The first Emerald network evaluation Seminar was held in Tbilisi on 27-29 May 2015.
The evaluation targeted three South-Caucasus countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It was aimed at assessing how well the Emerald Network already identified on the territories of these countries will perform in achieving its main objective - the long-term survival of species and habitats of European importance.
Although all three countries can be congratulated for the hard work over the past 5 years, they got homework to improve the sufficiency of their Network. The main finding of the Seminar indicates that countries have been the most efficient in selecting Emerald sites for animal species. The percentage of sufficiency and minor insufficiencies of the current Emerald site proposals for animal species is the following:
- Armenia: 37.5%
- Azerbaijan: 58%
- Georgia: 46.7%
The percentage of sufficiency and minor insufficiencies of the current Emerald site proposals for the protection of habitats is much lower. It should however be stressed that during the meeting the discussions among habitats experts from the three countries were very rich. These discussions were necessary for ensuring shared understanding of the European habitats classification in the three countries. More field trips and scientific research are also needed for concluding the presence of some of the specific habitats to be protected through the Emerald Network in the South Caucasus.
The next Emerald evaluation Seminar for these countries will concentrate on bird species, including regularly occurring migrant birds. See you again in Tbilisi in October 2016.