International Year of Soils in Georgia
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Swiss Cooperation Office in the South Caucasus and Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia and Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia join hands to celebrate the International Year of Soils in Georgia with a conference in Kachreti on 16 November 2015.
The event will summarise an information campaign launched last summer to promote sustainable land use and managements practices in Georgia and support soil related education in professional colleges and agriculture extension centres.
The conference will bring together representatives of the Georgian Government, farmers associations, researchers and scientists, non-governmental and international organizations, as well as farmers from different regions of Georgia who took part in the Soil Year activities.
Shombi Sharp, Deputy Head of UNDP in Georgia; Olivier Bürki, Regional Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus; David Galegashvili, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Georgia; and Teimuraz Murgulia, Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, will address the participants at an opening session.
The conference will focus on the pressing economic and environmental issues related to sustainable soil management, including for soil productivity and degradation, biological agriculture and soil protection. Discussions will be blended with practical demonstration of soil protection solutions at the demonstration plots of the Kachreti professional college “Aisi”.
Journalists are invited to attend:
Monday, 16 November 2015, 11:00, Hotel “Ambassadori”, Kachreti.
For those travelling from Tbilisi, transportation will be provided at #7 Mtskheta str., 09:30.
About the International Year of Soils: The UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils (IYS) and nominated the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to implement the IYS 2015, within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership and in collaboration with Governments and the secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. The International Year of Soils 2015 aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions.
Switzerland launches Cooperation Programme for the South Caucasus 2022-2025
On 19 May 2022, H.E. Heidi Grau, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia, and Danielle Meuwly, Regional Director of Cooperation, presented a new Swiss Cooperation Programme for the South Caucasus 2022-2025. The Programme is a flagship document which defines the key priority areas of Swiss engagement for the period of 2022-2025. The event brought together the representatives of the Government, international and national partners and implementing agencies.
Switzerland, through its Cooperation Office in the South Caucasus with the regional office in Tbilisi, will implement the regional Cooperation Programme in the course of four years, 2022-2025. The focus of the Swiss engagement will be on four key areas: 1) promoting civic engagement and cooperation in the region, 2) strengthening democracy and public institutions, 3) improving economic development and creation of decent jobs, and 4) strengthening climate resilience and sustainable resource management. Gender equality and good governance will be considered in all relevant projects.
Switzerland is currently supporting more than 20 projects most of which kicked off within the framework of the previous Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2017-2021. At the end of 2021, as a result of Swiss-funded projects, more than 150’000 beneficiaries received additional incomes from agriculture, which amounted to about USD 34 million. Digital infrastructure was created in 63 municipalities, making digital public services available for about 1.5 million residents. Important analytical work on gender impact assessments and gender pay gap was undertaken to promote gender equality, for example.
The new Cooperation Programme 2022-2025 will build on past achievements and continue to make an effective contribution to the country's development pathways by initiating new projects in priority areas. In Georgia, Switzerland will continue strengthening the country’s economy by providing support to the agriculture sector, focusing on rural SMEs, women’s economic development in rural areas and vocational education and training related to agriculture. Governance, including migration, and local economic development will remain key areas of Swiss intervention. The Programme will also continue to pursue better climate adaptation and natural resource management focusing on forestry. Apart from these thematic focuses, Switzerland will further engage in conflict prevention, peace promotion, and strengthen human rights. It will also finance small initiatives by local NGOs on topics such as gender equality, environment and climate change, inclusiveness and digitalization. Moreover, Switzerland will support the local Georgian art scene by financing cultural projects, as part of a regional art and culture program. The overall budget for Georgia amounts to CHF 34 million.
Swiss engagement in the South Caucasus dates back to 1988 and has expanded ever since through strong bilateral interventions in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The regional Cooperation Office in Tbilisi was opened in 1996. The overall Swiss investment in development cooperation in the region has so far amounted to CHF 200 million.
Embassy of Switzerland in Georgia
Turkmenistan makes another step forward in global climate action
The Government of Turkmenistan approved the updated Nationally Determined Contributions for the submission to the Council of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to enhance its climate ambition in accordance with the recommendations set out in Article 4.4 of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of Turkmenistan demonstrates the country's ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the commitments under the Paris Agreement and in support of global efforts to tackle climate change.
This strategic national document in the field of climate change, developed by the Government of Turkmenistan in close collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), sets out a plan to prevent dangerous climate change, with the long-term goal of keeping average global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and attempting to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The planned reduction of emissions in the new NDC is a confirmation of the ambitious goal of Turkmenistan, which intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030. This goal remains the highest of all possible ambitions that Turkmenistan can achieve by implementing measures to reduce GHG emissions in such sectors as energy, transport, agriculture, industrial processes, and product use (IPPU), waste, as well as by using co-mitigation benefits from adaptation measures to climate change.
The UNDP Country Office supported the development of updated NDC and will make its efforts to achieve the goals set out in the presented NDC and its national priorities for the implementation of integrated low-carbon and climate-resilient solutions to join the global efforts on saving the planet.
“The adoption of the Nationally Determined Contributions by Turkmenistan demonstrates country's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement,” – noted Ms. Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan. “UNDP stands ready to continue providing global expertise and technical support to ensure effective implementation of country’s NDCs to address the challenges of climate change”.
NDC stands for Nationally Determined Contributions and represent the targets that each country has set to join the global efforts in tackling climate change, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and plans to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.
These targets were established following the Paris Agreement on Climate Change - the first legally binding international treaty on climate change, which was signed by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris on 12 December, 2015 and entered into force on 4 November, 2016.
