Georgia and ADB signed the Agreement on Fiscal Resilience and Social Security Program

Published in Economics
Monday, 21 November 2022 14:53
Agreement has been concluded with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the implementation of a fiscal resilience and social security program in Georgia. According to the administration of the Ministry of Finance, Georgia and ADB signed the Agreement on Fiscal Resilience and Social Security Program today.
Document was signed by H.E. Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia and Shane Rosenthal, ADB Regional Director in Georgia.
Agreement envisages the allocation of financial resources in the volume of 100 million and 190 thousand Euros for the implementation of a Fiscal Resilience and Social Security Program ensuring the sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
Signatories shared their vision at a meeting held prior to the signing of the agreement on the current situation in the country developing against the background of global challenges. Transit potential and boosted energy security of Georgia, along with its significance was once again highlighted.

EU and UNDP sign $21 million agreement to remove debris and restore critical infrastructure

Published in Economics
Friday, 19 August 2022 15:22

The European Commission will provide $21 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support work to dismantle infrastructure in Ukraine that has collapsed as a result of Russian aggression.

The funds will also be used to identify, map and neutralise explosive ordnance and urgent environmental threats. They will also be used to repair or purchase strategic elements of infrastructure in the affected areas, such as transformers, thermal substations, water pumps, heat and water pipes, water decontamination systems and renewable energy supply equipment.

This project will restore power and water stations and heating utilities. These are essential services that will give residents dignified lives and livelihoods at home,” said Manal Fouani, UNDP interim Resident Representative in Ukraine.

The upcoming winter season will be very harsh and we need to do our utmost to make sure that people and the authorities have the necessary infrastructure operational”, said Matti Maasikas Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

The project is a part of the UNDP Resilience Building and Recovery Programme, launched by UNDP in April 2022 to support the Government of Ukraine to sustain essential governance structures for emergency response management, deliver vital public services, and protect livelihoods.

Find out more

Press release

The historic Amu Darya Agreement and other documents at the Turkmen-Uzbek negotiations

Published in Economics
Friday, 15 July 2022 10:41

The signing ceremony of the documents was held at the Kuksaroy residence following the results of the Turkmen-Uzbek negotiations at the highest level.

Serdar Berdimuhamedov Shavkat Mirziyoyev and signed a Joint statement, in which the main agreements are fixed and tasks for building up multifaceted cooperation between the two countries are defined.

Also, in the presence of the heads of state, 19 documents were signed at the level of ministries and departments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Including four agreements – on the development of transport and transit cooperation, on cooperation in the field of tourism, on holding a joint competition for initiative research projects. In this row is the Agreement on the Management, Protection and Rational Use of Water Resources of the Amu Darya River, which was called "historic" during the negotiations.

The parties also signed three joint programs: trade and economic cooperation and development of industrial cooperation for 2022-2025, scientific and technical cooperation for 2022-2024 and between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries for 2023-2024.

An action plan was adopted for the practical implementation of the provisions of the intergovernmental Agreement on the establishment and regulation of the activities of the Uzbek-Turkmen border trade zone – the Trade Center.

A number of documents were also signed on cooperation in the chemical industry, customs issues, railway communications, forestry, museums, justice, youth policy, broadcasting and others.

USAID and Public Defender’s Office Sign Intergovernmental Agreement

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 05 July 2022 11:47

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

The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement

Published in Politics
Thursday, 29 July 2021 12:18

The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement, which we offer without change: "The United States is deeply disturbed and exasperated by the unilateral decision of the Georgian Dream party to withdraw from the April 19th Agreement, a document established through six months of difficult but collaborative negotiations, and one that gives an urgently-needed way forward for the Georgian people and their democracy. One hundred fifteen MPs from at least six of nine elected parties signed the Agreement and pledged to work together in good faith to reduce the deep polarization that is impeding Georgia’s democratic progress. Washington is growing increasingly alarmed about repeated setbacks to Georgia’s democratic future.

