WASHINGTON, D.C. - At a signing ceremony today Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and David Tkeshelashvili, Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources for the Republic of Georgia, formalized a long-term partnership to collaborate on the development of Georgia’s protected area system.
“Through this agreement, the Department of the Interior is pleased to continue to provide technical assistance to the government of the Republic of Georgia on conservation and park administration,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “We want to share our experience that parks not only protect the environment, but also boost the economy through sustainable tourism.”
The Department of the Interior’s International Technical Assistance launched its relationship with the Republic of Georgia in 1999 to help bolster their national system of protected areas. With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of the Interior is providing broad technical assistance at the headquarters level to establish a national training center and a national training program focused on issues of park system management, administration and personnel management. The International Technical Assistance Program also is providing field-level technical assistance and training.
While in the United Stated, the Minister and his delegation will visit Interior’s National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in West Virginia as well as Point Reyes National Seashore and Yosemite National Park in California. The Minister’s delegation will consist of the head of Georgia’s Protected Areas Department, the head of the Public Relations Department for the Ministry, the director of Kolkheti National Park in Georgia, and the in-country coordinator for DOI’s work in Georgia.
The NCTC visit is intended to provide a model for the Ministry’s own training center currently under development. While at Point Reyes, the group will revitalize a sister-park relationship between Point Reyes and Kolkheti National Park. While at Yosemite, the group will participate in "Experience Your Yosemite,” the monthly meeting of the superintendent and park staff with community leaders. The trip is intended to spark new initiatives for the Georgian park system and build and strengthen relationships between the Department of the Interior and Georgian counterparts that can be facilitated by the program of technical assistance.
More information can be found at www.doi.gov/intl/itap.
*Photos Available Upon Request.