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Samtskhe Javakheti Region


For selecting the alternatives, SECHSA proposes to apply the principle of screening established in ESMF for this RDP III. For eligibility assessment of Public-Private Infrastructure Investments relevant eligibility criteria established by ESMF shall be used in addition.


The SPs changing features of monuments or projects within the protected areas should be rejected. During the complex multifactorial comparison of alternatives, preference should be given to the SPs with less environmental impacts.

7. RDP III AND SECHSA RECCOMENDATIONS FOR ITS IMPLEMENTATION


RDP III is designed to contribute to the achievement of overall strategic development goals of the Georgia’s government in Samthskhe-Javakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions through selective investment into activities that support implementation of RDSs and RTDSs. The Project Development Objective is to improve infrastructure services and institutional capacity to support increased contribution of tourism in the local economy of the Samtskhe-Javakheti and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions.

Component 1: Infrastructure Investment (US$53.25 million)


Component 1.1:

Urban Regeneration and Circuit Development (US$46.00 million). This component will finance: urban regeneration of old towns and villages, including restoration of building facades, public spaces, museums, roads and water, and enhancement of cultural and natural heritage sites, including access and presentation.
Based on product development and marketing potential, infrastructure needs, and employment levels, the project will focus on sites along the circuit connecting the selected heritage, nature and ski sites. The proposed sites/subprojects discussed with the Government for financing under the Project will supplement what the Government has already invested in. These can be grouped into two categories:
Urban regeneration in three hub cities: Dusheti, Stepantsminda and Abastumani. The Project will also build on previous urban regeneration investments made by the Government, and may finance small-scale incremental investments needs, in Mtskheta, Gudauri, Bakuriani, Borjomi and Akhaltsikhe. Additional investment needs in Akhalkalaki, Ninosminda and Khevsureti will be subject to a great scrutiny.

Improved site management and construction of tourism facility and access road in the following cultural heritage sites: Saphara Monastery, Saro Darbazi houses, Zarzma Monastery, Vardzia caves, Vanis Qvabebi Caves, Khertvisi Fortress, Akhalkalaki Fortress, Tmogvi Fortress, Jvari monastery, Mtskheta archaeological sites, Ananuri Fortress, Gergeti Trinity Church, and Dariali monastery.


Component 1.2:

Provision of Public Infrastructure to Attract Private Investments (US$7.25 million). To encourage private sector investments in the region, this component will support a selected number of private sector entities in project areas that demonstrate interest and capacity to invest in tourism or agribusiness through investing in complementary public infrastructure that is necessary to ensure the viability of their investments (e.g. public facilities within vicinity of the investments, road/sidewalk, water/sanitation, communications, connection to main trucks, etc.). The investment proposals would be subject to screening by a selection committee and there will be appropriate conditions tied to that.

Component 2: Institutional Development (US$6.60 million).

The component will support institutional capacity and performance of the Georgia National Tourism Administration (GNTA), National Agency for Culture Heritage Preservation of Georgia (NACHP), National Museum, Project Implementing Entity (Municipal Development Fund of Georgia, MDF), and other local and regional entities in order for them to carry out the following activities: setting up of destination management office in each region; marketing and promotion; preparation of sustainable site management plans for all Project’s cultural heritage sites; training for skilled workforce development and capacity building; cultural heritage advisory service to the NACHP to improve their capacity on protection and management of the World Heritage property Historical Monuments of Mtskheta to prevent its possible removal from the List of World Heritage in Danger; business start-up/expansion advisory service to tourism SMEs; performance monitoring & evaluation activities; and preparation of feasibility studies, design and construction supervision.
Handling RDP III Implementation

One of the SECHSA findings is a lack of coordination between key agencies during the RDS and RTDS development. To avoid similar problems with the RDP III implementation, SECHSA recommends enhancement of the management system. TA included in RDP III may not only assist in a capacity building of the separate entities engaged in RDP III implementation, but also may have an input in developing a more efficient inter-sectoral management structure for RDP III. Due to the multi-sectoral nature of this Project, SECHSA advises to establish Informal Working Group, which involves all agencies concerned- namely, MDF, Georgia National Tourism Agency, Culture Heritage Agency, Culture Heritage Fund, Agency of Protected Areas, Governor’s Office, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Regional Development & Infrastructure. The Working Group should ensure coordination and efficient involvement of concerned agencies and should be responsible for strategic decision making.


