World Wetlands Day 2003:
The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Centre (ICZM) in Georgia is the implementation unit for the World Bank/GEF financed "Georgia Integrated Coastal Management Project" which includes the establishment of the internationally protected Kolkheti Wetlands Protected Areas. As part of their WWD activities, the Centre translated the new Ramsar video into Georgian and, with the assistance of the Minster of Environment, the video was broadcast nationally, free of charge, as part of a 35-minute programme dedicated to WWD 2003, on Saturday, 1 of February, at 13:45 PM, by Channel 1of Georgian TV. In addition to the Ramsar video, the programme included a documentary specially prepared for WWD, giving information about the importance of wetlands in general as well as a particluar focus on the values and functions of the Kolkheti Wetlands. It also included interviews with the Minister of Environment, the Director of the ICZM Centre, wetland experts from GPAP (a Georgian NGO, developing management plans for the Kolkheti Wetlands), and the World Bank expert Christian Goener.
Preparations for World Wetlands Day also included distribution of information packages for different stakeholders. This package included an information leaflet about the Kolkheti National Park with a small introduction describing how Georgia joined the large Ramsar family in 1996; a folder with information sheets about Wetlands Values and Functions (information from Ramsar's 2002 WWD package, translated into Georgian) and the 2003 Ramsar message as well as nice posters, stickers and pens.
The stakeholders receiving this package (aproximately 300 people) included national and local decisions-makers (such as Chairmen of the Parliament, State Minister, relevant Ministers, local (districts) Administrations), also local and national NGOs, private sector, mass media, and the general public living adjacent to the National Park. Distribution of the package was conducted by members of a working group (local representatives) who assist the ICZM centre and they used this opportunity to discuss further the importance of the Kolkheti wetlands with the various stakeholders.
Joint activities were carried out with the "Georgian Greens Movement" national NGO. They held a series of seminars in Poti, Lanchkhuti and Zugdidi for local NGOs, school children, mass media representatives, CBOs (on 31 January, 1 and 2 February). During the seminars the information package developed by the ICZM centre was distributed. The ICZM centre also covered their travel expenses and small lunches during the meeting time.
The ICZM Centre is going to prepare a wall calendar dedicated to WWD 2003. Photos will be taken from the local school childrens' paintings gallery. This gallery recently was held in Poti by a local NGO with the assistance of the Park's administration (the head of Visitors and Education Program). The ICZM Centre partially financed the event, contributing presents and certificates for children and also small lunches for guests.
Keti Chomakidze, PR Officer, ICZM Centre (PHASiS@ICZM.org.ge).