Situation with respect to NGO sector development in the region is unsatisfactory. Currently, there are about 20 local NGOs in the region, implementing projects more or less regularly. They participate in the regional coordination meetings regularly arranged between the NGOs and representatives of local governments for the purpose of information sharing, discussion of problems and formation of cooperation for their solving. Most of the mentioned organizations are funded by international donor organizations. Active support is provided due to close location of Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region to the conflict zone and high concentration of IDPs in the region. Till date, only few NGOs operating in Zugdidi have achieved certain stability. It should be noted that distribution of civic organizations by sectors and geographical areas is non-uniform. In particular, most organizations operate in Zugdidi. Though they work in the other areas of the region, their interventions, in many cases, are one time activities and of fragmented nature. Most organizations are engaged in the protection of the IDPs, gender and education issues. Three organizations work on the rights of the disabled persons and two of them in health sector. None of the organizations work on environmental issues. Participation of local civic organizations in decision-making, including budgeting processes, at the local level is quite passive.
Local media is quite well developed in Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region. There are a number of local TV stations: TV company “Odishi” in Zugdidi (covering Zugdidi, Khobi, part of Senaki and Tsalenjikha); TV companies “Egrisi” and “Atlantida” in Senaki (cover Senaki, Khobi and Abasha); “Jikha” TV company in Tsalenjikha; “Kolkheti 89” TV company in Tsalenjikha; and “Metskhre Talgha” (Ninth Wave) in Poti (covering Poti, Khobi and partially – Abasha and Senaki). Municipal and private newspapers and magazines are published in the region.
Only 21 of 194 members of the local councils of 9 self-government units of the region are women (it should be noted that there is only one women member in Zugdidi Local Council). 681 people are employed by the municipal bodies and 237 of them are women. Among them only 22 are at the top positions. Hence, it can be said that the role of women in decision-making process is quite insignificant.
Number of men employed in business sector significantly exceeds the number of women. According to the data for year 2009, 8,853 women and 16,385 men were employed in the business sector. Remunerations of men and women are significantly different as well. In particular, in 2009, average monthly remuneration of women was GEL 246.9, while men’s average monthly remuneration was GEL 539.8.
III Economic Development of the Region
Water resources and energey potential: Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region is characterized with abundance of water resources. Black Sea coastal zone which is of trans-border significance is located in this region. 2,400 large and small rivers are registered in the region. The longest rivers include: Enguri (213 km ), Khobistskali (150 km), Tekhuri (101 km) and Abashistskali (66 km). Rivers Rioni and Tskhenistskali flow through the borders of the region for 88km and 44 km respectively.
Quantity of ground waters comprises 25% of the region’s total water resources. The region is rich with lakes and mineral and thermal waters (there are 13 lakes with about 65 km2 of total surface area in the region). Jvari Water Reservoir with 13.5 m2 surface area is located in this region too. In 2011, according to water consumption data, water taken from the natural water bodies (ground and surface waters) was 4.935 million m3, and water use was 4.933 million m3. 99% of the usage was for hydro-energy generation, while 1% was used in agriculture and for industrial purposes.
In Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti, there are reserves of pure potable and healing waters. Recreation and resort potential of the mineral and thermal waters in the region is not well developed because of absence of adequate infrastructure. Currently only 3 licenses are issued for mineral water extraction in the region (with a prospective daily resource of 1,250 m3).
Most part of electricity consumed in the country is generated in Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region, and hence the region, as a guarantor of energy security, occupies a special place in the country. Currently there are 5 hydropower stations in Samegrelo: - Zemo Svaneti: in Tsalenjikha municipality – “Engurhesi” and “Skurhesi”: in Chkhorotsku Municipality – “Chkhorhesi”; and in Martvili Municipality – “Abhesi” and Kurzhesi”. Their aggregate output is 4,350 million kwt/hr. The region has very favorable natural conditions for additional power generation capacities. Due to steep mountainous relief and high quantities of precipitation, the rivers in Samegrelo are abundant sources of electricity. Aggregate hydropower resources of these rivers comprise 3.3 billion kilowatt, i.e., 13% of the total potential hydropower resources of Georgia. Abundance of hydropower resources in the region allows construction of numerous small hydropower projects (HPPs). Possibility of modernization of the existing small HPPs should also be taken into consideration; this would promote growth of the output. In addition, in use of hydro-resources of the region, geodynamic potential and high risk of danger should be taken into account as well.
Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region, compared with the other regions, is rich with thermal water resources with high energy potential (Extraction of thermal waters is licensed in villages Tsaishi, Senaki and Khobi in Zugdidi Municipality, where the daily resources comprise 6,900 m3, 2,146 m3 and 5,122 m3 respectively). Total reserves of the region’s thermal water deposits comprise 35,000 m3. The largest studied in detail and ready for operation is Zugdidi-Tsaishi deposit with the estimated operation resources of 14,300 m3 per day (800-1000 temperature).
The region has significant potential with respect to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal water energy. In most parts of the region, wind energy potential varies within 100-250 wt/m2, while in Poti, adjacent territories and coastal zone it is 800-1200 wt/m2. Among 9 potential areas for wind stations, territory of Poti is selected as a prospective wind station with 90 MW installed capacity, sufficient to supply electricity to 11000 families. Solar energy potential over the region’s entire territory is 3.8 kwt/m2.
There is practiced use of livestock wastes for biogas production (biogas plants in Mestia Khobi, and Matvili inZugdidi). Extensive consumption of biogas would significantly reduce physical labor of the farmers (collection of firewood and storage). Byproducts of biogas plants such as manure without methanol are used as a top quality fertilizer. Wide introduction of these practices would improve the population’s life standards, reduce greenhouse gasses emissions and save monetary assets of the population. In addition, it should be noted that there is a significant resource of biomass in a form of hazelnut production wastes, which could be effectively used for the energy purposes.
