From 17 to 19 April CapaCities had its first Support and Advice Meeting in the City of Kutaisi. The three DRM focal points invited the city departments to discuss their contribution to the project. Present were the head of the city administration and the heads of the departments of infrastructure, economic development and architecture/spatial planning. The focal points introduced the objectives and approach of the project. The Core Team of CapaCities presented the basics for mainstreaming DRM into spatial planning. The group discussed the main risks of Kutaisi, their potential impact and the relevance for spatial planning. As an example, the rehabilitation of the Rioni River bank was discussed. In this project rehabilitation of cultural heritage, the development of tourism and preventive measures against flood will go hand in hand. The attendants agreed to involve their respective city departments in the local working group that will coordinate the local DRM actions of the CapaCities project.
The focal points and Core Team partners also met with the Mayor of Kutaisi. He promised full cooperation and political support. Important will be to integrate the project’s results in the city’s urban plan that is currently under development.
Furthermore, the regional headquarters of the Emergency Management Service was visited. The head was enthusiastic to cooperate in the project. It is considered a great incentive that Kutaisi City has decided to improve its DRM capacities. The Emergency Management Service can contribute with risk information and knowledge of prevention planning. The service is also very active in fire safety checks of buildings, one of the main issues for Kutaisi.
Large part of the SAM meeting was used to discuss the needs and expectations of the three focal points. Together, the focal points and the Core Team used the meetings to perform a stakeholder assessment in order to select partners for the inner circle (local working group) and outer circle. It was agreed to use the international LES meeting in Kutaisi, end of May, to sensitize the local stakeholders. To this end, they will be invited to participate in two field visits, to the Rioni River bank and the development location of the new technical university in the forest. These will be good examples to explain the importance of early involvement of risk-concerns in urban planning.