Eight Georgian municipalities as frontrunners for new trajectories of growth

The EU and UNDP to co-create solutions with members in the Mayors for Economic Growth network in Georgia to make cities and towns more attractive for people and investments

Posted March 17, 2022

The European Union (EU) and UNDP announced today that eight Georgian municipalities are set to receive targeted support under the EU-funded regional initiative ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG) to explore a system thinking approach for sustainable and inclusive development.

Batumi and Kutaisi will go through a two-year-long learning journey to design and activate a municipal transformation portfolio worth EUR225,000 each. Poti, Rustavi, Samtredia and Tskaltubo will undergo a mentoring and learning journey called “Urban Imaginaries” with the potential to receive a seed fund of EUR60,000 per municipality for innovative development projects. Two more municipalities – Bolnisi and Oni, will receive direct support from the EU Delegation to Georgia to implement economic and business development initiatives. Bolnisi will expand its municipal business model, and Oni will develop local business clusters to attract investments.

Georgian municipalities are among 300 local self-government entities in four Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) that took part in the Call for Interests for Municipal Transformation Portfolio announced in 2021. For the 2022 cohorts, six were selected for the Portfolio Journey and 14 for the mentoring and grant opportunity under “Urban Imaginaries” across the region.

When the Call for Interest was announced last year, 48 Georgian municipalities were united in the M4EG network. Seven more have joined since then, increasing the total number of the Georgian member municipalities to fifty-five.   

“Georgia’s regions have a lot of untapped potentials. Our ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ facility helps unlock and explore these opportunities. Through this regional initiative, the EU will assist municipalities to move ahead after the pandemic, discover new ways for economic and social development, and benefit from the experience accumulated in the EU Member States,” said Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia Carl Hartzell.

“UNDP congratulates the winning municipalities and wishes them every success in the implementation of these exciting new projects. We need creative and dynamic approaches to help municipalities respond to the complex challenges they are facing. The M4EG network provides its members with a unique opportunity to explore new trajectories of growth, move the needle on the green and digital transition, and raise financial resources,” said UNDP Head in Georgia Nick Beresford.

The M4EG facility is designed to introduce a holistic approach to municipal development known as adaptive portfolios of connected interventions. This approach replaces the implementation of isolated and disconnected local projects with systemic solutions that support the advancement of the entire socio-economic system adapted to the local context.

The EU and UNDP are supporting the participant municipalities in developing a new generation of local economic development plans (LEDPs), building new capabilities on systems thinking, for urban resilience.

In Georgia, the M4EG initiative also contributes to the implementation of the broader EU-funded initiatives to help Georgia advance its regional development and implement the national Decentralisation Strategy 2020-2025.

Background:

The Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility is part of the M4EG initiative, launched and funded by the European Union since 2017. The M4EG Facility is run by UNDP, starting from 2021, in close cooperation with the EU, local authorities and a range of other partners.

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