CIVICS/Socio-economic Tools for Integrated Conservation Planning in the Multi-Ethnic South Caucasus
Socio-economic Tools for Integrated Conservation Planning in the Multi-Ethnic South Caucasus is the first project of CIVICS. After handing in an application to BMBF in early fall 2010, the research contract for the project could finally be signed in December 2011.
The initiators of the project are Jan Barkmann (jbarkma(at)gwdg.de) and Johanna Schott from the Environmental and Resource Economics Group from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany.
The Caucasian main partners are
- Grigol (Gia) Abramia, International Center for Environmental Research (ICFER), Tbilisi (Georgia)
- Vakhtang Shelia, David-Aghmashenebeli Universitity (SDASU) and Georgian-American University (GAU), Tbilisi (Georgia)
- Vardan Urutuan, International Center for Agribusines Research and Education (ICARE), Erevan (Armenia)
- Vugar Babayev, Ganja Agribusiness Association (GABA), Ganja City (Azerbaijan)
- Emilia Nercissans, [www.ut.ac.ir/en Teheran University], Faculty of Social Sciences, Teheran (Iran)
- Nune Harutyunyan, The Regional Environmental Center for the Caucasus (REC-Caucasus), Tbilisi (Georgia)
There are a number South Caucasus project scientists adding to the data and analyis of the project.
- Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nikoloz Mikava (Georgian Technical University (GTU) Georgia, Tbilisi; translations, "backoffice", qualitative resaearch)
- Dr. Gizo Gogichaishvili (State Hydrometeorological Department of Georgia, Ministry of Nature Protection and Natural Resources Georgia; Lagodekhi case study)
- Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maia Geliashvili (Georgia, Samtskhe-Javakheti State Teaching University)
- Mr. Davit Shelia (Georgia, Lagodekhi case study)
- Dr. Susanna Hakobyan (Head of Department of Hydrobiology, Institute of Hydroecology and Ichthyology, Scientific Center for Zoology and Hydrobiology, National Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, 0014 Armenia; Lake Arpi case study)
- Mr. Nizami Ibrahimli (GABA, Ganca, Azerbeijan, Zaqatala case study)
- Mr. Jafar (Azerbeijan, Zaqatala case study)
In summer 2012 we handed over administrative project coordination for the German side from Dr. Johanna Schott to Talin Kalatas. Talin has chosen persue her PhD work within the frame of the project. In addition to project coordination, she is most directly involved in the design of the Choice Experiments carried out in the four case study areas. Having carried out her M.S. study already in Armenia, she is specifically involved in the empirical work in the Lake Arpi region.
Spring School and Kick-Off Workshop
For details, see section on Capacity Building below.
From Monday, 12th to 14th of March 2012, the project invited for a kick-off workshop in Tbilisi. While the first two days were reserved for a general socialisation of the project among conservation, devleopment and agricultural actors, the third day was devoted to internal meetings on details of project collaboration.
Field Trip to Javakheti (March 2012)
For the field trip, see
- Field Trip to Javakheti, 2012-03; impressions provided by Jan Barkmann
- Field Trip to Javakheti (March 2012); impressions and facts provided by www.icfer.org (Gia Abramia)
- TV report in Akhalzikhe: When visiting one of the NGOs in Akhalzikhe, we were interviewed by a reporter of a local TV station. A video clip of the TV piece is available.
Field Trip to Lake Arpi (March 2012)
For the field trip, see
- Field Trip to Lake Arpi, 2012; impressions provided by Talin Kalatas
Final Project and Expert's Workshop (October 2013)
For Oct. 1st, 2013, we invited key civil society and government actors in conservation planning in the South Caucasus to our final project workshop. The workshop was held at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Tbilisi. Several existing contacts could be strengthened and new contacts established. The expert's workshop is visible here. The main purpose of the workshop was
- presentation of main results from the qualitative and quantitative research in the case study areas including policy and research recommendations, and
- a thorough and critical discussion of results and recommendations.
The presentations of the workshop are accessible here.
Capacity building is an important task of CIVICS. It works both ways.
