The European Union is standing by Georgia, in support of building a strong, prosperous and democratic country, during times of COVID and other crises, and with unwavering support for Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity, EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell said in a statement to mark Europe Day on 9 May, in a year that has seen Georgia apply for membership of the European Union.
He said Europe Day was a celebration of a new vision for Europe, presented 72 years ago in the Schuman Declaration, “at a time when Europe was still rising from the ashes of a devastating war, determined to make sure there would be no more wars in Europe”.
“While we remain faithful to that vision, unfortunately, others blatantly and tragically demonstrate that they still see things differently. But as Russia is waging its unjustified war in Europe, we are standing up in strong solidarity with Ukraine, based on the values and principles that unite us and on which our Union was built.”
“Here in Georgia, our close partnership is based on these same values,” the Ambassador said. “A partnership that is set to grow further as Georgia took the historic step to apply for EU membership, in line with the aspirations of an overwhelming majority of its population and in coping with its civilisational roots.”
Activities to mark Europe Day in Georgia this year are centred around a new film called Europe and me, directed by Giorgi Kvelidze. It highlights the shared values between the EU and Georgia and shows several human stories from Georgia’s region.
The online premiere of the documentary film that has been produced for 2022 Europe Day will be held tonight, 9 May at 21:00 on the Delegation Facebook page.
Source: EU NEIGHBOURS east
Energy-efficiency modernisations in public buildings improve learning environments and support the energy transition in GeorgiaWednesday, 04 May 2022 14:25
The celebration of Nefco’s first implemented energy-efficiency project in Georgia coincides with the signing of a new EUR 6.5 million project which will support energy-efficiency modernisations in public schools in remote mountainous regions in the country.
Nefco has officially inaugurated its first implemented project in Georgia, which encompasses the renovation of 26 public buildings across the country. The energy-efficiency modernisations carried out from autumn 2018 until the end of 2021 have resulted in improved indoor conditions and energy savings, and supported Georgia towards its green transition by using renewable and alternative energy sources. The project has also contributed to the implementation of Georgia’s national goals to combat climate change and demonstrated the applicability of new building codes in various types of buildings with different functions and usage and how these new codes work in different climate zones.
In addition to Nefco loan financing of EUR 2.8 million, the project was grant financed by the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) with EUR 1.87 million, to which the European Union and Sweden are the largest contributors. Denmark supported the project with EUR 956,000 for technical assistance during both the implementation and project preparation phases.
Together with its project partners, including the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, E5P and its contributors, and the LEPL Municipal Development Fund of Georgia, Nefco inaugurated the project on 4 May 2022 and visited two of the modernised schools, Public School No. 55 and LEPL First Experimental Public School in Tbilisi, to present the implemented energy-efficiency measures.
“We are very pleased to celebrate our first implemented project in Georgia. Together with our project partners, it has been a privilege to see the country’s progress in implementing its energy reforms and moving towards a green energy transition. We are happy to continue supporting Georgia through the new project, which was signed today and will benefit, in particular, the more vulnerable communities,” commented Trond Moe, Managing Director at Nefco, in Tbilisi today.
Both the implemented project and the newly signed project ‘Rehabilitation and Energy Efficiency Improvements in Public Schools in Mountainous Regions in Georgia’ are characterised by their significant environmental and social impacts in Georgia. The implemented energy-efficiency project is expected to result in annual reductions of about 5,000 MWh in heat and electricity consumption, with a decrease of 1,100 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The actual savings will be monitored on a continuous basis for a ten-year period. The implemented project has created good and comfortable learning environments for schoolchildren and municipal workers. The second Nefco project in Georgia will support energy-efficiency modernisations and renovations in 15 public schoolsin mountainous regions in Georgia.
“First of all, I would like to say that we appreciate Nefco’s and E5P’s role in helping Georgia overcome the challenges we are facing and for ensuring that they are responsive to our priority needs. The project ‘Rehabilitation and Energy-efficiency Improvement in Public Schools in Mountainous Regions in Georgia’ is supporting Georgia’s transition to a green economy and helping to build more resilient and efficient infrastructure, while improving the learning environment for students in less-developed parts of our country and benefiting vulnerable social groups of the population. I believe that the project will have significant environmental and social impacts and bring many benefits, such as meeting the minimum requirements for appropriate infrastructure for teaching and improved comfort levels and safety for students and teachers. I am confident that this will be a catalyst for greater energy efficiency in the future,” said Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia.
