Programme Implementation Unit

The actual implementation of the SPPA-Georgia rests with the Programme Implementation Unit (PIU) which has been established by the consultant at the launch of the project. The task of the PIU implies coordination, administration and realisation of the programme activities, experts and partner agencies, quality assurance of input, dealing with financial matters and reporting to MoENRP and KFW.


GFA Consulting Group

GFA Consulting Group GmbH (GFA) is a leading partner in the consultant’s consortium. It is leading German consulting company in the field of natural resource management and rural development, inter alia in Central and Eastern Europe. Founded in 1982, GFA has since then carried out more than 3,000 studies and projects in over 130 countries and provides highly qualified staff with proven experience in the elaboration of feasibility studies and project implementation.

GFA’s expertise covers a comprehensive range of services including the following core competences in the area of protected area development and rural development in the surroundings of protected areas:

  • Modern nature conservation strategies and protected area concepts
  • Communal land use management and participatory land use planning
  • Sustainable natural resource management in forest, grassland and wetland ecosystems
  • Biodiversity assessment, ecosystem surveys and inventories in different ecosystems
  • Remote sensing and GIS applications
  • Institutional development and capacity building
  • Environmental policy consultancy services
  • In-depth knowledge and practical experience in project identification and design considering the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI)
  • Elaboration of land use and socio economic baseline and feasibility studies in multi-disciplinary teams
  • Design of tailor-made financial solutions for nature conservation projects
  • Participatory buffer and support zone management integrating communities in socio-economic development measures
  • Rural development measures  and support to rural finance 


With long-standing experience of project management for development cooperation, GFA continuously ensures control of the quality of all the programme’s outputs, and also provides conceptual, organisational and teambuilding support as well as support to disposition fund management. Based in Hamburg, the GFA assigned Programme Director conducts regular backstopping missions to Georgia to provide on-site support, meet APA and PA representatives, hold discussions with the donor and partners.



The Biological Farming Association ELKANA is a non-governmental Georgian organisation founded in August 1994 and currently uniting more than 600 people – individual farmers, farmer groups, unions and business entities – under its association membership. Since 1996 ELKANA is a member of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). ELKANA aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of the rural population of Georgia and to ensure environmental protection through fostering the development of sustainable & organic farming and increasing the self-reliance of the rural population. The organisation’s core competences and programme activities in Georgia are highly relevant for the “Support Programme for Protected Areas” and can be summarized as follows:

  • Sustainable & organic farming extension service: including organisation of trainings and thematic seminars
  • Organic market promotion: including consultations on business planning and marketing issues / Product and market-chain development
  • Conservation and sustainable use of agricultural diversity
  • Community mobilisation and development of self-help processes in rural areas: including PLA methodology / Work with local authorities and community initiative groups / micro projects / Training for active community members in community mobilization and project writing
  • Rural tourism development and the valorization of traditional food and wine production & processing
  • Raising public awareness on the importance of sustainable & organic farming and of traditional varieties
  • Advocacy and lobbying for the rights of organic farmers’: including preparing thematic publications, Elkana magazine and brochures / Organising specialised events / Lobbying the Parliament of Georgia, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant state agencies 


SABUKO Society for Nature Conservation (former Bird Conservation Georgia)

SABUKO Society for Nature Conservation (former Bird Conservation Georgia) was created in 2013 as a merger of the Batumi Raptor Count (BRC) and the Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife (GCCW) as a non-for-profit, non-political, non-governmental organisation. SABUKO continues the mission of BRC focusing on conservation of birds and their habitats and GCCW’s mission to encourage biodiversity conservation activities in Georgia. BCG’s aim is to advance the protection of birds and their habitats in Georgia, to increase the valuation of nature by the public and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources. SABUKO operates through three main programmatic directions to achieve the stated mission and long-term goal of biodiversity conservation in Georgia: 1) Species Conservation; 2) Sites Conservation; and 3) Public Awareness and Environmental Education.

SABUKO’s core competences can be summarized as follows:

  • Biodiversity conservation in Georgia, focused on protection of globally and nationally endangered bird species and their habitats
  • Monitoring of wildlife species, habitat quality and ecosystem processes in IBAs, including assistance to protected areas in biodiversity monitoring capacity building
  • Biodiversity Information Management
  • Via identification, delineation and protection of IBAs, support the establishment and enlargement processes of Protected Areas to ensure legal protection of all IBAs
  • Protection of wetland ecosystems (including riparian forests), mountain ecosystems (including mountain forests and alpine zones), semi-arid ecosystems and insurance of a sustainably use.
  • Studies, awareness raising and educational activities
  • Capacity building of government, non-government and community based organizations
  • Eco-tourism development and marketing
  • Promotion of transboundary cooperation for biodiversity conservation with neighbouring countries of Georgia
  • Policy and advocacy in the area of biodiversity and protected areas


The backstoppers of ELKANA and SABUKO are knowledgeable in socio-economic development in rural areas and PA development and nature conservation respectively. Additionally they bring in the important in-depth knowledge and experience on specifics according to the history and culture of Georgia.


Formed by the consortium partners GFA Consulting Group, ELKANA and SABUKO, the PIU team based in Tbilisi comprises:



Chief Technical Advisor – Ramaz Gokhelashvili





Ekaterine KakabadzeNational Coordinator – Ekaterine Kakabadze







nana kartvelishvili (2).jpg

Socioeconomic Programme Manager (Rural development and tourism) - Nana Kartvelishvili







Procurement Specialist – Nino Koberidze

Accountant – Maka Koiava

Administrative Assistant / Translator – Sofia Tvaradze


The PIU is regularly assisted by international (see below) and national experts fulfilling required short-term assignments in various Programme outcome areas:

Conservation Finance Expert – Barry Spergel

PA Finance Expert – Marlon Flores

PA Management – Günther Loiskandl

Socio-economic Development – Steffen Schülein

Monitoring – Tilman Dieterich