Every five years, countries submit new and more ambitious targets, playing their part in helping the world achieve global goals.
The first NDC of Turkmenistan was submitted to the UNFCCC in October 2016.
Turkmenistan ratified the UNFCCC in 1995 and the Paris Agreement in 2016 and actively takes part in international efforts to combat climate change.
Public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia are changing, yet the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge
The United Nations and the Government of Sweden unveil research on human rights, legal protection and public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community in Georgia
TBILISI. 6 May 2022 – The LGBTQI people remain one of the least protected and most marginalized social groups in Georgia. They face discrimination and violence, while the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge. Yet, recent research reveals that negative public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community have been decreasing in the last five years.
A series of studies were conducted by Georgia’s Public Defender’s Office and the non-governmental organization ‘Women’s Initiatives Support Group’ (WISG) with assistance from the Government of Sweden and the United Nations through its three agencies – UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The research reviews international standards in protecting LGBTQI rights and Georgia’s commitments in this area. It analyses the legal environment and widespread practices and examines public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia. The research also includes recommendations for specific state agencies.
The research findings point out positive changes in public attitudes in the last five years. Since 2016, the number of respondents who think that the LGBTQI community is interested in propaganda, and not in achieving equality, has decreased by 20.6 percent (55.9 percent in 2021 compared to almost 78 percent in 2016). The number of people with an extremely negative attitude toward the LGBTQI community and its human rights defenders dropped by around 20 percent and now hovers around 56 percent.
However, the research also captures the negative perception of the LGBTQI community in Georgia’s society. 48.2 percent of the respondents believe that LGBTQI people are fighting for privileges. 39.5 percent are convinced that the rights of the LGBTQI community are fully protected. At the same time, 38.6 percent note inadequate state response to the acts of violence and discrimination faced by the LGBTQI people.
The research was conducted under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, a Sweden-funded initiative implemented by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA. Its reports are available on the UNDP website
UNDP and national partners discuss the Constitution of Turkmenistan in the context of ensuring human rights and freedoms
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Turkmenistan convened a workshop in a hybrid format on the Constitution of Turkmenistan as the guarantor of human rights and freedoms. The event gathered representatives of a number of government agencies including Milli Gengesh, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prosecutor`s Office, Judicial system, as well as civil society organizations from Mary, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap velayats and Ashgabat city.
This workshop dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Constitution Day of Turkmenistan and 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan's membership in the United Nations is organized in the framework of the three-year UNDP project: "Assistance in the realization of the National Action Plan of Turkmenistan in the field of human rights for 2021-2025" implemented jointly with the Institute of State, Law, and Democracy of Turkmenistan.
“I would especially like to emphasize that the Constitution of Turkmenistan - the supreme law of the country contains the fundamental principles and concepts of human rights reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” - noted during the meeting Mr. Rovshen Nurmuhammedov, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative in Turkmenistan.
The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the importance of the Constitution for the protection, observance and promotion of human rights, and effective public administration using national and international mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights. During the workshop speakers also presented an overview of modern trends and concepts of human rights education and the role of public associations in ensuring human rights in Turkmenistan. The objectives of the workshop will contribute to the efforts of the country to comply with its international human rights obligations and implementing recommendations of human rights treaty bodies, including the recommendations of the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) within the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Armenia-Azerbaijan: leaders meet President Michel and agree to work towards peace treaty
European Council President Charles Michel yesterday hosted the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, for a continuation of their discussions on the situation in the South Caucasus region and the development of EU relations with both countries.
President Michel reiterated the EU’s commitment to deepen its cooperation with Armenia and Azerbaijan to work closely in overcoming tensions and promote a South Caucasus that is secure, stable, peaceful and prosperous for the benefit of all people living in the region.
The leaders took stock of developments since their last meeting in Brussels in December 2021 and their videoconference, together with President Macron, in February 2022. They reviewed progress on the implementation of undertaken commitments and discussed recent tensions.
President Michel emphasised the importance of humanitarian gestures by both sides to promote confidence and peaceful coexistence. He stressed the need for the full and speedy resolution of all outstanding humanitarian issues, including the release of remaining detainees and comprehensively addressing the issue of missing persons, and stated that the EU is ready to support this endeavour. The EU will likewise continue to support confidence building measures between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as humanitarian de-mining efforts, including by continuing to provide expert advice and stepping up financial assistance, and assistance to conflict-affected populations, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
President Michel noted both President Aliyev’s and Prime Minister Pashinyan’s stated desire to move rapidly towards a peace agreement between their countries. To this end, it was agreed to instruct Ministers of Foreign Affairs to work on the preparation of a future peace treaty, which would address all necessary issues.
The delimitation and demarcation of their bilateral border will be essential; to this end, it was also agreed to convene a Joint Border Commission by the end of April, with a mandate to:
- delimit the bilateral border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and
- ensure a stable security situation along, and in the vicinity of, the borderline.
The leaders also discussed the restoration of communications/connectivity infrastructure between Armenia and Azerbaijan in particular and in the South Caucasus more broadly. President Michel welcomed the steps towards the restoration of railway lines, while encouraging Armenia and Azerbaijan to also find effective solutions for the restoration of road links. The EU is ready to support the development of connectivity links, including in line with its Economic and Investment Plan and by utilising the proposed economic advisory forum to identify common projects.
The leaders agreed to follow-up on outcomes of their meeting and to stay engaged.