Nefco’s second project in Georgia will build on the lessons learned from the first completed project and be expanded into more challenging settings in less-developed parts of the country, benefiting vulnerable social groups of the population. Alongside the positive environmental impacts and energy-efficiency improvements, the new project will support the development of other UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially education, health and gender equality. Both Nefco projects are aligned with the new laws on energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings introduced by Georgia and are part of the wider reform agenda associated with the EU Georgia Association Agreement.
“The E5P donors are proud of this first Nefco project and its continuation in remote mountainous regions of Georgia. The E5P donors, led by the European Union, remain committed to such crucial investments, delivering a multitude of environmental and social benefits alongside the reform agenda,” commented Ewa Manik, Associate Director at E5P.
“The EU, the biggest contributor to the E5P Fund, is pleased to support energy-efficiency renovations of schools in Georgia. The E5P projects implemented by Nefco bring the economic, environmental and health benefits of energy-efficiency measures to municipalities across the country. We are looking forward to boosting renovations of buildings in Georgia with large-scale investment programmes underpinned by reform assistance together with our Team Europe partners,” said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia.
The total investment of the new project, signed today in Tbilisi, is EUR 6.5 million. Nefco’s loan financing totals EUR 3.9 million and E5P grant financing EUR 2.6 million. Sweden has financed the project development costs and is expected to allocate financing for technical assistance during the project implementation, which is due to start at the end of 2022.
“Sweden is pleased to contribute to Georgia’s green transition, including improved energy efficiency. We have invested over EUR 8 million in the E5P fund for Georgia, as the largest bilateral donor. Similarly, we are one of the main stakeholders in Nefco, the Nordic Green Bank, together with the other Nordic countries. Together, we provide co-financing grants for municipal sector projects across Georgia to improve energy efficiency and boost progress on a multitude of other environmental and social issues. The Swedish assistance should be seen in the wider context of our strong political, financial and technical support to Georgia’s reforms for European integration,” said Ulrik Tideström, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia.
Energy-efficiency measures in the new project will include insulation of building envelopes, replacement of doors and windows, installation of new heating and ventilation systems as well as measures for reducing electricity consumption. Structural improvements are also included in the projects due to the poor conditions of the school buildings. The implemented renovations and installed energy-efficiency measures will extend the lifetime of the buildings.
Since 2010, Nefco has financed over 170 similar energy-efficiency modernisation projects in public buildings in Ukraine, and it is currently implementing its initial projects in Moldova, the first of which was completed in autumn 2021. Together with E5P, Nefco has completed 36 energy-efficiency projects in Eastern Europe.
Nefco, the Nordic Green Bank, is an international financial institution (IFI) that provides risk capital for Nordic green solutions. Established in 1990 by the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, Nefco serves the interest of its owners. Our task is to work with concrete actions to accelerate the green transition. By focusing on small and medium-sized projects with tangible results, we have been able to demonstrate how to implement climate and environmental projects in a sustainable and cost-efficient way. We evaluate our impact against the EU Taxonomy, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and our own environmental criteria. Over the years, Nefco has implemented some 1,500 private and public projects across different sectors all over the world. Nefco’s headquarters is located in Helsinki, Finland. Read more at www.nefco.int
The Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) is a multi-donor and multi-International Financial Institution (IFI) support fund created thanks to an initiative of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union in 2009. The E5P fund for Georgia totals EUR 40.56 million, representing pledges made by the European Union as the largest contributor to the fund (EUR 20.4 million), and Sweden (EUR 8 million), Germany (EUR 4 million), Norway (EUR 3 million), Denmark (EUR 0.5 million), Finland (EUR 0.4 million), Lithuania (EUR 0.35 million), USA (EUR 0.3 million), Estonia (EUR 0.15 million), Poland (EUR 0.13 million), Czech Republic (EUR 0.1 million), Slovak Republic (EUR 0.1 million) and TaiwanBusiness EBRD TC Fund (EUR 0.13 million). Georgia is also a contributor with EUR 3 million. The fund provides grant co-financing for municipal sector projects to improve energy efficiency and boost a multitude of other environmental and social impacts, especially in the wider context of the reform agenda associated with the EU Georgia Association Agreement. Read more at www.e5p.eu/georgia
EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell awarded the winners in six categories covering print, broadcast, online, and photo journalism. Ambassador Marek Szczygieł, Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission awarded the winner of the Special Prize for conflict-sensitive journalism contributing to confidence building and peace.
