The project aims to extend these protected areas and connect them more effectively to the land and people around them. It is urgent work - "This is the only time we have to conserve this heritage. If we delay it will be destroyed."
In a few hours he will leave for the US with a party of Georgian parliamentarians. The US National Parks service has developed a special bond with Georgia - some US parks have become sister parks to those in Georgia. The relationship is a deeply helpful one - "Georgia has no chance to protect its exceptional heritage without international aid," he says.
What is special about Georgia, Paata continues, is the way that the country's antiquity, its long cultural continuity, lives alongside so much untouched nature. Nature and culture are not divided here.
I am reminded of our supra - the traditional Georgian table the night before. Georgians have refined the festive arts, and we had three birthdays to celebrate, for Pat, Russell, and Nana our Georgian hostess. The door bell rang and I opened to a group of four tall men.