UNDP and Government of Georgia commit to GEL 6.8 million rural development initiative funded by EU and Government of Adjara
Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, and Otar Danelia, Minister of Agriculture of Georgia signed an agreement to continue assistance to rural development in the country through a GEL 6.8 million project funded by the European Union and the Government of Adjara.
This initiative will assist in the development of a national Rural Development Strategy of Georgia and a specific strategy for the Ajara Autonomous Republic, and support their practical implementation.
95% of the GEL 6.8 Million (Euro 2.63 million) project budget is provided by the European Union and 5% by the Ajara Government.
The two-year initiative is part of the European Union funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) which launched its second phase in Georgia a month ago.
Through ENPARD, the Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia works closely with the European Union, UNDP, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Government of Ajara Autonomous Republic to promote rural development all over the country, and specifically in Ajara, and enhance institutions – respective ministries, national agencies, associations and educational bodies – engaged in this process.
Turkmenistan is convinced of the need to attract political-diplomatic tools to achieve peace and prosperity in Afghanistan
The plenary session of the High-level Conference on Afghanistan, which is being held online in Geneva, took place today.
During the meeting, the heads of foreign affairs agencies of dozens of countries of the world, including Russia, Iran, Switzerland, the USA, as well as the representatives of the UN and its divisions, the European Union and other multilateral structures gave speeches. The event was marked by the addresses of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres.
The participants of the meeting discussed issues of cooperation between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community in achieving common interests: sustainable development, prosperity and peace in Afghanistan. In particular, the development vectors for 2021-2024, partnership coordination, as well as financial support for the Afghan administration were considered. The focus is on the development of a common political statement and financial mechanism for the economic development of this country.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov outlined the position and actions of Turkmenistan aimed at supporting the process of establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan, including its involvement in the global economy.
It was especially emphasized that Turkmenistan is convinced of the need to involve diplomatic and political mechanisms in achieving peace in Afghanistan, which is a solid foundation for the country's socio-economic development.
As an example, R. Meredov cited a number of initiatives of the Government of Turkmenistan aimed at supporting fraternal Afghanistan. This includes the expansion of humanitarian cooperation, and the development and implementation of large regional and international infrastructure projects in the field of energy, transport, communications and much more.
At this meeting, it was noted that Turkmenistan intends to continue to provide assistance to Afghanistan and its people.
Turkmenistan adheres to the multilateral partnership in the format “Central Asia – European Union”
During today’s 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting, the key issues of regional and international agenda were discussed. The Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan noted the active role of Turkmenistan in addressing the global challenges, as well as strengthening multilateral regional and international cooperation.
Thus, the firm commitment of Turkmenistan to the initiatives in the area of energy security, use of ecofriendly energy, expansion of regional and international transport and transit communications was underlined.
The parties expressed interest in the advancement of trade-economic, transport and energy cooperation and agreed to hold the First Economic Forum “EU-Central Asia” in 2021.
The issues of security and stability in the Central Asia and nearby regions were especially regarded. In this regard, the firm adherence of Turkmenistan to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was emphasized. The importance of the Ashgabat Declaration of 2011 and the Central Asia’s Joint Plan of Action to counter terrorism was highlighted.
The participants expressed interest in continuing cooperation between the Central Asia and the EU on combatting terrorism, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, illegal drug trafficking and cyber security threats. In this context, the Turkmen side called for the intensification of partnership in the CA-EU-UN format.
The parties discussed the advancement of intra-Afghan peace talks and underlined the importance of support to the overall reinstatement of Afghanistan. It was noted that Turkmenistan actively works on the promotion of large infrastructural projects with participation of Afghanistan, including the construction of the gas pipeline TAPI, power and fiber-optic communication lines on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, building of the railway lines from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.
The participants of the session welcomed the initiative of the Government of Turkmenistan to host in December of current year in Ashgabat, an International Conference entitled as the “Policy of Neutrality and its Importance in Ensuring International Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development” devoted to the 25th anniversary of permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, as well as to organize an International High-Level Forum in the year of 2021, which has been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Peace and Trust.
The heads of the external policy agencies of the EU and Central Asia welcomed the mutual cooperation on humanitarian issues and discussed the opportunities of widening ties in the area of education, science, culture, technologies and innovations.
The Joint Communiqué was adopted upon the outcomes of the 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting.
EU launches new project to target organised crime in the Eastern Neighbourhood
A new Europol-led project, funded by the European Union, has been launched, focused on strengthening the capacity of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to fight organised crime more effectively. The project will contribute to reducing crime and creating a safer living space for citizens in the region.
