The U.S. Government is proud to announce an additional $600,000 in emergency health assistance to support Georgia's response to COVID-19

Published in World
Monday, 20 April 2020 13:12

The U.S. Government is proud to announce an additional $600,000 in emergency health assistance to support Georgia's response to COVID-19. With this new assistance, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has committed $1.7 million in emergency health assistance to support Georgia’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help the individuals and communities who are most at risk.

The $1.7 million in emergency health assistance from USAID will help control and prevent infection and identify cases of the virus. It will include technical assistance to improve Georgia’s response and preparedness for controlling the outbreak, and for communicating information about the emergency.

The new assistance is part of a whole-of-government approach by the U.S. Government. It comes in addition to other health sector assistance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), USAID support for Georgia's economic recovery and effective provision of public services, and the nearly $140 million the U.S. has invested over the past 20 years in helping Georgia build a capable, resilient, and professional national healthcare system.

We are proud to partner with the Government of Georgia, local health professionals and civil society organizations, and international organizations to help people stay healthy and stay safe.

EU programme equips Georgian civil society with tools to advocate for rural development

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 16:52

Around 30 representatives of regional civil society organisations (CSOs) from Georgia met in the country’s capital Tbilisi on 7 December for an interactive seminar on rural development advocacy. This was the final in a series of training seminars organised through the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). A total of up to 300 CSOs from 10 regions across Georgia took part in this EU-supported training programme.

The programme covered every region of Georgia, aiming to empower civil society organisations to more actively advocate for rural development in their regions, said ENPARD in a press release.

The training participants were introduced to the European models of rural development and became more acquainted with advocacy tools. The programme also focused on the impact of rural development on national policy-making, the role of civil society in this process, and the practical benefits of rural development now and in the future.

The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for the rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.

EU IS THE MAIN DONOR FOR THE CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE EASTERN PARTNER COUNTRIES

Published in World
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 16:14

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference along with the 9th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum will take place on 25-27 October, 2017 in Tallinn under the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The three-day event, entitled "Tangible Results for People: Envisioning the Eastern Partnership in 2020 and Beyond," will focus on the future of the Eastern Partnership policy and on civil society's contribution to better governance in these countries.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said: "Civil society representatives are the best sponsors and monitors of much-needed reforms in the Eastern Partnership countries. They are voices against corruption and for transparency and an essential force in our daily work on so many issues, from fighting violence against women, to improving the media environment. We are partners, and we need each other to reach our common goals and to make the Eastern Partnership deliver."

The Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, stressed: “We are delivering on our promise to follow social innovation trends in our broadened support to civil society. Partnerships with key civil society actors, strong leadership and more efficient tools to advance the governance role of civil society organisations are all part our revamped toolbox. Together with partner governments, civil society in the Eastern partner countries will bring us closer to citizens in areas that make most difference for their lives.”

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee Co-chair Hennadiy Maksak said: “Civil society believes in the European future of the Eastern partner countries, based on shared values, rule of law and respect for democratic principles and public accountability. It is of crucial importance to create an enabling environment for the civil society, allowing it to engage in the reform agenda.”

The conference will serve as a platform for participants to discuss better governance, dialogue between governments and civil society, the use of technology to promote government transparency, and inclusive approaches to economic development. Discussions will also focus on civil society's role in combating disinformation and developing media competence.

The participants will adopt a Civil Society Declaration identifying major obstacles to further democratic development offering specific recommendations on how governments and civil society organisations can work together to overcome them.

The European Union's support to civil society has been instrumental in increasing public accountability, respect of human rights, and local development in Eastern partner countries. From 2014 to 2016, the European Union has funded more than 260 new projects across the region, reaching more than 600 organisations.

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference is organised by the Estonian presidency, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership and the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, a regional civil society platform aimed at promoting European integration and facilitating reforms and democratic transformations across the region.

The event is held every two years as a side event to the Eastern Partnership Summit, which this year will take place on November 24 in Brussels. 

Georgian CSOs to promote free trade with EU in rural areas

Published in Economics
Thursday, 08 June 2017 09:33

A new project in support of economic development in rural areas in Georgia was launched on 2 June. The EU-funded 'Regional Civil Society Organisations as Vectors of Rural Economic Development' project aims at promoting the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) in the seven rural regions of Georgia. The project will strengthen the capacities of civil society organisations (CSOs) so that they can help regional small, micro and medium enterprises, as well as individual agricultural producers, to seize the opportunities opened by the DCFTA.

The CSOs showed interest in the various trainings planned in the regions which will enhance their skills and knowledge about DCFTA-related aspects, advocacy techniques and value chain research. This will help regional producers to identify local products that have potential to enter European markets.

Within the project, CSOs will establish information and resource desks in rural areas of the regions of Imereti, Mtskheta-Mtianeti, Kakheti, Samtskhe-Javakheti, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Adjara and Kvemo-Kartli.

The project is part of the EU’s assistance to the Georgian government in implementing the DCFTA, facilitating Georgia's integration into the EU market. The EU support focuses on strengthening the capacities of Georgian small and medium-sized enterprises and ensuring the economic integration of internally displaced persons, returned migrants, women in business and young entrepreneurs.

Reducing Mercury Emissions in Georgia

Published in Society
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 20:43

TBILISI. 23 March 2016 – Ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention in Georgia was in focus of a working meeting on 23 March 2016 which brought together representatives of the Government of Georgia, businesses, academic and educational institutions and civil society organizations.  
Natia Natsvlishvili of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, and Alverd Chankseliani of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, addressed the participants of the meeting.
The discussion will roll out the inventory of mercury in Georgia, identification of potential sources of emissions, amendment of the legislation and policies to protect environment and human health from the adverse effects of mercury, and assessment of institutional capacities required for the ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention.
The initiative is jointly led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

About the Minamata Convention:
The Convention is named after the Japanese city of Minamata which went through a devastating incident of mercury poisoning in 1950s. A neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning is also known as Minamata disease.
The major highlights of the Minamata Convention include a ban on new mercury mines, the phase-out of existing ones, control measures on air emissions, and the international regulation of the informal sector for artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
The Minamata Convention was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 January 2013. The Convention was adopted and opened for signature on 10 October 2013 and will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by 50 nations.
Georgia has been part of the global intergovernmental negotiations in 2013 about the need to adopt a convention on mercury. In October 2013, Georgia signed the Minamata Convention and now is preparing to ratify the document.

Violence against women: UN human rights expert in first official visit to Georgia

Published in World
Friday, 12 February 2016 13:54

United Nations human rights expert Dubravka Šimonović will visit Georgia from 15 to 19 February 2016 to assess the situation of violence against women and girls in the country and gather first-hand information from victims of violence.
“I am grateful to the Government of Georgia for the invitation to conduct the first official visit to the country by a UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences,” Ms. Šimonović said.
“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every woman worldwide”, she stressed. “States have a primary responsibility to take effective action to eliminate violence against women, so it is ultimately up to State authorities to make its eradication a reality.”
During her five-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government authorities, civil society representatives and other stakeholders in Tbilisi, as well as Kakheti and Shida Qartli regions.
The expert will also visit a shelter for victims of domestic violence, a camp for internally displaced persons and she will meet with individual victims of gender-based violence and minority women. “I hope that as a result of my interactions with government and civil society representatives, I will contribute to the current discussions and efforts in the fight against such violence in the country”, she said.
The Special Rapporteur will hold a press conference on the initial findings of her visit on Friday 19 February at 17:00 at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel (4 Freedom Square, Tbilisi). Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.
Based on the information obtained during the visit, Ms. Šimonović will present a report with final findings and recommendations during the thirty-second session of Human Rights Council, in June 2016.

ENDS
Ms.Dubravka Šimonović (Croatia) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2015, to recommend measures, ways and means, at the national, regional and international levels, to eliminate violence against women and its causes, and to remedy its consequences. Ms. Šimonović has been member of the CEDAW Committee from 2002 to 2014. She headed the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia and was the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Croatia to the UN in New York. She was also Ambassador to the OSCE and UN in Vienna. She co-chaired the Ad hoc Committee (CAHVIO) of the Council of Europe that elaborated the Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention).She has a PhD in Family Law and published books and articles on human rights and women’s rights. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/SRWomen/Pages/SRWomenIndex.aspx
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Georgia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/GEIndex.aspx

Win With Women

Published in Society
Tuesday, 09 February 2016 19:06

Female councillors from all regions of Georgia met representatives of the central government, Parliament, civil society and international community for the third annual Forum of Women Councillors “Win With Women” on 9 February in Tbilisi.
Established in 2013, the Forum unites all female members of local self-government in the country. At the conference women councillors presented the annual report of the Forum and discuss future plans with the partners. Main topics for discussion were at the same time priority issues for local councillors - parliamentary quotas, strengthening role of women on the local level, developing pre-school education and participation of citizens in local self-governance were in focus of the conference.
The event was opened by Laura Thornton – Senior Director of the National Democratic Institute in Georgia, who spoke about the role of women as a driving force of change at the local level.
“This year “Win with Women” conference is focused on the important role women play in local governance both as citizens and as leaders. Local government is the first point of contact for citizens with their elected officials and in many ways deals with issues most important to people's daily lives. Globally, the more women are in these offices, the better they respond to people’s needs" – said Laura Thornton.
Shombi Sharp, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, stressed the importance of bringing more women into politics – both locally and on the national level.
“Empowering women to realize their full potential for the betterment of social, economic and political life is an essential part of the new global Sustainable Development Goals through 2030. While Georgia has made significant progress in establishing important gender equality laws and policies, a lot remains to be done to translate that into real change. Women still only make up around 12 percent of representatives in Sakrebulos and Parliament, denying local communities and the country a tremendous amount of wisdom, skill and experience. Today we are discussing practical ways to turn this around as so many other countries have.” Shombi Sharp said.
Meryl Frank, Former Mayor of Highland Park, New Jersey and Former Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Eka Sepiashvili – Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia’ Guguli Magradze – MP, Member of Gender Equality Council of Parliament of Georgia and Eva Smedberg – Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden were also guests at the Forum.
The conference was organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), Municipal Service Providers Association (MSPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Government of Sweden,   Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) for the South Caucasus and Austrian Development Cooperation. The conference was supported by the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality in Georgia funded by the Government of Sweden.  

Civil Society Forum in Kyiv

Published in World
Friday, 11 December 2015 16:17

Participants of the 7th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) in Kyiv addressed an open letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron and the Secretary of State for Justice of the United Kingdom Michael Gove expressing their deep concern about the current debate within the ruling Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, which appears to be moving to change the country’s relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and to replace the existing British Human Rights Act that incorporates the European Convention with a new Bill of Rights that could curtail previously granted rights.

Reiterating the EaP CSF support for the European Convention on Human Rights as an indispensable instrument for promoting respect for human rights in the member countries of the Council of Europe (CoE) and noting that the ECHR and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg have been effective in defending human rights, the EaP CSF appeals to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Justice of the UK to maintain the arrangements which hitherto have served well the cause of human rights.

The letter was signed by the Co-Chair of the EaP CSF Steering Committee Krzysztof Bobiński on behalf of over 170 civil society organizations from the Eastern Partnership and EU countries.

Euromed Summit of Economic and Social Councils calls for greater role of Civil Society in ENP

Published in World
Monday, 07 December 2015 13:19

Representatives of the Euro-Mediterranean region's economic and social councils and economic and social players have adopted a Final Declaration of the Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions held on 30 November and 1 December in Brussels.

The Declaration underlined the need for a greater role for civil society in the ENP, not only in further involving civil society organisations in ENP related commitments and activities, but also by calling on the ENP to ensure that it empowers civil society in all countries and ensures compliance with fundamental human, civil, political, economic and social rights.  It asked for the revised ENP to clearly aim at an effective dialogue between representative civil society organisations, public authorities and regions, rather than mere on-line consultations which are sometimes irrelevant.

The meeting marked the 20th anniversary of the Euromed Summits, which were launched on the basis of the mandate conferred by the Barcelona Declaration in 1995. The participants discussed the situation in the region, focusing on the new ENP, regional dialogue, the participation of social and economic councils and players in the development of the region, and on the need for common responses to the challenge of migration and refugees. 

Civil Society Calls For State Support for the ICC

Published in Justice
Monday, 30 November 2015 13:52

The Hague. Government representatives from 123 countries are convening in The Hague for the annual meeting of State Parties to the International Criminal Court ("ICC").  Civil society groups join the ICC Prosecutor in calling on States to support the Court's operations, particularly in the face of increasing resistance from countries subject to ICC investigations.  States must fulfill their responsibility to protect their populations from grave crimes by upholding the system of international justice, including by supporting local groups engaged in advocacy on accountability and documentation of ICC crimes.

At a panel entitled "Civil Society and the ICC: Local Perspectives on Fact-Finding" hosted by The Philippines and the Open Society Justice Initiative, civil society representatives from seven countries reported on a global series of consultations conducted over the course of 2015 which sought to identify the types of support that these groups most need. Across each region, NGOs highlighted the reality that the ICC is entirely dependent on the voluntary cooperation of national agencies. When States don't cooperate, local NGOs struggle to fill the accountability gap with minimal assistance, particularly with respect to protection and funding.  Additionally, civil society representatives called on States to facilitate local access to new technology, whilst desisting from using of new technology against civil society. NGOs also emphasized that States must support the full and meaningful engagement of victim communities in ICC proceedings.

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