All of the signatories should be held accountable to their commitments in the Agreement. While we continue to press for all parties to sign and fully implement the agreement, Georgian Dream’s unilateral withdrawal is another deviation from the letter and spirit of the negotiations Georgian Dream participated in and the agreement they signed. This decision by the ruling party only creates more political instability for the country and raises questions about Georgian Dream’s commitment to achieving Georgia’s democratic goals, goals that Georgian Dream itself set for the country.
Georgia’s interests will be best served if the concrete judicial, constitutional, and electoral reform elements reached in the Agreement are implemented by multiparty consensus, rather than by unilateral action of one party. Timely progress in implementing these reforms is the most responsible way to end Georgia’s cycle of political crises, and remains critical to meeting Georgia's goals for its Euro-Atlantic future. Actions that create instability and divisiveness only benefit those trying to undermine Georgia’s success as a stable, prosperous democracy.
The Agreement lays out a useful roadmap for important reforms that are needed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions, reduce politicization of the judiciary, improve Georgia’s electoral system and power-sharing in the Parliament, and continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law. These reforms are still urgently needed, and should be adopted through an inclusive, multiparty process.
We call on all parties, including Georgian Dream, to work together to fulfill in good faith the commitments they agreed to and that are vital to Georgia’s timely integration into the European family of nations".

MOD, Jewish enterprise sign agreement to produce M4 carbines

Published in military
Thursday, 20 May 2021 12:17

The representatives of Jewish enterprise and Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze signed a mutual cooperation agreement on Wednesday to produce M4 carbines at the State Military Scientific-Technical Center DELTA area by the end of 2021.

According to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the weapons made in the enterprise will be handed over to the Defense Forces. Also, product export is planned.

A new Georgian-Jewish enterprise will launch at the State Military Scientific-Technical Center DELTA area to produce M4 carbines by the end of 2021, Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze briefed MPs within the ministerial hour on Thursday.

Moreover, Georgia has active talks with South African and Polish companies to set up a joint venture for small and large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at Delta, Minister stressed. The agreement will be signed this year, and UAV production will kick off in 2022.

Burchuladze added that Georgia would also secure an additional batch of Javelin Missiles from the US.

“It is critical to strengthen the defence capabilities, especially via the introduction of modern, NATO-standard weapons to maintain and greatly enhance the readiness of the defence forces,” the minister underscored.

Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement

Published in Politics
Friday, 02 April 2021 10:38

In a joint statement, MEPs deplore that Georgia’s political leaders did not agree to EU mediator Christian Danielsson’s proposal and announce consequences in terms of EU-Georgia relations.

Following a meeting on 1 April with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia, leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:

“We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis. Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.

We reiterate our strong support to Christian Danielsson’s tireless work and welcome the publication of the proposal he made to the political parties, which further increased the transparency of the mediation process. It is essential to rebuild confidence between political party actors. The content of this proposal is indeed the right way ahead for Georgia: ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, meaningful sharing of responsibilities in the Georgian Parliament and, most importantly, a solution on future elections and on two cases of politicised justice. This solution is politically balanced and respects both the rule of law and the international assessment of the 2020 elections. We also welcome the idea of a Jean-Monnet Dialogue process supported by the European Parliament, when the political situation allows.

Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union. The European Parliament in particular will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.

In the meantime, the adoption of ongoing electoral and judicial reforms in the Georgian Parliament requires broad political support and the need to fully implement the recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. These reforms are key to rebuild trust. We call on the ruling party to ensure a genuinely inclusive process to avoid the further undermining of both future elections and the judiciary, as well as unnecessarily closing the door to a possible agreement in the future.

We call on Georgia’s leaders to take action immediately. The future of EU-Georgia relations is at stake.”

Background
The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcome the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, conducted in Tbilisi two rounds of mediation among the parties and presented a proposal for a way ahead for Georgia. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.

The statement is co-signed by:
David McAllister (EPP, Germany), Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Co-Chair of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group;

Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia), Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus;

Andrius Kubilius (EPP, Lithuania), Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly;

Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), lead member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia;

Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia;

Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine;

Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.

 

Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210401IPR01301/georgia-leading-meps-react-to-the-refusal-of-the-parties-to-reach-an-agreement?xtor=AD-78-[Social_share_buttons]-[facebook]-[en]-[news]-[pressroom]-[statement-georgia]-

A NUMBER OF BILATERAL DOCUMENT WERE SIGNED WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “TURKMENISTAN AND THE UNITED NATIONS: COOPERATION FOR PEACE AND TRUST”

Published in World
Wednesday, 03 March 2021 18:21

Today, on March 2, the International Conference “Turkmenistan and the United Nations: Cooperation for Peace and Trust” on the occasion of
the 29th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s UN membership, has started in the MFA of Turkmenistan.

