Georgia hosts international forum on supporting local agribusiness and promoting rural development
On 13–14 June, the Bolnisi Municipality of Georgia hosted an international forum bringing together rural development actors from Georgia and other countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood region.
The event was attended by around 150 participants representing national and local governments, civil society, business and microfinance organisations from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
They shared their experience and perspectives on challenges and opportunities for local rural economy development, with a primary focus on the role of local administrations in supporting agricultural businesses.
The event was co-organised by the Bolnisi Municipality and the Mayors for Economic Growth Secretariat.
Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) is an initiative of the European Union, established in 2017 to support mayors and municipalities of the Eastern partner countries to become active facilitators for economic growth and job creation at local level.
Switzerland and Georgia strengthen cooperation in the field of migration
Switzerland and Georgia are strengthening their respective efforts to tackle irregular migration. State Secretary Mario Gattiker and Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri signed a joint declaration in Tbilisi on 16 September. Since 2018 Georgia is 5th on the list of countries of origin for asylum applications in Switzerland.However, Georgian nationals have almost no chance of being granted asylum in Switzerland. To resolve the challenge related to unfounded asylum applications, Switzerland and Georgia have implemented different measures andare closely collaborating in the field of migration.
On Monday, 16 September, State Secretary Mario Gattiker and Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri signed a joint declaration aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two countries in tackling irregular migration. Since Georgian citizens are exempted from the visa requirement for the Schengen area, Switzerland has registered a sharp increase in unfounded asylum applications from Georgia (+87% in 2018 compared to 2016).
These applications have almost no chance of being accepted (refugee status recognition rate:0%). Moreover, certain persons lodging applications for asylum suffer from severe medical issues requiring urgent care, which complicates the return process.Since the visa liberalization, Switzerland has called on Georgia to take appropriate measures.On its side, Switzerland pursues a swift and consistent policy of return to the country of origin.
To address this phenomenon,Switzerland has, in collaboration with Georgia, put in place a number of measures. A process of cooperation has been established in May of this year between the State Secretariat for Migration,the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi and the Georgian Health Ministry,to enable the swift processing of asylum applications by Georgian nationals suffering from complex health issues. This cooperation process helps to swiftly identify the possibility of medical treatment in Georgia and consequently assess the person’s return. In that regard, after the talks with the Ministry of Health, Mario Gattiker visited an intensive care oncology unit at a hospital in the capital to see for himself the level of care in treating cancer patients.
Moreover, Switzerland and Georgia are committed to tightening border controls. In June, Switzerland seconded an official to the airport at Kutaisi (second largest city)for a month to support the local authorities in their tasks and to provide additional technical assistance on border controls at departure within the framework of Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
On28 August, the Federal Council decided to add Georgia to the list of ‘safe countries’. As of 1 October 2019, Georgia will join the list of countries to which the return of asylum seekers whose applications have been denied is considered reasonable.
The State Secretary’s visit to Georgia was rounded off with talks with the Minister of Justice, Tea Tsulukiani, a further meeting is planned with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani.
In response to the rise of asylum applications from Georgian nationals, Switzerland and Georgia had already taken measures in 2018, but these had limited impact. In particular, Switzerland has strengthened protection at external borders and imposed entry bans in cases where the asylum claim was clearly unfounded. For its part, Georgia has made efforts to strengthen borders controls and has conducted several information campaigns on the rights and obligations of visa-travel in the Schengen area. Finally, Georgia has tightened its criminal code to combat irregular migration.
INGO-Led Peace Summit Held in Georgia to Build International Framework for Peace
In this September, the “2019 HWPL World Peace Summit” was held in over 110 locations of 200 countries in cooperation between an international peace NGO named HWPL, government officials, and the global civil society worldwide. In Tbilisi of Georgia citizens from various social stratum gathered to call for a legislation of an international law for peace.
On September 9th, the event was also held in Tbilisi, under the theme of the “Legislate Peace (LP)" - Implementation of the DPCW for Sustainable Development”. About 20 participants including Vakhtang Bolotashvili from the Civil Movement, Elbrus Mammadov, the chairman of Human Rights Monitoring Group of National, Giorgi Jashiashili, the president of European Youth Organization. The participants joined the “Peace Letter Campaign”, as a part of the “LP” project which was held in 200 places of 110 countries and “LP” urges the head of state to support the establishment of international law for peace based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
DPCW is a document that specified the roles of international society to prevent and resolve conflicts around the world and currently in the process of being introduced to the UN as a draft resolution. Around 1.5 million citizens from 195 countries have taken part in the LP project by writing support letters and collecting support signatures.