Forest resources: Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region is one of the areas of the country with abundant forest resources. Forests cover 41% of the region’s area. Area of the forest fund in the region comprise 276,300hectares, 259,700 (94%) of which is covered with forest (it should be noted that data of timber production for years 2011-2012 are incomplete and do not fully correspond to the actual situation in the region). There are so called “intact forests” maintained in this region, which, together with the other forested areas, create a deposit of biodiversity. Significant part of the forests in the region’s territory is located on the steep slopes and hence, they are distinguished by their certain functional purpose. In addition to the industrial potential, their soil protection, water regulation and climate regulation functions should be emphasized.
Among the key hard timber deciduous species composing the forest, at the regional scale, beech is predominant (spread over 77,565 hectares area, with 14774.2 thousand m3 timber reserve); significant areas are covered with hornbeams (16,700 hectares, and 1418.4 m3 timber reserve); chestnuts (14,228 hectares, 2,357.4 m3 timber reserve); oaks (4,699 hectares, 358.6 thousand m3 timber reserve); maple (472 hectares, 43 thousand m3 timber reserve); oriental hornbeams (1,083 hectares, 38,900 m3 timber reserve); and acacias (1,628 hectares, 67,500 m3 timber reserve). Unique buxus woods should be particularly emphasized (1,639 hectares, 130,500 m3 buxus). Among the coniferous species, there are firs (56,545 hectares, 21793.6 thousand m3 timber reserve); spruce (14,842 hectares, 3526.4 thousand m3 timber reserve); and pines (10,888 hectares, 1688.5 thousand m3 hectares). Among soft-timber species, the largest areas are covered with alder (51,734 hectares, 673,300 m3 timber reserve) and aspens (1,284 hectares, 103.4 thousand m3 timber reserve).
Available raw material basis provides opportunities for the development of investments in this aspect. Forests at the regional scale allow full satisfaction of the population’s demand for firewood and timber materials. According to the data collected from many years, timber resources consumed in a5 year period varied in each year. Firewood resources were fully consumed by the population, while increase of the rate of timber production in the region is caused by growth of demand in industry. Currently, timber cutting takes place at 7,8019 hectares area; for this, 30 licenses for timber production were issued. An additional 2,092 hectares area is used for hunting purposes. 101 licensed sawmills are registered in the region.
It should be noted that no inventory of the forest resources was conducted in the region.
Minerals: In 2002, assessment made by the Academy of Science of Georgia on the development of mineral resources in the region estimated that the total economic potential of mineral resource complex of Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region was $6.4billion. Value of fuel and energy resources were estimated as $333.2 million; potential of non-ferrous metals and gold deposits - $3 billion; potential of the construction industry materials’ deposits - $2.7 billion; and potential of deposits required for food industry and health care sphere - $324.1 million. Currently 185 licenses are issued for extraction of the mining resources in the region.
There are 4 key deposits of tuff in the region: Anaklia and Churia (Zugdidi Municipality); Nabada (city of Poti); and Otsantsaleshi (Martvili Municipality). In addition, in Zugdidi, Martvili and Tsalenjikha municipalities, there are small tuff occurrences. Aggregate tuff reserves comprise 48 million tons.
There are deposits of non-ferrous metals in the region. Estimated gold resource is 103.7 tons; lead – 300,000 tons; zinc – 370,000 tons; copper – 376,000 tons; cobalt – 6 tons; and silver – 8.4 tons.
In Martvili, Mestia and Chkhorotsku municipalities there are facing stones. Reserves of magmatic rocks comprise 6475 thousand m3 and the economic potential of the deposits is $317 million. There are marble deposits in Mestia Municipality with 2,992 m3 reserves with an economic potential of $441 million. In Mestia, Martvili and Tsalenjikha municipalities, there are facing stone deposits with 1089 thousand m3 reserves with $75 million economic potential. Raw materials of the stone and gravel, limestone deposits, are set in Martvili, Senaki, Chkhorotsku and Tsalenjikha municipalities. Reserves comprise 119162 thousand m3, with an economic potential of $952 millions. Deposits of limestone for lime production are located in Mestia, Senaki, Zugdidi and Tsalenjikha districts. There is clay that is used to make bricks is present in the region, with an economic potential of $249.8 million, as well as the deposits of gypsum and anhydrite with the reserves of 12,584 tons. Barite deposits in the region are not estimated yet.
For effective management and use of Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti minerals, its resources potential, registration of the reserves not evaluated earlier and their complex estimation is a significant challenge. In addition, it should be noted that significant quantities of tuff was extracted at Kolkheti (Colchis) Lowlands requiring proper warehousing, evaluation and disposal.
Added value provided in the region
According to data of 2011, added value provided in the region is GEL 1509.6 million (approximately 7.2% of the total added value produced by the country). Structure of added value of the region is as follows: agriculture – 20%; transport and communications – 17%; services – 13%; industry – 11%; state government – 11%; contribution of the other sectors is no more than 7 per cent.
Structure of the region’s added value (2011)
In 2006-2011, growth of the region’s added value was characterized with the positive dynamics. Aggregate growth was 64.4%, and average annual growth rate was 11.05%. Per capita growth in Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti region is GEL 3,200 , 5.5% less than average rate for the other regions of Georgia (3,300 ) (excluding Tbilisi).
Dynamics of growth of added value produced in the region (2006-11)