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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


Amidst a rising population, expanded city boundaries and a flourishing tourism industry, the ‘Green Cities: ISTBAR’ project seeks to decouple growth from increased carbon emissions in Georgia’s second-largest city.

The Green Cities: Integrated Sustainable Transport for the City of Batumi and the Ajara Region (ISTBAR) project promotes sustainable urban transport solutions and supports related policymaking at the city, regional, and national levels. Together with the UN Development Programme, Batumi city authorities are implementing the project in the absence of national strategies and policies.


The project is pioneering the study and modelling of local transport demand and emissions, developing comprehensive plans, and piloting solutions based on these to ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The $1.1 million Global Environmental Facility-funded project has created solutions including dedicated bus lanes, renovation and expansion of bike lanes, implementation of low-emissions buses and e-taxis, reorganization of bus networks and establishment of passenger transfer terminals, all pilots for which will be finalized in early 2020. Successful pilots will then be scaled up in Batumi and across other Georgian cities.

The Green Cities: ISTBAR project aims to promote public transport and reduce emissions from the transport sector in Batumi. It is the first city in Georgia to receive official approval for a long-term sustainable urban mobility plan, which will serve to inspire further development within the country (photo by UNDP in Georgia).

The Challenge

Batumi’s transport sector is responsible for 49% of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared to other sectors like buildings, street lighting, municipal solid waste etc. This is largely due to the outdated semi-formal minivans that act as public transport.


Health The project implementation is expected to contribute to air pollution reductions, in particular an estimated 40% reduction in nitrogen monoxide.

Social Improving public transport by making them safer and giving them priority over private cars will contribute to better mobility options for women, who are more likely to use public transport than men.