The MDF will be responsible for RDP III project implementation. For strategic decisions, like selection of the subprojects, the Working Group is considered as a Leading Agency. For development of infrastructure projects and for implementation of infrastructure and conservation-rehabilitation projects MDF, as the Implementing Agency for this program has the leading role. In preparation of the conservation-rehabilitation projects, if such projects will be finally proposed for RDP III, the NACHP is the leading entity. At the stage of operation and maintenance of all provided assets, the self governments will take responsibility. MDF and the local self governments will sign subproject investment agreements which will clearly assign local self governments the responsibility of operation and maintenance of all provided assets.
Handling Involuntary Resettlement and Grievances
RDP III triggers the WB’s Safeguards Policy on Involuntary Resettlement OP 4.12. A Resettlement impacts would mainly relate to temporary relocation and/or loss of income or productive assets during construction. However, there might also be some cases of permanent resettlement. Resettlement Policy Framework was prepared and disclosed to the public according to the policy and a baseline social assessment was carried out in the target regions. Resettlement activities will be fully informed by this social assessment. In particular, consultations held with project affected people will be held in venues that are accessible, in a form and language appropriate for the group, and results of the meetings will be publically disclosed. Information on project affected people will be collected in a way that makes it possible to identify specific vulnerabilities that may make it difficult for that person or their household to cope with project impacts. Gender, disability, income, education and age will be considered when determining specific individual vulnerabilities. In Mtskheta-Mtianeti, special attention will be paid to mountain communities.
Resettlement activities shall incorporate a focus on livelihood restoration. To the extent possible, project affected people will be included in project-funded skills development activities. When this is not possible, the project will try to connect those affected with other government or donor-funded activities promoting skills, income generation, or access to finance. If no other activities exist that are appropriate for these individuals, RDP III will provide funding for individuals to start small businesses, to acquire skills, or to expand other livelihood activities, as appropriate. RDP III will pay special attention to livelihood restoration activities for women or for pensioners, given that these two groups are more likely to have difficulties adapting to different livelihood activities.
Monitoring and evaluation of resettlement and land acquisition shall be carried out systematically. Monitoring of impacts on resettled individuals and households, and on those receiving livelihoods restoration assistance shall take place immediately after the implementation of site-specific Resettlement Action Plans as well as six and twelve months after displacement has occurred. If after 12 months of displacement, negative impacts, such as reduced income are found, additional support shall be provided to those individuals.
Pooling of TA for the Support to Tourism and Agribusiness SMEs for higher efficiency
For maximizing impact of the TA included in RDP III, synergies may be built between similar activities planned under the WB -supported RDP, RDP II, and RDP III. Support to the SMEs in the tourism and agricultural sectors should be delivered in close cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, which runs a State program for SME support. Partnership should be sought with other donor-funded activities also targeting SME development. TA for SMEs should include dissemination of knowledge and information about the available low-emission technologies and green development in general, as well as provide incentives for SMEs for the acquisition of these technologies.
TA for supporting SME development should include advice for the governmental authorities, responsible for SME development, in relation with the most efficient technologies and facilities for implementing SME supporting programs. In particular, concept of Business Incubators, or other similar facilities, which complexly address all basic factors important for SME development, should be promoted. The concept of Business Incubators comprise: a) provision of start up financing; b) advisory service in financial management and marketing; c) advisory service and facilitation in implementing modern technologies; d) provision of access to modern materials, facilities and efficient technologies; e) advisory service and facilitation in entering new and prospective markets; g) The Business Incubators, as shareholders (either permanent, or temporary) will take partial responsibility for the development of sustainable enterprises.
Pooling of TA for the Support to the Vulnerable Social Groups
While developing business incubators or other simpler facilities aimed on supporting SME, SECHSA recommends to take into account the need of providing specific facilities helping development of professional skills and business opportunities for women and vulnerable groups (e.g. IDPs, disabled or aged persons). These facilities could be developed on a basis of micro-financing institutions, supplementing their usual activities with training programs (marketing, simple technology transfer, financial management for individual entrepreneurs). Such facilities could be supportive for individuals interested in production of handicrafts, souvenirs, domestic food products, specific national clothes etc.
Involving Cultural Heritage Agencies in Site Selection and Design of Activities to be Implemented in and around Cultural Heritage Sites
Component 2 of RDP III will finance training and capacity building for Capacity building for the staff of several cultural heritage and tourism management institutions of Georgia. Based on the experience from RDP and RDP II, it will be critically important to engage cultural heritage agencies at all stages of review, design and implementation of project-supported activities which deal with the physical cultural resources. Church should also be involved and consulted in cases RDP III finances works in or around places of worship. Seeking advice and guidance from international heritage institutions (ICOMOS, UNESCO) will be highly advisable when dealing with monuments of exceptional historic value. Membership of the Minister of Culture of Georgia in the supervisory board of the implementing entity of RDP III – the MDF – should guarantee political consensus on the important decisions regarding project investments into conservation and sustainable use of cultural heritage.
Clarifying Property and User Rights to the Public Infrastructure to be provided around Cultural Heritage Sites
Elements of public infrastructure which RDP III will provide as part of investment into upgrading of cultural heritage sites will be constructed on the State-owned land. User rights to such land plots may need to be transferred to the MDF during construction period, and then further on to the entity that will operate the infrastructure. Municipality, private company or Church may be given a mandate to operate the provided facilities. All arrangements pertaining land title and user rights as well as modality of operation and maintenance of the infrastructure shall be made well on time. Operating entities may require some orientation and training in particular aspects of their task.

