Development of international networking requires a balanced approach to match national needs and capacities with the regional and global interests of the country. Cooperation with Caucasian neighbors has already taken place to a certain extent in the past (in the field of hydrometeorology, for example), but these ties have to be strengthened and updated to deal with transitional circumstances. Cooperation with other CIS countries within the framework of the IEC could improve the traditional connections with former Soviet republics. At the same time relations with traditional partners have to be matched with newly established regional cooperative programs, like the BSEP, and regional activities should comply with global trends as formulated by UNDP and other UN-wide programs.
The Georgian Ministry of Environmental Protection participates in a number of international miltilateral and bilateral environmental programs. Negotiations on bilateral agreements in the field of the environment are going on with Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Turkey and Greece.
Georgia joined the Intergovernmental Environmental Council (IEC) of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to coordinate activities in the field of the environment with other CIS countries. The agreement relating to the establishment of the IEC was signed on February 8, 1992 in Moscow, but Georgia joined later (September 9, 1994). IEC activities are to be financed by the Inter-governmental Environmental Fund, and Georgia also supported its establishment.
The IEC and UNDP signed a cooperative agreement on August 15, 1994, which includes the support from the UNDP side in creating environmental information systems, mutual exchange of information and user information support in member countries of the IEC.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection actively participates in the Black Sea Environmental Program (BSEP of GEF), established in September, 1993 by 6 littoral countries. From the Georgian side the Deputy Minister - Mr.M.Sharabidze is the National Coordinator of the BSEP Steering Committeee.
The EU TACIS (Technical Assistance for CIS) Program cooperates with the Ministry through the regional Black Sea Environmental Program. This cooperation mainly concentrates on the following issues:
The UN ECE - international responsibilities include the elaboration of recommendations for Environment Europe. One of the Deputy Ministers (Mr. M. Sharabidze) is a member of its Environmental Committee. The Working Groups of the UN ECE cover activities connected with problems of water bodies, economics and environment, management of chemical substances, etc.
The OECD and its Environmental Working Group focuses on Eastern and Central Europe. Georgia also participates in the activities of the Working Group. The main topic of this cooperation between the Ministry and OECD is the influence of industrial activities on the state of the environment.
Georgia cooperates with researchers from other Black Sea littoral countries in the development of a common oceanographic database in all the Black Sea countries under the project "Ecosystem Modeling as a Management Tool for the Black Sea", a part of the NATO Science for Stability (NATO SfS) Program.