Through this four-year initiative, Europol will support cooperation between law enforcement authorities, both on a strategic and operational level. Special funding will enable the Eastern Partner countries to participate in operational activities against some of the ten most significant threats to EU security listed under the EU Policy Cycle. Existing networks for information sharing and operational cooperation may be further extended into joint investigations to improve the effectiveness in fighting transnational organised crime.
“This initiative is an important step in developing strong operational cooperation and trust between the law enforcement authorities of the EU Member States and our Eastern partners,” said Catherine De Bolle, Executive Director of Europol. “Our aligned efforts will bring a stronger response to the common challenges and cross-border threats we face.”
Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East at the European Commission, stated: “Organised crime networks operate across national borders and destabilise the entire region. Tackling serious and organised crime is a shared challenge by the European Union and its partner countries. By strengthening the strategic and operational cooperation between Europol and partner countries, we are proud to contribute to joint investigation successes.”
Located along the Black Sea and forming part of the ‘heroin route’ from the Middle East to Europe, all six Eastern Partner countries are threatened by organised criminal groups active in the area. These groups are involved in migrant smuggling, organised property crime, trafficking in human beings, firearms and drug trafficking, money laundering, and other related crimes such as document fraud. These criminal syndicates threaten not only the safety and security of people, but also the stability of the Eastern Partnership region and of the whole EU. More cooperation between law enforcement authorities of EU Member States and the Eastern Neighbourhood countries is crucial to improving the effectiveness of the common response to organised crime across borders.
As part of a larger €10 million EU cooperation initiative, the EU has dedicated €2.5 million to support the project that will run for the next four years. Two other components are focused on law enforcement training and threat assessment (a project led by Cepol with the participation of Europol) and on criminal asset recovery (managed by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute - UNICRI).
UN and EU launch ambitious initiative for gender equality in Eastern Partnership
With support from the European Union, the two UN sister agencies will work with government bodies and civil society partners in six countries to challenge deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, increase men’s involvement in domestic work and childcare, and engage with potential perpetrators to prevent gender-based violence.
UN Women and UNFPA, together with the European Union (EU), have launched a three-year regional programme to tackle gender stereotypes and gender-based violence in six countries of the Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The programme, entitled “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence,” ultimately seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by challenging perceptions about men’s and women’s roles in the family and in society and working to eliminate gender-based violence.
“This is our first regional programme covering gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and we are intensely proud of it,” said Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission. “We can and we will do more to develop this underused economic and social potential with our Eastern neighbours. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will propose that the future Eastern Partnership be more inclusive.”
A first of its kind, the programme has been informed by an in-depth situation analysis and intergovernmental consultations with the six countries. It is designed to engage a wide range of government bodies, civil society organizations, and individuals.
“We will work closely with governments and civil society organisations in the six countries to ensure the success of the programme,” says Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “This work is even more crucial now as the COVID-19 crisis has put into stark relief the imbalanced distribution of responsibilities based on traditional gender stereotypes.”
The programme aims at achieving real behavioural change. It relies on strategies designed to challenge structural gender barriers and norms, with particular emphasis on transforming gender-stereotyped behaviour, strengthening men’s involvement in parenting and domestic responsibilities, increasing men’s access to parental leave, and reducing the number of people affected by gender-based violence through prevention interventions with potential perpetrators.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, we have unfortunately seen an increase in women’s unpaid care workload and in cases of gender-based violence across the six countries,” says Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Our programme comes at the right time to fight these trends. We all have to work hand-in-hand to build a more just, equal, safe and secure world for all.”
The programme has a budget of €7,875,000 and is anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, launched by the United Nations in 2015, and the EU Action Plan 2016-2020 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women Through EU External Relations. It provides a unique opportunity for the EU and the six participating countries to affect social discourse, perceptions, and practices related to gender equality with the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality and related SDGs.
For more information, please visit: https://europa.eu/european-union/
EU supports Georgia in protecting its coastal waters
On 29 June, a five-day water monitoring survey started in Batumi, Georgia, organised by the EU-funded project ‘European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership’ (EUWI+).
The survey is carried out by Georgian experts from the National Environmental Agency. It aims to assess the quality of coastal and transitional water ecosystems to help identify appropriate measures to protect water resources.
Apart from the survey, the EU also supports the upgrade of Batumi’s laboratory by organising training courses for experts and providing new state-of-the-art analysis equipment. This aims to improve Georgia’s capacities to manage its water resources.
Two similar surveys were held in September and November 2019. The surveys allowed the National Environmental Agency to determine the ecological status of coastal waters in the Chorokhi-Adjaristskali River Basin District.
The EUWI+ project helps Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine to bring their legislation closer to EU water management policies, with a main focus on managing transboundary river basins.