8. DISSEMINATION AND CONSULTATIONS


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Social Impacts - Samtskhe-javakheti and mtsketa-mtianeti

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Social Impacts


Integrated approach allows to better manage social impacts related to growth of tourist flows, like increased demand for infrastructure, sanitation, waste management, water and energy supply. Vertical scheme allows parallel development of general and specific tourist infrastructure and scheduled planning of enterprising campaigns. In case of horizontal schemes of management lack of coordination in developing tourism infrastructure and supporting infrastructure will result in local and temporary increase of tourist flows impacted by lack of water supply and sanitation infrastructure, safe roads, waste collection and disposal facilities. Such misbalance will adversely affect environment (pollution), local residents and tourists. lowering the quality of services and in medium term perspective, resulting in decreasing tourist flows and related benefits.
Integrated management and clear policy aimed on comprising as much as possible local beneficiaries (employees, small businesses etc.) enables to minimize revenue leakages. Parallel investments aimed on support of local food processing enterprises, local cousin, wineries, system of small boutique hotels, shops and cafes, artisans and producers of souvenirs is a remedy against leakages,.
The influx of large numbers of foreigners (tourists or migrant workers) into a local culture and the likely clash of contrasting life styles that result, can have serious impacts on local cultures, lead to erosion of traditional values. Stimulation of prostitution, drug proliferation, increase of criminality, transmission diseases is often associated with tourism industry. The integrated management involving central and local government, engaging healthcare and social protection institutions, Church and other stakeholder groups enables to better manage these risks. Horizontal investment schemes, as well as large scale resort complexes are less manageable in that regard.
One more example of a negative externality is induced development and misbalanced migration related to tourism sector. Development of regional and local Masterplans and coordinated spatial planning, as well as managed distribution of facilities around the major tourist circuits enables to balance induced development. Horizontal schemes do not provide balancing mechanisms and construction of large complexes stimulated induced development concentrated around these centers.

Environment Impacts and Impacts on Cultural Heritage


Implementation of the complex program of rehabilitation of old and construction of new infrastructure of course will have certain negative impact on the natural environment and cultural heritage. However, the direct impacts of projects implemented in urban areas are mostly limited to typical environmental and social impacts related to civil works and transportation of construction materials. Besides the dust, emissions, noise, disturbance, safety risks, traffic disruption etc., cultural heritage impacts are of particular importance. Construction activities within the historical/cultural zone are always associated with certain risks of physical damaging valuable historical or architectural buildings, monuments or archaeological sites. Excavations in close vicinity with the buildings, vibration related to vehicle operations and heavy equipment may lead to structural damages of historically valuable buildings. Excavations may damage archaeological artifacts.
Direct impacts related to Construction of Facilities in Rural Area and Natural Landscapes are more diverse and add some more features:

  • Footprint on natural landscape in cases, where the new infrastructure is built

  • Risks of soil and/or water contamination due to improper waste and hazardous material management, improper vehicle maintenance and fueling operations, fuel leakages etc.

  • Damage to natural vegetation

  • Disturbance of fauna

  • waste and pollution due to poor sanitation in workers camps

  • temporary or permanent occupation of private land, resettlement impacts related to the necessity of land acquisition (at present stage of planning no resettlement impacts are reported, however, as the extremely important issue, this should be under strict control)

  • Specific type of indirect impacts on cultural heritage is related to the cases when unsuitable facilities are constructed and operated near the historical monument, sacred sites, cemeteries, traditional recreational or leisure zone change the perception and “atmosphere” of monument or site, affect traditional way of life and habits of local community.

Conservation-restoration of historical buildings and monuments

by definition is aimed on preservation of cultural heritage. However, improper planning and design, misbalance between reconstruction/restoration and preservation/conservation strategies may lead to unacceptable changes of materials/features and diminishing of the cultural heritage value of the affected monument. All interventions during the conservation-restoration works should be in compliance with the requirements of the Georgian Law on Cultural Heritage and the designs should be approved by the NACHP

.

