EU supports information campaign in Georgia for EU Sustainable Energy Week 2020
On 22 June, the EU Delegation to Georgia launched the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) campaign. The campaign consists of tips for citizens on saving energy and money, caring about the environment and making their homes more energy efficient.
This year, the EUSEW will run from 22 to 26 June. The event will be held virtually, and the topic will be Beyond the crisis: Clean energy for green recovery and growth.
The EUSEW is the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe. It is organised by the European Commission and brings together public authorities, private companies, non-government organisations and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power.
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EU4Energy High Level Policy Talk tackles implementation of the Law on Energy and Water Supply in Georgia
On 23 September, EU4Energy Governance hosted online a high-level policy discussion and technical meeting to take stock of the current status and to facilitate the implementation of the Law on Energy and Water Supply and related legal acts and market reforms. The event participants heard interventions from Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development David Tvalabeishvili, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat Janez Kopač, representatives of the EU Delegation to Georgia, the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission, the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation, the Georgian Gas Transportation Company and the Georgian Energy Exchange.
With the adoption of the Law on Energy and Water Supply in December 2019, a clear path towards the development of the energy sector in line with European principles was set, outlining the specific requirements for the development of a competitive energy market. A number of secondary legal acts, which should put market principles envisaged under the law into practice, are yet to be adopted.
In the gas sector, the most important next steps are the approval of the natural gas market concept design by the Government in October 2020, followed by the adoption of natural gas market rules next year. In parallel, the gas incumbent GOGC and distribution companies have to unbundle. An unbundling plan should be presented to the Ministry by the end of 2020, according to the law, and the entire unbundling and certification procedure shall be finalized by the end of 2021, thus ensuring free and transparent third party access to the network. New suppliers entering the Georgian market and competing with existing market participants will improve the quality of service for customers and positively impact price dynamics.
Director Janez Kopač reiterated the importance of speeding up the unbundling process and expressed hopes that the reforms in the area of gas will be implemented with the same high level of commitment by the Georgian authorities, in a timely and proper manner.
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/
Turkmenistan representatives take part in the talks to modernize the Energy Charter Treaty
Representatives of a number of ministries and departments of our country, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Justice, as well as the “Türkmengaz” State Concern take part in the first round of negotiations on the modernization of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), held in videoconference format by the Energy Charter Secretariat in Brussels (Belgium).
Earlier, the states - members of the Energy Charter Conference submitted their proposals for updating the Treaty. During the current meeting of the working group on the modernization of the ECT, the parties continued to discuss the main provisions of the draft of this document.
Among the main topics of discussions are the protection of investments in the energy sector. The meeting participants discussed a wide range of issues, including the role of the Energy Charter Treaty in creating an international investment regime, the specific features of investing in a new transit cross-border energy infrastructure, legal and commercial aspects of regulating partnerships between countries and other participants in energy projects.
In particular, it was underlined the importance of adapting the ECT to the modern requirements of the global energy sector, developing uniform rules that are obligatory for all participants and minimizing the risks associated with financial investments and energy trade.
In this context, it was emphasized the constructive nature of the initiatives put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with the aim to establish a new global architecture of energy security, which today stands as the most important factor in the sustainable development of states, global peace and stability.
Currently, the ECT that unites dozens of countries in Europe and Asia, is the only multilateral agreement that addresses complex political, economic and legal problems associated with energy transit, including through interstate gas pipelines and power lines.
For Turkmenistan, which has initiated a number of major international projects in this area, these issues are of great importance.
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.