A delegation from the Georgian Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands World Heritage Site met with representatives of the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat and the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea National Park Authority on 7 December in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. The 19 site managers came from four nature reserves and national parks that make up the World Heritage Site. They were particularly interested in the management of human activities in the Wadden Sea, especially the newly developed SIMP, as they too face the challenges of harmonized management between different areas, as well as the assessment of conservation status for reporting to the World Heritage Centre. Further topics of interest were sustainable tourism and engagement of local partners.
The Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands comprise parts of the Colchis Lowland along some 80 km of western Georgia's Black Sea coastline. It contains a wide array of ancient rainforest and wetland ecosystems, harbouring many threatened and endangered species and plants. It is a key stopover for many globally threatened birds that migrate through the Batumi bottleneck. The nature site was inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 2021 for ecological and biological processes (criterion ix) as well as biodiversity (criterion x) – two of the three criteria for which the Wadden Sea was designated.
The delegation also visited the World Heritage Visitor Centres in Cuxhaven and Wilhelmshaven.
The visit was supported by the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit” (GIZ) and the UNESCO World Heritage Sustainable Tourism Programme.