Within the framework of the event online ceremony of signing the bilateral documents was held. In particular, the following documents were signed: Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Population Fund on Co-Financing, as well as Work Plan between the Ministry of Sport and Youth Policy of Turkmenistan and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) within the framework of the project “Strengthening mechanisms of youth participation in the implementation of the national youth policy and advancement of gender equality” for 2021.

Then Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov handed over to the Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Christine Weigand the Note verbale of the MFA of Turkmenistan officially announcing on behalf of the Government of Turkmenistan about the Resolution of the President of Turkmenistan on the approval of the procedure for visa-free entry to Turkmenistan of foreign citizens with UN passports.

As is known, that Resolution had been signed by the President of Turkmenistan on the 28th of February 2021, according to which, starting from March 2 this year, foreign citizens holding UN passports are allowed to come to Turkmenistan, stay in the country, leave it, and cross the territory of Turkmenistan in transit without visa.

Besides that, the document prescribed those foreign citizens – officers of the UN or its specialized structures, accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, as well as their family members, are exempted from obtaining visa during the period of work in Turkmenistan.

The adoption of this Resolution is in line with the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.  

 

Why the environment matters and how the EU helps the Eastern partner countries to protect it

Published in Society
Wednesday, 03 June 2020 12:14

Why the environment matters and how the EU helps the Eastern partner countries to protect it?

 

  1. 1.      Why should we care about the environment?

 

We depend on nature for our very existence: we eat the food which grows in its soil, drink its fresh water and breathe its clean air. Housing, clothing, technology and recreation all depend on natural resources. All human activities impact on a fragile ecological balance. Disturbing this balance affects our wellbeing and prosperity.

 

The next ten years are decisive in making our societies more resilient in the context of major climate and environmental challenges. Together we have to overcome a heavy legacy of past environmental failures, such as loss of natural habitats and biodiversity, erosion of the soil, illegal logging, poor air quality, polluted rivers,  deficient waste management, and many others.

 

Investing into greener development will bring benefits for health, as well as new employment and economic growth opportunities. Working together on the environment and climate resilience is therefore vital.

  

  1. 2.      How can climate change impact our daily life?

 

The significant and accelerated climate change caused by greenhouse gases as a result of  human activities is increasing and creates severe consequences for our economies and societies.

 

The European Union and its Eastern neighbours are witnessing extreme rainfall events and flooding, as well as fires caused by heatwaves, soil erosion, fertility and biodiversity loss, and water resource scarcity, which are affecting industry, agriculture and households.

Only recently, wildfires fanned by abnormally hot, dry and windy weather in Ukraine raged through the Chernobyl exclusion zone for over two weeks, destroying more than 11,000 hectares of forest – a stark example of the impact of climate change.

Throughout the region, the countries are facing larger consequences of both droughts (Moldova ranks as the most climate vulnerable country in Europe and its total water availability will fall below total demand within a couple of decades), and floods (Azerbaijan is one of the most flood-prone areas in the world), as well as deteriorating water quality and risks to water supply (melting glaciers in Georgia threaten the country’s water security).

Collective action against climate change will bring many benefits for the environment, for our health, and for the economy. Rethinking and shifting our development paradigm will be an opportunity for a more efficient use of natural resources, cost savings, growth and jobs.

And if you think that climate action is expensive, think of the cost of doing nothing: Georgia estimates that climate-induced hazards could mean $10-12 billion in economic losses for the country over the next 10 years – ten times more than the cost of adapting to climate change over the same time period.

 

 

  1. 3.      What is the Paris Agreement about?

 

The Paris Agreement is the first-ever legally binding global climate change commitment, adopted at the Paris climate conference in December 2015. The EU and its Member States, as well as the countries of the Eastern Partnership, are among the nearly 190 signatories. 

The Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C, and pursuing efforts to limit it further to 1.5°C. It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impact of climate change and support them in their efforts.

The agreement stresses the need for global emissions to start coming down as soon as possible and to achieve climate neutrality in the second half of this century.

The centrepiece of the European Union’s effort to meet its targets is the European Green Deal that aims to make Europe climate neutral by 2050, making the EU’s economy sustainable by decoupling economic growth from resource use.