Ambassador Carl Hartzell emphasized the importance of the EU Prize: “The 10th anniversary of the EU Journalism Prize is taking place against the backdrop of war in Europe. An unprovoked and unjustified war waged by Russia against Ukraine.
While we are in no mood for celebration this year, our desire to pay tribute to professional, honest and courageous media is stronger than ever.
This year we mark the 3rd of May Press Freedom Day as Ukrainian journalists sacrifice their lives to share the truth about Russia’s barbaric actions. And as Russia has further restrained its press freedom and is feeding its population with disinformation and propaganda.
The purpose of the EU Prize for Journalism has probably never been more relevant than now, as we have stronger reasons than ever to value those who serve the truth with strong ethics and professionalism.
In support of this objective, I am proud to launch the 11th edition of the EU Journalism Prize today. As always, we hope that this Prize will serve to recognise and inspire experienced journalists as well as to attract newcomers to this very important profession.”
Ambassador Marek Szczygieł, Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission: “The EUMM Special Prize for Peace Journalism is more relevant than ever in light of the ongoing Russian aggression on Ukraine. This is a tragic reminder that peace in Europe cannot be taken for granted. With their conflict-sensitive reporting, journalists can contribute to confidence-building and conflict-resolution. With our annual EUMM Peace Prize, we celebrate journalists who, with their stories, improve the prospects for peace in Georgia and the wider region”.
The winners and finalists of the EU Prize for Journalism 2021 are:
A: Best story in print or online media
Winner: Tamar Babuadze (Indigo)
Honourable mentions: Nino Lomadze, Maradia Tsaava
B: Best feature story in broadcast or online media
Winner: Anastasia Slovinskaia (Radio Liberty)
Honourable mentions: Gvantsa Nadibaidze, Ana Maskharashvili
C: Best investigative story in print, online, or broadcast media
Winner: Zurab Modebadze (Liberty Monitor)
Honourable mentions: Tskriala Shermadini, Nino Ramishvili
D: Best online or print blog, opinion or column in print, online or broadcast media
Winner: Khatia Ghoghoberidze (On.ge)
Honourable mentions: Kamran Mamedli, Tea Topuria
E: The most innovative and original piece of work in print, broadcast or online media
Winner: Tinatin Nachkebia (Indigo)
Honourable mentions: Nata Tabidze, Ketevan Tutberidze
F: Best documentary photo reflecting EU values
Winner: Giorgi Shengelia (Indigo)
Honourable mentions: Sophio Mdivnishvili, Saba Gorgodze
G: Best conflict-sensitive journalistic work (EUMM special prize)
Winner: Zviad Mchedlishvili (newscaucasus.com)
Honourable mentions: Oktiabrina Tsikoridze, Suliko Tsitsikashvili, Mariam Jatchvadze.
The winners of the first six categories will receive a cash prize of approximately 6 000 GEL each, while the winner of the EUMM Special Prize will receive a one-month fellowship at the Institute of War and Peace Reporting in London.
The winning works can be found at www.euprizejournalism.eu
About the EU Prize for Journalism 2021:
155 journalists and photographers, who published their works in the online, broadcast and print media between 15 December, 2020 and 30 November, 2021, submitted them for the EU Prize for Journalism 2021.
All entries were reviewed and assessed by a four-member jury, composed of local and international media professionals:
- Natia Abramia- Manager of Quality Control and Risk Management for the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC. She has 20 years of experience working in Georgian and international media. At various times, since 2006, she has been the Editor of the BBC World News Radio, TV, Online and Social Platforms. After the announcement of the Brexit referendum in 2016, Natia Abramia was the producer of the BBC’s main political show – “Newsnight”. Currently, her job is to optimize the operations and resources of BBC and to increase management efficiency.
