Ambassador K. Degnan spoke at the Renewable Energy Investment Conference

Published in Economics
Thursday, 30 June 2022 16:17

Clean, reliable, and affordable domestic energy production is critical for
Georgia to secure continued economic growth, meet its climate obligations, and
protect its unique environment.
The U.S. Government partners with Georgia to expand clean energy production.
Today, Ambassador Degnan spoke at the Renewable Energy Investment
Conference, organized by the USAID in partnership with the Ministry of Economy
and Sustainable Development. Her comments underscored how investments in
clean and renewable energy generation will help Georgian consumers increase
access to sustainable and affordable energy, reduce reliance on imports from other
countries, and meet Georgia’s climate goals.

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  • Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at the Women in Comprehensive Defense Conference

    Question about the event 

    Ambassador Degnan: This conference is an important opportunity to bring together international and Georgian experts to talk about NATO’s comprehensive defense concept and Georgia’s approach to implementing that concept. Women play a central role in the comprehensive defense concept, and we will be discussing that more in the course of today’s conference. There are many examples in Georgia’s history when women have demonstrated the important role that they play in supporting the defense of their country.

    That goes all the way back to King Tamar and many battles throughout this country where women have been essential in supporting the defense effort. This is just a modern version of that to ensure that the whole of society is prepared, whether it’s for a natural disaster like a flood or an earthquake or some kind of attack or malicious event. So there are many different aspects to NATO’s comprehensive defense concept, and we’ll be exploring those today.

    Question about the European Parliament resolution 

    Ambassador Degnan: The United States is not part of the European Parliament. I can say that we weren’t involved in drafting this resolution. I can say that we also regret the continuing polarization of the political environment here in Georgia, and we would certainly agree with the call for the political stakeholders here to come together and implement ambitious democratic judicial and anti-corruption reforms. This is work that is underway, and it needs to be done in an inclusive fashion. I think Georgia has a very good track record of submitting draft legislation like this to the Venice Commission and other European expert bodies for their feedback on whether it does indeed meet European Union standards. At a time when the next very important step on Georgia’s path to its European future is at hand, candidate status, it seems particularly important and worthwhile to submit draft legislation to the Venice Commission to get their assessment of whether the legislation that’s been prepared is compatible and meets European standards. The United States will continue, as we have for the past 30 years, to support the clear will of the Georgian people to live in a secure, stable, prosperous democracy. That is why we are such strong supporters of the people of Georgia’s aspiration for European Union membership and a Euro-Atlantic future. I would hope that all of Georgia’s political leaders, including the ruling party and the opposition, would come together now and make sure that the work that is being done for candidate status is going to meet European Union standards. This is the moment, and I sincerely hope that Georgia’s leaders will accomplish this goal for the people of Georgia.

    Question about a news report on European Business Association 

    Ambassador Degnan: I don’t know Mr. Lee, and I’m not familiar with the European Business Association, so I really don’t have a comment on this.

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  • USAID and Visa starting a new partnership aiming at supporting SME Development and Strengthening Digital Ecosystem in Georgia

    November 4, 2022, 10:15am, HotelPullmanTbilisi – the USAID Economic Security Program and Visa signed a memorandum of understanding for starting a new partnership aiming at supporting the strengthening of small and medium-sized businesses and the digitization of their activities, inclusive economic growth and extension of digital capabilities and access for citizens.

    As part of the framework of cooperation, the USAID Economic Security Program and Visa will develop and implement joint programs that will focus on digital transformation, enhancement of digital literacy with specific focus on micro and small entrepreneurs, as well as on the economic empowerment of women and the integration of vulnerable groups.

    We are delighted to launch cooperation between the USAID Economic Security Program and Visa to facilitate the strengthening and development of the country’s digital economy. Visa has global and long-standing experience in the digitalization of the economy, economic empowerment of women and support of financial technology and E-Commerce, all of which are also core values of USAID. The partnership will enable Georgian companies to implement smart digital solutions to achieve development goals and connect with the international market,” Mark McCord, Chief of Party of the USAID Economic Security Program said.

    Today we are taking the partnership between Visa and the USAID Economic Security Program to a new level, to drive Georgia to the digital future. The expertise of both Visa and USAID Program will enable us to facilitate the digitalization of the country’s economy. For years Visa has been actively cooperating with the Government of Georgia, banks, financial institutions and donor organizations to assist the country’s advancement in terms of contactless penetrations worldwide. Strong multicultural organizations such as Visa and USAID play significant roles in bringing communities together and making progress, so I truly believe that our cooperation with USAID will contributes to Georgia’s economic advancement and bring value in coordination to your beautiful country, Georgia,“ Salvador Perez-Galindo, Senior Vice President, Head of Government Engagement for Visa CEMEA stated.