However, besides the approval of the NACHP, appropriate public consultations and consensus with the local communities, general society, Church and academicians is required.
All these risks are manageable through application of good design, construction and operation practices.
The mentioned direct environmental and cultural heritage impacts are relevant to all of the 3 reviewed scenarios. However, application of vertical scheme of management, better intersectoral coordination and more strict overall control makes more reliable that efficient mitigation will be achieved through application of best construction and environmental practices. More efficient strict procedure for site selection will enable to avoid impacts on protected areas and sensitive habitats.
The coordinated development of tourist facilities and supportive infrastructure (water supply, wastewater, waste management etc.) envisaged by the vertical scheme of management (scenario 1) allows to solve the problem of increased waste and wastewater generation and to prevent related pollution. Misbalance of increased tourist flows and deficiency of sanitation infrastructure, which is the case currently and is characteristic to uncoordinated development schemes (scenarios 2 and 3) will lead to environmental pollution.
The proposed integrated and coordinated development plan envisages parallel development of different tourist destinations of the region. This will enable to more evenly distribute the tourist flows and avoid local overloading. Large tourist complexes, which support high local concentration of tourists and impose high load on local environment, are limited to the traditional resort zones (Borjomi, Bakuriani etc.), which have sufficient carrying capacity to accommodate large amounts of tourists.
Integrated development of Masterplans and Spatial Zoning will balance induced development and related impacts on natural landscapes and ecosystems. Uncontrolled induced development associated with scenarios 2 and 3 is related to significant impacts on undisturbed natural landscapes, as well as with visual impacts and disfiguring urban and rural landscaped due to unplanned construction.
Coordinated management between agencies responsible for tourism, protected areas management, and pollution control will enable to avoid the deterioration of environmental resources. Integrated scheme enables preparation of tier 2 managerial actions through initiation of necessary strategic studies: Preparation of Regional Waste Management and Pollution Prevention Plans, updating of management plans for protected areas, development of Regional Forest Fire Protection Plan, Assessment of Epizootic Risks and planning prevention strategy against increase of sexually transmitted diseases etc., which are important in the context of increasing environmental risks related to tourism development.

Conclusion


Geotourism is "best practice" tourism that sustains, or even enhances, the geographical character of a place, such as its culture, environment, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. Project scenario selected for implementation (scenario 1) envisages an integrated geotourism development approach which bases itself on multisectoral investments and integrated management of vertical investments, aimed on coordination of developing tourism attractiveness of destination sites, increase of carrying capacity, sustainable support of most cost efficient tourist clusters and protection of natural and cultural heritage.
The major impact of scenarios 2 and 3 is reduction of sustainability of the economic development of region and related benefits for the local population.

6.5 SELECTION OF SUBPROJECTS WITHIN THE RDP III PROJECT FRAMES


At present 31 subprojects are proposed for RDP III – 14 for Mtskheta-Mtianeti and 17 for Samtskhe-Javakheti regions (see table below). This basic list also may be revised and some other subprojects added.

Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region



MTSKHETA



1

Rehabilitation and enhancement of Mtskheta Recreational Park

2

Development of Tourism infrastructure at Jvari monastery

3

Adaptation of Mtskheta cinema building to the Archeological Museum

4

Rehabilitation of road and arrangement of parking at Zedazeni monastery


DUSHETI



5

Rehabilitation of Dusheti historical streets

6

Restoration of Dusheti city park

7

Rehabilitation of Dusheti archeological base, access road to place and tourism infrastructure (Chilashivilebi palace)

8

Arrangement of tourism infrastructure at Ananuri castle

9

Development of Shatili heritage village

10

Arrangement of East Caucasus Trekking Route/mountain huts


KAZBEGI



11

Restoration of Stepantsminda Museum

12

Rehabilitation of Gergeti village road and access foot trail to Gergeti Trinity Church

13

Arrangement of parking lot at Dariali Monastery and access road to monks’ cells

14

Arrangement of tourism infrastructure at Gudauri


BORJOMI



1

Restoration of Borjomi Historical Museum

2

Rehabilitation of Borjomi Park Trail

3

Arrangement of Bakuriani Central Trail

4

Tourism Infrastructure Development at Bakuriani Recreation Park

5

Arrangement of Bakuariani Cable Car Parking Lot


AKHALTSIKHE



6

Restoration of access road to Sapara Monastery

7

Arrangement of tourism infrastructure at Sapara Monastery

8

Arrangement of tourist infrastructure for Tour of Tolerance in Akhaltsikhe


ADIGENI



9

Conservation of Zarzma Monastery and Restoration of Ancient spring path

10

Urban regeneration of Abastumani (including restoration of wooden houses) აბასთუმნის

11

Rehabilitation of Abastumani Observatory


ASPINDZA



12

Restoration of Saro Darbazi houses, rehabilitation of access road and tourism infrastructure

13

Arrangement of Tourism Infrastructure at Vardzia Caves

14

Arrangement of touristic safety measures and tourism infrastructure at Vanis Qvabebi.

15

Arrangement of tourism infrastructure at Khertvisi complex


AKHALKALAKI



16

Rehabilitation and Safety Measures of an access road to Gogasheni village

17

Rehabilitation of Akhalkalaki Multifunctional Hall
?


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