The Green Deal makes it clear that environmental and climate challenges require urgent action by the EU and its partner countries. The EU therefore supports its Eastern partners in their commitments under the Paris Agreement , including the implementation of national climate plans (nationally determined contributions, NDCs), the development of long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies (LEDS), as well as the modernisation of their economies by moving towards climate neutrality.

Meeting these commitments will require a transition to a low carbon, resource-efficient economy, which means a fundamental shift in technology, energy, economics, finance and ultimately society as a whole.

  

  1. How does the EU contribute towards protecting the environment in the six Eastern partner countries?

 

EU support to the Eastern partner countries has been increasing lately. A quarter of grants provided through the Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP) in 2018-2019 went to ‘green’ investments. EU blending contributions to such investments increased by more than 50% between 2014-15 and 2018-19, from approximately €67 million to €107 million. In 2018-19 alone, NIP grants unlocked €1.3 billion in overall green investments in the region.

The EU has also contributed €60 million to implement regional programmes that help to improve policies and institutions in the Eastern Partnership in line with the European Green Deal. Support for municipalities amounts to some €24 million, while the partner countries also receive support through the TAIEX and Twinning programmes.

 

EU-funded regional programmes include :

EU4Environment (€19.5 million in EU funding) aims at helping the Eastern partner countries to preserve their natural capital and increase people’s well-being. The programme supports policy and legislative changes, makes planning and investment greener, stimulates innovative technologies and the adoption of new business models, as well as the creation of green jobs. It also promotes better environmental governance, improved management of protected areas and forests, and sustainable trade. 

EU4Climate (€8 million in EU funding) is designed to support the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and to improve climate policies and legislation, contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and development towards a low-emissions and climate-resilient economy. 

The EU Water Initiative for the Eastern Partnership(EUWI+ 4 EaP – €23.5 million in EU funding)helps partner countries bring their legislation closer to EU policy in the field of water management, developing tools to improve the quality of water and its availability for all.

 

Environment is also high on the priorities at country level, with actions focusing on areas such as air quality, water management and marine pollution, energy efficiency, waste management, tackling pesticides and industrial pollution, and sustainable forest management.

 

In addition, to the European Union’s cooperation programmes, European Financial Institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) provide significant support for transition to the green economy by supporting low carbon and climate resilient growth, as well as investing in green infrastructures. The Eastern Europe Environment and Energy Efficiency Partnership (E5P) – a multi-donor trust fund of which the EU is the major donor – facilitates investments for municipal projects that improve energy efficiency and environmental protection. The EU-funded Municipal Project Support Facility (MPSF) provides technical assistance for the preparation of energy efficiency projects that can later be implemented through loans. The EU also significantly contributes to the Green for Growth Fund (GGF).

 

  1. 5.      What do these programmes actually do? Are there any success stories?

 

Certainly, beyond the stated objectives and the headline budget figures lie some real success stories, protecting the environment, acting on climate change and promoting resilience and sustainability on the ground.

For example, EU is helping to enable modern water policy at basin level for a vast territory covering 500,000 km², setting a clear path towards cleaner water for more than 30 million people in the six Eastern partner countries.

With the EU’s support, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia launched the development of national green economy strategies. Ukraine is already in the top 20 countries in the world for organics farming, exporting €59 million worth of organic products in 2016, the majority certified to EU standards.

More than 100 pilot SMEs in the region received EU support to carry out resource efficiency and cleaner production programmes, resulting in savings of €9.4 million (with an average of between €2,000 and €20,000 saved per enterprise, reaching up to €100,000 in some cases). Activities continue with the support of the EU4Environment programme.

Environmental data is being aligned with EU and best international practice in all six partner countries, with data being available via an Internet-based tracking tool hosted by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

To protect and connect natural areas and biodiversity, the six Eastern partners have identified nearly 700 Emerald Network sites with an area of 12.8 million hectares, more than four times the size of Belgium.

 

EU support actions reach every level of society, from government policy all the way to raising awareness among primary school children, as you can see from the examples below:

In Armenia, the Connecting Nature project supports the search for new, environmentally friendly ideas and solutions to environmental problems in Yerevan – for instance, to determine the types of plants and trees that are most suitable for a given environmental situation for different areas of the city.

In Azerbaijan, EU experts from Finland, Austria and Latvia trained more than 200 employees of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources to monitor air quality; the Twinning project developed a detailed plan to modernise air quality monitoring systems, including the acquisition of 25 new air quality stations.