    We at Visa are extremely honoured to sign Memorandum of Understanding with USAID Economic Security Program and are looking forward to our fruitful collaboration in various fields. The document envisages four strategic directions, namely women entrepreneurs’ economic empowerment, SME development and digitalization, FinTech and E-Commerce. I truly believe that the deepened partnership would enable us to further support and achieve a long-term positive effect of our mutual work for society,” Diana Kiguradze, Visa Country Manager for the Caucasus region said.

    The partnership between the USAID Economic Security Program and Visa will facilitate the extension of E-Commerce, financial inclusion and transactions, positioning Georgia as a regional hub and a safe place for investment.

    About USAID

    About USAID in Georgia: USAID is the world's premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. Over 30 years of partnership with Georgia, USAID has supported the country’s transformation into a developing democracy that is increasingly integrated into Western political, security, and economic institutions.  Today, more than 35 USAID programs strengthen Georgia's resilience to malign influence, consolidate democratic gains through enhanced citizen responsive governance, and enable high-value employment through increased economic growth.  For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/georgia

    About the USAID Economic Security Program: a 5-year $23 million project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by DAI Global. The program is aimed at accelerating the broad-based growth of sectors outside of agriculture that show strong potential to create jobs, generate investment, and increase micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) revenues. For more information, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/EconSecProgram

    About Visa

    Visa (NYSE: V) is a world leader in digital payments, facilitating payments transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions and government entities across more than 200 countries and territories. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, convenient, reliable and secure payments network, enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere and see access as foundational to the future of money movement. Learn more at Visa.com.ge

  • Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Hub

    Ambassador Degnan: Well, it’s a beautiful day to be here at the Regional Hub, which is a wonderful example of the great partnership between the Peace Corps and the local communities here along the Administrative Boundary Line. There’s a long history here between Peace Corps and the communities here trying to help youth, to support entrepreneurs, and just to improve the quality of life here for the people living along the ABL. This is a really exciting time because we know how much Georgians have missed our Peace Corps volunteers. We’ve missed them a lot too, and we’re looking forward to them coming back very soon, not just here in the Mtskheta area, but throughout Georgia. So, today is a day for us to celebrate that wonderful partnership between Peace Corps volunteers and all they’ve done with their great partners here in the regional hub.

    Question about a letter from former GD MPs about judicial reform 

    Ambassador Degnan: Let me start by saying that for decades we have been working with Georgia on judicial reform, and there has been some very important progress over the course of the last decade in particular, where we’ve seen some good reform efforts. Everyone knows that there is more work to be done there. That has never been an issue of debate, so it’s a little puzzling why there is such resistance now to doing the work that everybody has been saying for a long time: it needs to continue to improve Georgia’s judiciary, to make sure that it truly is independent, impartial, autonomous, and responsive to the public. In this case, it is baffling to me why there is a question about the kind of consultation that has been ongoing, not just with the United States, but with other legal experts, domestic and international, for decades on judicial reform. That consultative process has resulted in improvements in Georgia’s judiciary. There is more to be done, and that includes commitments that the Georgia’s political leaders across the political spectrum have already agreed to multiple times over multiple years: that these kinds of improvements still need to be made.

    There are recommendations from the Venice Commission and ODIHR. These are international legal experts who provide this kind of advice globally to countries like Georgia and other countries as to how to improve their judicial system. Many of them have been fulfilled. Many of them have not. These are the same steps. These are the same reforms that Georgia’s political leaders have agreed to do, both in the April 19th agreement, after the April 19th agreement, and before the April 19th agreement. Some of these are now being discussed in the judicial working groups that Parliament is hosting, and that the opposition and civil society have also contributed to this group. Obviously, the United States has also helped Georgia for many years in building its democratic institutions. That includes a diverse Parliament that represents the Georgian public.

    I’m not sure what this group (the quartet) represents. I’m not sure who they represent, and I’m not sure how different they are from the ruling party that they say they left. What I can say is that the accusations that they most recently made against the United States and others are reckless conspiracy theories that have no basis. In fact, it’s very important to keep in mind that the United States works with all political parties across the political spectrum. We meet with Georgians from across the political spectrum, and we have for over 30 years. This is how we know how we can better support Georgia in trying to help Georgia develop its democratic institutions, develop its economy, ensure that it is more secure and stable as a democracy. This is the work that we’ve been doing with our Georgian partners for over 30 years and what we will continue to do in the coming years. I would say that any accusations that we are responsible in any way for the polarization that exists here is an attempt to shift the blame from those who know they are responsible to Western partners, who have done nothing but tried to help Georgia for 30 years along its European path. That is all we have done. I can say from the two and a half years that I’ve been here. Almost every single day, I have worked to try and bring Georgia’s political leaders together to try and bridge the deep polarization that existed long before I got here. And I think it’s important for Georgians to remember, to look back three years, four years, and remember where this depolarization came from. Things like Gavrilov’s nightthings like broken political promises and anti-democratic actions. That’s where this depolarization came from, not from Western partners, who again, have only been trying to help Georgia bridge this deep polarization so that the Parliament and other institutions can focus on what’s really important to Georgians: jobs, high prices, good education, better public health. That’s what Parliament needs to be focusing on, and now, in particular, the 12 recommendations that the European Commission has put forward, including pledges that Georgia’s political leaders have made before, and said they were going to do. This is the time to get that done. This is the time to really focus, in an inclusive manner, together, to put aside differences and focus on getting that candidate status.

