Kutaisi wins national best practice award for the smart eco-city portfolio

National Association of Local Authorities, with support from the EU, Denmark, and UNDP, reveals best practices among Georgia’s municipalities

December 19, 2022
Kutaisi Smart Eco-City
Photo: UNDP Georgia/Vladimir Valishvili

Georgian municipalities presented their development projects and local solutions at the fifth annual contest organized by the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) to reveal the best practices in local governance and municipal performance.

The initiative was supported by the European Union (EU), UNDP and Denmark, under their broader assistance for regional and local development in Georgia – the EU-funded programmes, Mayors for Economic Growth Facility (M4EG) and Integrated Territorial Development, and the Denmark-funded project for Decentralization and Good Governance at the Local Level.

Fourteen municipalities were awarded this year, with Kutaisi winning the national award for the smart eco-city portfolio.

Earlier this year, Kutaisi was selected by the EU and UNDP for a two-year-long journey to explore a smart eco-city model and nature-based urban innovation and facilitate the transition towards green and sustainable life. This municipal transformation portfolio received EUR225,000 in funding from the EU under the M4EG Facility.

“The European Union, through our regional and local programmes, assists Georgian municipalities to unlock development opportunities, explore new trajectories of growth, and benefit from the experience accumulated in the EU Member States".
H.E. Pawel Herczynski, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia
“UNDP is strongly committed to supporting decentralization and local governments in Georgia. Municipalities are where life-changing decisions are being made and where practical steps are being taken towards a green and equal future. At a time of uncertainty, transformative changes take development to the next level and present smart ways to cope with social, economic or environmental challenges".
Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia

The NALAG’s National Conference on Best Practices is an annual forum for local authorities, civil society and communities to discuss important developments at the local level, reveal best practices in service delivery, explore innovative solutions to local challenges, and share experiences, successes and lessons learned.

This year’s conference included an in-depth discussion on transformative changes at the local level, bringing examples of the cities of Batumi, Kutaisi and Poti engaged in the M4EG facility. The conference participants also addressed the protection of the rights of people with disabilities and discussed municipal guidelines on disability-inclusive local budgeting development with the EU and UNDP support.    

The conference was opened by Giorgi Tkemaladze, Chairman of Tbilisi City Municipal Assembly and NALAG Vice President. Kakha Kakhishvili, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Regional Policy and Self-Government; Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure; and Niko Tatulashvili, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights, participated in discussions.

Ten municipalities received Best Practice Awards this year:

  1. Senaki. Nomination: Public-private partnership at the local level.
  2. Kutaisi. Two nominations: (1) Local economic development planning and participatory economic development innovation,  (2) Successful cooperation with international donors.
  3. Zugdidi. Four nominations: (1) Youth policy and engagement, (2) Child-oriented social programmes, child rights protection and harm prevention, (3) Successful cooperation with international donors, (4) Participatory planning of municipal programmes, increased effectiveness and access to healthcare.
  4. Oni. Nomination: Youth policy and engagement.
  5. Dusheti. Nomination: Child-oriented social programmes, child rights protection and harm prevention
  6. Chokhatauri. Nominations: Environmental protection, energy efficiency, climate change adaptation.
  7. Keda. Nomination: Gender equality, gender-sensitive municipal services.
  8. Poti. Nomination: Gender equality, gender-sensitive municipal services.
  9. Khashuri. Two nominations: (1) Citizen engagement, local budget transparency, (2) Municipal programmes for preschool education, extracurricular education, and lifelong learning.
  10. Batumi. Nomination: Municipal waste management and circular economy development. The project is supported by the UNDP Accelerator Lab with funds from Germany and Qatar.

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