In Belarus, schoolchildren have been taking part in a cross-border river cleanliness project on the Styr River that runs between Belarus and Ukraine, testing water quality and learning to detect nitrates, phosphates, and organic pollutants.

In the Batumi region of Georgia, a €6.1 million project has ensured the rehabilitation of the water supply and sewage systems, as well as the construction of waste treatment plants, leading to uninterrupted clean water for the population, and reduced marine pollution.

In Moldova, the burning of agricultural waste used to be a source of environmental pollution. Now, with EU support, the waste is in great demand to produce biofuel, which is used to heat 206 schools, kindergartens and public institutions.

In Ukraine, more than 7,000 people took part in the 2019 #EUBeachCleanup challenge with 234 clean-ups in every oblast in the country, as part of International Clean Beach Day, when citizens around the world gather to clean river banks and beaches. More than 35.7 tonnes of waste were collected and removed to prevent them from polluting the waters.

And across the region, officials from all countries received guidance on the environmental management of plastic waste, marine plastic litter and energy recovery from plastic waste during a TAIEX workshop on EU plastics strategy and single use plastic.

 

Investment in green infrastructure is also very significant, with the support of the EBRD, the EIB and the E5P alongside other investment partners. In Ukraine, this has enabled investment in clean public transport, with new trolleybus fleets in Kherson, Mariupol and Lviv, as well as €35 million in support for waste management in Lviv. In Moldova, residents of Balti, have benefited from EBRD investment in energy efficient heating and new electric buses. In the Armenian capital Yerevan, EIB funding has contributed to the upgrade of the metro and improving energy efficiency in public buildings such as kindergartens. In Azerbaijan, the EBRD has provided financing for the purchase of 35 new eco-efficient buses, leading to an annual reduction of 2,853 tonnes of CO2. In Belarus, 300,000 people are benefiting from improved water quality thanks to an EBRD loan and an E5P grant for wastewater treatment facilities in seven municipalities. In Georgia, the EIB provided a long-term loan to Tbilisi’s water utility company to support its water and wastewater infrastructure development programme, while the EBRD is to invest €75 million in the modernisation of Tbilisi metro.

  

  1. 6.      How can I become more environment-friendly?

 

As a citizen, you have the right, the capacity and the duty to take action for the environment. 
Your everyday life choices as a voter and a consumer have the power to drive change in government policies, as well as companies’ decisions and innovations. 

Consider the environmental footprint of all your purchases and reduce them, choose local products, avoid polluting substances and single-use plastic, reuse, recycle, separate, compact and dispose of waste correctly. 

Adopt simple energy saving habits such as switching off lights and appliances, and closing and opening windows and shutters to keep ideal room temperature.

To save water, take a shower instead of bath, and keep it short. Don’t leave taps running, and look out for any leaks (a leaking toilet can waste 200 litres of water per day). Water your plants in the late evening or early morning, when less water is lost through evaporation.

Share your vehicle, unused objects or excess food with other people in your community, and opt for more sustainable transport and energy from renewable sources.

If you can, keep your own fruit and vegetable garden (you can even use pots on a balcony or urban orchards), eat less meat and prefer plant-based meals, buy more diverse and less processed food, and bring your own bags and containers when shopping.

Check out the EU’s climate tips for easy environmental advice for home, work, shopping and transport.

 

Comment by the MFA of Georgia in response to the comment of the Information and Press Department of the MFA of the RF

Published in Politics
Friday, 29 May 2020 15:52

On May, 26th, while Georgia was receiving congratulations from the neighboring and partner countries honoring its Independence Day, the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation disseminated another falsehood on the functioning of the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Georgia.

The above-mentioned disinformation is of particular concern in the context when activity of the Center is widely recognized as one of the vital factors in successful struggle of the Government of Georgia against the coronavirus pandemic and functioning of the Center is highly appreciated by the Georgian society along with international community.

Georgia’s relevant agencies have repeatedly commented on the details of the status and functioning of the Center, however Russia’s constant provocations have forced us to address the issue again since we see the urgent need to attract attention of the international community to the Russia’s fabrications and rude attempts to diminish the role of successful institution contributing to the security of Georgia and throughout the entire region.

The Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center functions as an integral laboratory unit of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. The facility was launched in 2013 and represents the highest level institution of the Laboratory Network of Disease Epidemiological Surveillance which, itself, is a referral center of the Georgian Public Health System.

