GLOWS hosts South Caucasus Conference in Georgia

FIU’s Global Water for Sustainability Program (GLOWS) recently hosted the “South Caucasus Conference on Sustainability and Watershed Management” in the Republic of Georgia.

The two-day event brought together different stakeholders to discuss the sustainability of integrated watershed management, including institutional settings and policies, financial sustainability, youth and community engagement, best practices, challenges, and lessons learned.

The conference hosted 100 guests, including members of the GLOWS team and representatives from government, donor and non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, and business from the Republic of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It was co-sponsored with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Republic of Georgia’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection.

Luis Salas of FIU (left) and Richard Volk of USAID (right) talk about watershed management.

The conference was opened with remarks by Luis Salas, associate vice-president of FIU’s Division of Research; Richard Norland, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia; Maria Donoso, director of GLOWS; and Khatuna Gogaladze, minister of environment and natural protection. It was third in a series of workshops, funded by the USAID, aimed at defining the sustainability of watershed management.

“Georgia is undergoing a period of rapid economic growth. The challenge for this program is to ensure that growth is sustainable and natural resources are used to improve quality of life in the short and long term,” said Ryan Stoa, GLOWS deputy director. “Our work ranges from grassroots community organizing and capacity building — including small grant projects and school-based ecoclubs — to national level policy reform.  We’re really enthusiastic about the results and relationships we’ve developed, and looking forward to expanding on that in the future.”

The Integrated Natural Resources Management in Watersheds of Georgia Program partners include FIU, UNESCO Institute for Water Education, CARE International, Winrock International, and Caucasus Environmental NGO Network.

GLOWS is a consortium of international organizations led by FIU, working to increase social, economic and environmental benefits to people of the developing world. The program is an integral component of FIU’s School of Environment, Arts and Society in the College of Arts & Sciences. It provides expertise across the policy, governance, educational and technical dimensions of integrated water resources management.

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