Svaneti Field Session



Title: Field Session of the Caucasus Mountain Forum: Sustainable Development of Svaneti Region: Opportunities and Challenges







Place: Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography







Scheduled: July 7, 2023; 17:00 (TBD)

















Prof. Dr. Oliver Reisner


Ilia State University











Session Objectives & Content: The Session seeks to highlight the key challenges faced by residents of Svaneti and offer its possible solutions.The session will primarily focus on topics related to tourism and its positive, as well as negative impact on natural and cultural landscapes. However, other equally important topics such as agriculture and natural hazards will be covered as well.   The session’s primary target audience is the local population, who will be introduced to main challenges and opportunities faced by Svaneti.









Having experienced a rapid increase in tourism over the past few years, Svaneti is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Georgia. While tourism represents one of the major sources of steady income for the local population, contributes to the improvement of infrastructure and opens the door to other economic opportunities, certain issues resulting from increased tourism demand became evident as well.

In order to meet the needs of an increasing number of visitors, as well as to adapt and accommodate modern life, significant changes have been made to both the architectural heritage and the entire cultural landscape in recent years, thus, facing the possibility of losing the UNESCO World Heritage site status for certain settlements.

Growing solid waste is yet another problem related to rapid tourism development. Svaneti lacks efficient systems for collecting and managing waste, thus, challenges and possible solutions for developing new sound waste management practices have yet to be addressed.

Considering its geographical location, the region of Svaneti is especially prone to natural hazards which are even more aggravated by climate change-related processes. Natural disasters especially pose a threat to the local population due to health and safety issues as well as possible damage to infrastructure. Thus, fostering community resilience to natural disasters is one of the key issues to be addressed.














Authorities Mestia Municipality










Natalia Bakhtadze Engländer

Chair of the Board Georgian Ecotourism Association


Tourism trends and potential








Dr. Nato Tsinsabadze, ICOMOS Georgia


Svaneti cultural heritage management








Laurent Fouinat, GRID-Arendal


Waste management in the mountains








Elene Shatberashvili, Biological Farming Association Elkana


Bio-farming potential and agriculture in Svaneti








Prof. Dr. Zurab Javakhishvili, Ilia State University


Natural Hazards in Svaneti