Construction of the facility started in 2004 based on a framework Agreement signed by the US and the Georgian Governments in 1997 as well as Agreement of 2002 between the US Department of Defense and the Ministry of Defense of Georgia “On Cooperation in the field of prevention of the introduction of pathogenesis and experience related to biological weapons development.”

The Lugar Center, along with its equipment were fully transmitted to the ownership of the Government of Georgia and since 2018 the Lugar Center along with the laboratory network have been fully financed by the Government of Georgia. Structurally, the Lugar Center is a subdivision of the Center for Disease Control and a part of the Georgian Healthcare System.
The Lugar Center unites the 2nd and the 3rd level biosecurity laboratories equipped by the modern equipment with the aim to timely detect and identify the pathogens that cause dangerous diseases in humans and animals based on the principle of “United health”.
Three virology (poliomyelitis, influenza and measles) laboratories accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO) operate in the Center. Besides, under the international quality control, the following laboratories operate at the facility: the diagnosis of rotavirus, invasive meningitis, malaria, antibiotic resistance, diphtheria and salmonellosis. The Center has an international ISO accreditation for the clinical laboratory research.

Laboratory capabilities of the Lugar Center are also used by the Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture (LMA) and the Eliava Research Institute of Bacteriophage. In addition, the Center’s capabilities are widely used by masters and doctoral students from relevant universities of various countries, including neighboring ones, to conduct scientific research.
Any research or activity at the facilities of the Center are carried out by the relevant experts exceptionally under the coordination and management of the competent Georgian agencies. The American partners have no role in setting the tasks for the Center, moreover they do not possess the possibility to conduct an independent research.
Georgia is fully committed to its international obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons, including the requirements and provisions of the Convention on the Management of Biological Laboratories. Within the 7th Review Conference, the Member States have developed a mechanism for transparency and confidence-building – so called peer exercise, which appears to be the only instrument for transparency.


Within such mechanism and in order to ensure the transparency of the Richard Lugar Centre, Georgia hosted an international peer exercise at the facilities of the Centre on November 14-15, 2018. The above-mentioned event was organized jointly by the Georgian and German sides and Security and Bio experts from up to 20 countries were able to participate in this peer exercise. It is worth to mention that the invitation to participate has been also extended to the Russian experts, however a strict refusal of their participation has been received. This very fact clearly proves the ostentatious interest of the RF in operations at the laboratory.

On December 4-7, 2018, a meeting of the Member States of the Biological Weapons Convention took place at the UN Geneva office, where the report on the functioning of the Lugar Centre drafted by international experts gained a full approval and support.

Despite the above-mentioned, the Russian Foreign Ministry challenges the findings of the leading experts after their visit at the facility. Furthermore, based on the fake disinformation of suspicious “experts”, false allegations are widely spread specially in the Russian media sources thus clearly underlying incompetence and aggressive nature of their arguments.

As for the provision of the comment by the Information Department of the Russian MFA regarding the possible visit of the Russian experts to the Lugar Centre, it is noteworthy to mention that Georgia, as a responsible Member State of the Convention on Prohibition of Biological Weapons, is and always has been ready, to host competent Russian experts, who holds the relevant level security permission to access the facilities of the laboratory. However, such visits might be conducted within the framework of the Convention and in full compliance with the existing mechanism. There was such possibility in 2018, although Georgia is open to discuss the modalities of the peer exercise/visit with Member-States upon new initiative. At the same time, Georgia does not see the possibility for one-side unilateral visit taking into account Russia's rough and aggressive disinformation campaign with the only possible aim to diminish the functioning and researches at the facilities of the Lugar Centre.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the international community, primarily on the Member States of the Biological Weapons Convention, to assess the aggressive statements of the Russian Governmental Agencies toward Georgia; to condemn clear disinformation and to oppose the attempts to undermine the successful functioning of the institution exponential for the whole region. Despite the fact that Georgia does not have any bilateral legal commitment to the RF on the transparency of the Centre, the Georgian side expresses its readiness to host next peer exercise within the frame of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological Weapons with participation of multinational team, including relevant Russian experts.
 

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USA to allocate 63 million US dollars for Georgia

USA to allocate 63 million US dollars for Georgia

U.S. Department of State to allocate 63 million US dollars for Georgia. According to the budgetary d...

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