Joint Cooperative Research
Case Study Areas
After the spring school, joint cooperative research started with a field trip to the mountainous border of Georgia and Armenia in the Javakheti National Park area (Javakheti Case Study). On the opposite side of the border, the Lake Arpi National Park is located in Armenia (Lake Arpi Case Study). Lake Arpi and Samtskhe-Javakheti are the youngest twinning pair national parks in the whole Caucasus region.
A second area for field research is located at the border between Georgia and Azerbeijan in the Zaqatala and Lagodekhi areas. The case study areas are located nearly next to each other in the Alazani river valley. They extend from the villages of the Greater Caucasus foothills up to the high alpine border to Dagestan across the border to Russia. The Lagodekhi national park is the oldest protected area of the whole Caucasus.
Research on socio-economic aspects of conservation planning will commence on both sides of the border in both field research areas.
We know that there are seasonal movements of cattle and/or sheep and their herders from farther away. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources in the current project step to analyse the importance of transhumnce properly.
The projects uses four main social-science methods:
- literature research
- semi-structured in-depth interviews based on an interview guide
- representative, quantitative cross-sectional household and natural resource use surveys
- representative choice experiments on natural resource use options
Qualitative Studies and Pilot Studies
Our Caucasian project scientists administered qualitative interviews to farmers, NGO and administration officers in spring and early summer 2012. These interviews are important qualitative data in their own right. Additionally, the interviews serve as a source of pre-study data for the development and adoption of the quantitative research instruments. Specifically, they fed into (i) the instrument for the quantitative household and landuse survey, and (ii) into the Choice Experiment on local development and conservation options.
The pilot studies were completed in summer 2012 in all four case study regions. The focus was on testing the design of the Choice Experiment (CE; n=4x30). We had CE attributes on economic preferences for changes in
- access to alpide summer pastures,
- access to plants to be collected in or near protected areas
- household availability in electricity, water and gas,
- trainings on topics such as honey and cheese production.
As a result of an analysis of the pilot study data, the attribute on household availability in electricity, water and gas will be removed from the formal CE itself but included as a separate question in the survey instrument. All three other attributes appear roughly to "work" in line with expectations.
Quantitative Main Study
In mid October 2012, Talin Kalatas travelled to the project area and updated all local project scientists on the results of the pilot study including the changes to the survey instrument. By the end of November 2012, the survey was already finished in the Javakheti, Lagodekhi and Lake Arpi project regions, and underway in Zaqatala. Delayed by an earthquake and hindered by other unexpected issues, the quantitative research in the Zaqatala area was tentatively scheduled to be concluded in 2014. After internal discussions it was decided to exclude the region of Zaqatala from further research.
2012: (Very) first results at GfÖ Meeting, Sept. 2012 in Lüneburg (Germany)
A poster presentation on very first project results first authored by Jan Barkmann was accepted by the scientific committee of the GfÖ Meeting. The Abstract had been available from here on page 76. Now, please see First Results 2012.
2013 results: Stakeholer preferences in NP buffer zone management
The first main results from the choie experiment were submitted for presentation at the 2013 Annual Meeting of Gesellschaft für Ökologie and the 2013 Annual Meeting of Tropentag.
For details see 2013 First Main Results here.
2013: Main quantitative and choice experiment results
The main results of the quantitative research and the choice experiment were shown at the Experts' Workshop in Tbilisi 2013.
The project deals with socio-economics aspects in a politically and geographically complex area. Thus, we provide commented access to background materials. Important topics are
- Material on South Caucasus Minority Issues
- Economics and the Environment as roads to peace in the South Caucasus, IFP, Wittich & Maas (2009)
- Material on South Caucasus Biodiversity
- Social and Economic Benefits of Enhanced Environmental Protection in the ENPI countries (2011)
- Analysis for European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Countries and the Russian Federation on social and economic benefits of enhanced environmental protection
- Armenia Country Report - Sofie Willems, ARCADIS Emma Anakhasyan, independent expert (2011)
- Azerbaijan Country Report- James Spurgeon, Emily Cooper and Beaudry Kock (ERM Ltd), Rafig Verdiyev (2011)
- Georgia Country Report- Wim Van Breusegem, Arcadis Grigol Abramia, ICFER (2011)
- We may consider the submission of a paper to the annual Caucasus Journal of Social Sciences