Conference: “Urban Development Challenges of Tbilisi: Dialogue for Effective Policy-Making”

Conference: “Urban Development Challenges of Tbilisi: Dialogue for Effective Policy-Making”

On May 20, the EWMI ACCESS organized a conference dedicated to Tbilisi urban development challenges. The purpose of the event was to support an open dialogue among various stakeholders (policy-makers, CSOs, experts and the donor community) for developing effective and sustainable urban policies for Tbilisi.

Over the past years Tbilisi has been facing a number of long-standing systemic problems, such as: congested roads and disorganized traffic, increasing number of road accidents, and chaotic constructions of multistory buildings causing degradation of the green space. These problems significantly deteriorate the living standards in Tbilisi, inhibit its prospects for sustainable development and pose risks to public health.

6The conference tried to address the following issues: How can the government make Tbilisi’s roads safer? What should be the top priorities for the road safety strategy? Should Tbilisi authorities focus on improving the public transport and reduce demand for the private cars, or should they capitalize on expanding roads and highways? What is the most suitable means of transportation for Tbilisi? How should the seemingly chaotic constructions be addressed? and How is Tbilisi government dealing with these issues right now?

According to the official statistics, death toll as a result of the traffic accidents in Georgia has increased by 6% over the past year. In Tbilisi this rate increased by 44% in 2015, amounting to 16 deaths per 100,000 persons, exceeding similar rate of the European countries as many as four times.  In addition, the insurance and medical costs incurred by various agencies to eliminate results of road accidents amounted to 10 000 000 GEL last year – meaning that  apart from the human loss and damage, unsafe roads and disorganized traffic generate significant financial burden to the state.  Need for a wide scale awareness-raising campaign and stricter regulations are evident.

Tbilisi Government representatives, independent experts and CSO members 12made presentations at the conference, spoke about ongoing projects and discussed solutions to existing problems, considering current social and economic realities.

EWMI ACCESS actively supports Georgian CSOs efforts aimed at increasing transport safety and reducing road accidents in Georgia through issuing grants and organizing policy forums on critical topics. One of the ACCESS-funded projects tries to improve safety of intercity transport through applying internationally practiced approaches. EWMI ACCESS will continue working with stakeholders from government and CSOs on these issues and advocate for safer and more organized roads.

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