Responses from leaders including the Presidents of USA, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, and Prime Ministers of Canada and North Macedonia have shown the support for the DPCW advocated by citizens in each country
There also was a time for case presentation by Tamar Lolishvili, an English teacher from Gymnasium AIA-GESSof Peace Education which is being practiced in accordance with the 10th article of DPCW, ‘Spread a Culture of Peace’ Choosing peace education is about creative problem solving, carefully understanding the problem itself and its various dimensions, and adopting new ways of thinking, perceiving and handling situations.”“Virtual Peace Camp invites children to think about what peace means to them and where they feel peaceful. The activities encourage children to think about what they can do to build peace, helping to develop interpersonal peace. The project also encourages children to think critically about war and to explore its human cost; they will learn about how children – so often the innocent victims of war – can work together for peace.
The host organization, HWPL, is an international NGO associated with UN DGC and in consultative status with UN ECOSOC. ‘9.18 HWPL World Peace Summit’ was annually held since 2014 and is a field of opportunity where figures from politics, religions, media, youth and women gather and discuss on peace.
PACE co-rapporteurs to make monitoring visit to Georgia
Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC) and Claude Kern (France, ADLE), co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of obligations and commitments by Georgia, will make a fact-finding visit to the country from 17 to 18 September 2019.
Discussions will mainly focus on recent political developments, the independence of the judiciary, the judicial reform, the functioning of the High Council of Justice, and the organisation of elections.
In Tbilisi, Mr Corlatean and Mr Kern are due to meet, in particular, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs, as well as the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality. Talks are also scheduled with various parliamentary committees, the political groups represented in Parliament, and the Georgian delegation to PACE.
The co-rapporteurs will also meet the Chair of the Central Election Commission, representatives of the judicial authorities, the Public Defender, and representatives of the diplomatic community and NGOs.
Bilateral documents are signed at Turkmen – Singapore business forum
Bilateral documents signing ceremony was held during Turkmen – Singapore business forum.
The following documents have been signed:
The Agreement on Cooperation between the State Bank of Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan and Bank Association of Singapore and the Agreement on Cooperation between the State Bank of Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan and DBS Bank Ltd. (Development Bank of Singapore);
Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of textile Industry and Indorama Corporation Pte. Ltd.;
In addition, Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Trade and Industrial Chamber of Turkmenistan and Singapore Business Federation. The Memorandum of Understanding between Turkmen State Institute of Economics and Management and the Institute of Management Development of Singapore has also been signed.
The same document was signed by the Ministry of Industry and Communication of Turkmenistan and Singapore Company Pacific International Lines Pte. Ltd, which have agreed on cooperation in transport and logistics.
Two Memoranda of Understanding was signed by the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan with Vallianz Holdings and Sun Connect Pte. Ltd.
The second part of business forum was dedicated to industrial complex and transport sphere of Turkmenistan and to cooperation in these sections including with participation of business communities.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
President of Turkmenistan calls for ‘green diplomacy’ for the Caspian Sea
Speaking at the International Conference “The Caspian Sea: in the interest of developing international economic cooperation”, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted the special role of science in maintaining the ecological balance of the Caspian Sea, the unique biodiversity of the sea.
“It means that all economic projects in the Caspian Sea basin should be carried out on the basis of high international environmental standards”, the Turkmen leader said.
“We are going to create a new Caspian environmental programme as a set of environmental measures aimed at the conservation and efficient use of the rich natural resources of the Caspian Sea.
“At the same time, this Programme could monitor the environmental situation in the Caspian Sea and give relevant recommendations to the governments of the littoral states.
“Turkmenistan is ready to consider this issue with all interested partners. At the same time, we hope for the full support of the UN and, first of all, its specialized environmental institutions.
“We strongly believe that ecology cannot become a hostage of economic and commercial benefits. This is a principled and responsible position that our country has consistently supported from the rostrum of the most respected international organizations and strictly followed, when developing national plans”, emphasized the Turkmen leader.
In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan called for the establishment of effective channels of ‘green diplomacy’ for the Caspian Sea with participation of international agencies, environmental centers and the media.
“Speaking about the future of the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan considers it in the context of the future of the entire planet and correlates its work with the activities of the United Nations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
“We see the Caspian Sea, both in geographical and socio-economic terms, as one of the directions of the UN Strategy until 2030. Sustainability of the economy, energy security, environmental balance are the main framework of the common Caspian home”, emphasized the Turkmen leader.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan