 2009 in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The event aimed to summarize all LEAPs projects implemented by REC Caucasus since 2003, assess the result achieved and outline the areas of future interventions for strengthening local environmental planning in the South Caucasus.

More than 50 representatives of stakeholders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia participated in the Conference.

Launched in 2003, the South Caucasus Local Environmental Action Program (LEAP) was designed to demonstrate participatory approaches to solving environmental problems at the local level while building the long-term institutional capacity to conduct LEAPs and other community-based programs throughout the region in the years to come. The South Caucasus LEAP created opportunities for citizens, NGOs to engage in priority setting alongside municipal officials and business leaders and take constructive action using creative, low-cost, and cost-effective approaches to solve priority community environmental problems.

The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) helped to strengthen local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and businesses to effectively manage local environmental problems. Through this capacity-building effort, REC Caucasus raised environmental awareness, promoted public participation in environmental decision-making, and stimulated citizen involvement in directly solving local environmental issues. REC Caucasus tapped into local expertise to the greatest degree possible and engaged experts from outside the region to provide technical assistance to local experts and communities.

Financial Support The LEAPs projects were implemented with the financial support from the Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM), the United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Land Use Planning, Agriculture and Forestry of the Principality of Liechtenstein.

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