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  • USAID and Public Defender’s Office Sign Intergovernmental Agreement

    On June 28, 2022, a Government-to-Government Agreement was signed between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Public Defender’s Office.

    The aim of the new partnership is to promote human rights in Georgia and to strengthen the activities of the Public Defender's Office, especially in the regions.

    In his opening remarks, Peter Wiebler, Mission Director of USAID/Georgia, briefly reviewed the Government-to-Government Agreement, cooperation and importance of Georgia's democratic development.

    The Ambassador of the United States of America spoke about progress in the direction of the protection of human rights in Georgia and underlined the activities of the Public Defender’s Office, great efforts that the staff of the Office make every day to establish equality and tolerance in the country; She also thanked representatives of the Office for their professionalism and dedication and said that the direct grant provided for by the USAID project was a sign of great confidence and support to the Public Defender's Office.

    Public Defender Nino Lomjaria thanked the US Government and the American people for the vital assistance they have been providing to independent Georgia in areas of economic development, implementation of democratic reforms, strengthening of state institutions and development of the private sector for decades.

    "Today we especially need such support, as the Government, the State and public institutions, each of us, must work tirelessly in these 6 months to get the status of an EU candidate country. These 6 months are a crucial period for our future.

    Until the end of my term of office, we, the entire Office, will be working to use this trust and support to monitor and support protection of human rights, democracy and human rights reforms in the country. However, I would also like to point out that the achievement of results under this agreement depends not only on our efforts. I think the willingness of other state agencies is also necessary and a lot depends on coordination and joint efforts in such a historic period," said the Public Defender.

    Giorgi Burjanadze, Deputy Public Defender, reviewed the details of the agreement between USAID and the Public Defender’s Office. According to the agreement, with the support of USAID, the Public Defender’s Office will work: 1) to strengthen internal capacities to conduct more effective monitoring of the protection of human rights in Georgia; 2) to strengthen internal management processes and institutional capacities; and 3) to improve strategic communication with the audience.

    "The project will help us make our Office more efficient in tackling the challenges we face. Protection of human rights is a constant process that needs constant upgrading," said Giorgi Burjanadze.

    Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia

  • USAID and Public Defender’s Office Sign Intergovernmental Agreement

    a Government-to-Government Agreement was signed between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Public Defender’s Office.

    The aim of the new partnership is to promote human rights in Georgia and to strengthen the activities of the Public Defender's Office, especially in the regions.

    In his opening remarks, Peter Wiebler, Mission DirectorofUSAID/Georgia, briefly reviewed the Government-to-Government Agreement, cooperation and importance of Georgia's democratic development.

    The Ambassador of the United States of America spoke about progress in the direction of the protection of human rights in Georgia and underlined the activities of the Public Defender’s Office, great efforts that the staff of the Office make every day to establish equality and tolerance in the country; She also thanked representatives of the Office for their professionalism and dedication and said that the direct grant provided for by the USAID project was a sign of great confidence and support to the Public Defender's Office.

    Public Defender Nino Lomjaria thanked the US Government and the American people for the vital assistance they have been providing to independent Georgia in areas of economic development, implementation of democratic reforms, strengthening of state institutions and development of the private sector for decades.

    "Today we especially need such support, as the Government, the State and public institutions, each of us, must work tirelessly in these 6 months to get the status of an EU candidate country. These 6 months are a crucial period for our future.

    Until the end of my term of office, we, the entire Office, will be working to use this trust and support to monitor and support protection of human rights, democracy and human rights reforms in the country. However, I would also like to point out that the achievement of results under this agreement depends not only on our efforts. I think the willingness of other state agencies is also necessary and a lot depends on coordination and joint efforts in such a historic period," said the Public Defender.

    Giorgi Burjanadze, Deputy Public Defender, reviewed the details of the agreement between USAID and the Public Defender’s Office. According to the agreement, with the support of USAID, the Public Defender’s Office will work: 1) to strengthen internal capacities to conduct more effective monitoring of the protection of human rights in Georgia; 2) to strengthen internal management processes and institutional capacities; and 3) to improve strategic communication with the audience.

    "The project will help us make our Office more efficient in tackling the challenges we face. Protection of human rights is a constant process that needs constant upgrading," said Giorgi Burjanadze.

    Public Defender’s Office

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