Guria Coastal Region

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Guria map.jpg

CASE description

Guria Coastal Region is located along the Black Sea coast of Georgia, spreading approx. 21.5 km from River Natanebi to the southern edge of the city of Poti. Two main landscape types are the coastal plains, dominated by agriculture, which are characterised by flat, open landscapes with distant views of the Caucasus Mountains, and foothills of the Lesser Caucasus. An important cluster of tourism activities (Ureki resort with its black sand beaches) is present in the area from River Natanebi to River Supsa. Within this area, British Petroleum exploits the Supsa oil terminal with 4 x 40,000 m3 storage capacity. Construction of a new port and related infrastructure was recently approved in the same area. The coastal substrata here is comprised of coarse to fine sands. The coastline just south of Poti is relatively undeveloped, while Grigoleti and Shekvetili settlements contain uncontrolled dacha (summer house) developments.


ICZM phase

Establishment

British Petroleum Terminal in the river Supsa area (Photo: Patrick Breslin)


Main coastal issues

- Bathing water quality and beach litter

- Weak quality of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in coastal development projects, such as for the new Supsa port

- Inadequate erosion control

- Habitat loss


Relation between the coastal issues and the ICZM protocol principles and articles

Article 15. Awareness-raising, Training, Education and Research – regional and local level training in various aspects of ICZM such as application of indicators tool.

Article 16. Monitoring and Observation Mechanisms and Networks – applying coastal inventories and indicators at the regional level. Developing web-based node for spatial information dissemination (Tskaltsminda GIS system).

Article 18. National Coastal Strategies, Plans and Programmes – monitoring the performance of the local ICZM plan developed earlier (Tskaltsminda pilot project).

Article 19. Environmental Assessment – introduction of EU compatible guidelines for EIA/SEA for application in the coastal zone. Monitoring the quality of EIA for coastal development projects.

Article 22. Natural Hazards – assessing coastal erosion (using hydrological modelling).

Article 27. Exchange of Information and Activities of Common Interest – defining coastal management indicators and cooperating with stakeholders in the use of such indicators; implementing demonstration ICZM projects as for other PEGASO CASES.


Relevance of the coastal issues

Indicators have not been applied yet in the Guria CASE; therefore the following conclusions are based on expert judgement. There have been no improvements in bathing water quality or beach litter management. EIA regulations and quality of EIAs for coastal development projects remain weak. Supsa Port EIA is a good example – a low quality EIA was approved, which initiated works resulting in destruction of coastal habitat (natural wetland), as recently reported in the national media. But construction is now halted, probably due to lack of financing. In addition, dozens of local households were resettled from their lands. A positive result of halt in construction is that expected coastal erosion risks are not enhanced any further.


Objectives

- Development of coastal management tools

- Improvement of erosion control and watershed management


Coastal wetlands patches close to the proposed Supsa port development area (Photo: Patrick Breslin)

End Products of the Guria case study

Application of ICZM sustainability indicators (SDI) – detection of change


PEGASO tools developed and used

Indicators - LEAC (Land and Ecosystem Accounting method)


Other tools to be applied

SDI


CASE Responsibles

Mamuka Gvilava - Pegaso Task Manager for Black Sea Commission Permanent Secretariat (BSC PS), ICZM Focal Point for Georgia - email: MGvilava@ICZM.ge

Amiran Gigineishvili - Georgia CASE Coordinator - email: amiran@lic.org.ge


Elaboration: Stefano Soriani, Fabrizia Buono, Monica Camuffo, Marco Tonino, University Ca’ Foscari of Venice.