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UNECE evaluation supports Tbilisi, Georgia, for smart and sustainable development

UNECE evaluation supports Tbilisi, Georgia, for smart and sustainable development


According to the UNECE Smart Sustainable Cities profile for Tbilisi, presented today in the capital of Georgia, the city has made important efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, capitalizing on the growth opportunities generated by the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union (EU). The Profile notes, however, the need for strengthened measures in areas including water and waste management, mobility, housing, and governance.  

The City Profile was developed by UNECE in close collaboration with the government of the city, whose 1.2 million people make up around one third of the country’s population.  

While limited data availability did not allow evaluation of Tbilisi’s performance against all Key Performance Indictors (KPIs) for Smart Sustainable Cities (SSC) that were used as a basis for review, the results of the initial assessment show the city scoring:  

  • Strong performance in the areas of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure (93 per cent of households have access to the internet), and water and sanitation (all households have access to water and 97% to basic sanitation facilities)   

  • Moderate to high performance in higher education attainment, with 35,394 higher-level education degrees per 100,000 inhabitants 

  • Moderate performance in culture (public expenditure on cultural heritage amounts to 6% of the city’s budget), safety, transport, employment, housing and social inclusion (around 14.47% of the inhabitants were living below the poverty line in 2021). 

  • Low performance in electricity supply, due to the high incidence of system outage. 

The City Profile found that the city was able to bounce back from the COVID-19-induced economic crisis. However, its recovery remains fragile owing to the rising energy prices in the wake of the war in Ukraine. The analysis of the national and city-specific policy and institutional set-up underpinning Tbilisi’s urban development suggests that building on the city’s progress across the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development requires targeted interventions in the following areas:  

  • Urban governance and policy, including engagement and consultation with city inhabitants 

  • Urban mobility  

  • Housing  

  • Green and open space  

  • Water management, and disaster risk management  

  • Waste management.  

The City Profile finds that ensuring the successful implementation of these targeted interventions requires improving:  

  • The overall urban policy and governance framework 

  • The national quality system underpinning construction and urban infrastructure  

  • The national and local monitoring and evaluation framework for strategic planning.  

The Tbilisi City Profile provides action-oriented recommendations for upscaling efforts under each area. The recommendations were developed in consultation with the local and national authorities and will inform the work of UNECE in support of Tbilisi’s efforts to realize its ambitious vision to be a smart sustainable city. 

To help cities to promote sustainable urban development, in 2015, UNECE and ITU established the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative which now gathers 16 UN agencies and programmes and elaborated a system of Key Performance Indicators for smart sustainable cities (KPIs4SSC) to evaluate cities progress to becoming smart and sustainable. The KPIs are closely linked to the SDG indicators of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and therefore also allow to review the achievement of the SDGs at the local level. 

The City Profile was developed in 2022-2023 using the evaluation of the city’s economic and social development and environmental performance using the KPIs4SSC. The development of the city profile was supported by the UN Development Account project “Smart Sustainable Cities for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda in the UNECE Region”; the project is aimed at building the capacities of local and national governments to produce evidence to feed into the evidence-based policy making process at all levels. As part of this project smart sustainable cities profiles were developed for the cities of Astana, Kazakhstan; Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and Podgorica, Montenegro.  

Countries: Georgia