- Nana Sajaia- is an award-winning journalist and producer with a focus on the Post-Soviet region. A native of Georgia, currently she is a producer at the Fox News politics unit in the D.C Bureau. Nana has previously worked as an International Broadcaster at the Voice of America Georgian Service, where she covered Georgia and Eurasia-related topics for different media platforms in Georgian and English languages. She has extensively reported on major regional political developments, elections in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia’s occupation of Georgian territories, U.S.-Georgia relations, Eastern European partnership, NATO enlargement, and Kremlin disinformation in the Caucasus and Eurasia. Nana received a BA in English language from Tbilisi State University, and an MA in journalism and media management from Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA). In 2007 she was selected as a Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellow and did her Master’s studies in Journalism and Mass Communication at North Dakota State University. Nana has been practicing journalism for more than ten years now, served as an editor of local publications such as Georgia Today and weekly political magazine Liberali, and has worked for international media outlets in the region such as BBC World Service, France 24, and TOL. Before joining Fox News, Nana was a researcher at PEN American Center – a worldwide association of writers, defending freedom of expression and supporting persecuted writers.
- Lia Chakhunashvili- Over the past 20 years, Lia Chakhunashvili has managed several major media development programs in Georgia, when working at IREX and at BBC World Service Trust. She studied journalism at Tbilisi State University and earned a graduate degree in mass communications at San Jose State University. In 2007-2009, Lia Chakhunashvili was Dean at Caucasus School of Media, Caucasus University, and in 2010-2011 she was a member of the Public Broadcaster Board of Trustees.
- Guram Tsibakhashvili - A photographer. Has been delivering lectures in photography since 1991. Has participated in up to 60 exhibitions, including up to 20 personal ones. Has published articles on photography and contemporary art. Photo Editor of the Magazine “Amarta” since 1999 - 2007. Co-founder of "Tbilisi Photography House" since 2007. Invited Lecturer on the History of Photography at two Georgian universities (Tbilisi State University, Caucasus University).
More information is available at www.euprizejournalism.ge
The Kvareli EuroClub in Georgia marks its two-year anniversary today, with a special event attended by EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell, as well as the Ambassadors of the Netherlands, Austria, France, Turkey and Norway, and the Attaché of the Spanish Embassy in Georgia.
The Kvareli EuroClub was founded by Young European Ambassador Nika Gurini in November 2019, with the support of the EU NEIGHBOURS east regional communication programme. In the two years since then, more than 1,200 young people have benefited from the different projects and activities organised by the EuroClub.
The main mission of the EuroClub is to promote education and development among the general population and young people in particular, to raise civic awareness and to provide access to non-formal education and to spread European values.
As part of the activities organised by the EuroClub, local people have been able to take advantage of free English language courses, vocational training courses, and open libraries, among others.
In the long term, the EuroClub aims to expand and further develop its activities, reaching more people across the region and other parts of Georgia.
To take part and find out more about ongoing and upcoming activities, check out the document below or visit the Kvareli EuroClub Facebook page.
Remarks by EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell following the appointment of two members of the High Council of Justice
On 31 October, the Conference of Judges of Georgia elected two new judge members of the High Council of Justice. These appointments took place on the day after local elections and only four days after the publication of the Conference’s agenda. The appointees’ predecessors, two women, had unexpectedly resigned from their mandates whose terms had not expired. No announcement of candidates was made in advance of the appointments.
The appointments were hasty, non-transparent and non-competitive. They were therefore at odds with Georgia’s commitments aimed at increasing the independence, accountability, quality and trust in the Judiciary, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
This is a fifth setback in the area of the judiciary and rule of law in Georgia, within only four months. It follows the further appointments to the Supreme Court on 12 July which lacked “integrity, objectivity and credibility” according to the OSCE/ODIHR, the failure to fulfil the necessary judicial conditions to receive an extra 75 million EUR in EU macro-financial assistance by September 2021, the non-adoption on 7 September of the constitutional amendments on the Prosecutor General’s appointment and the lack - so far - of credible investigation and prosecution of the organisers of the 5 July violence targeting over 50 journalists and activists.
These developments demonstrate yet again the urgent need to launch an ambitious judicial reform through a broad, inclusive and cross-party reform process, to which the Georgian political parties committed.
The European Union calls once more on the Georgian authorities to uphold their reform commitments, including in the justice sector, in the interest of Georgian citizens and of the future of EU-Georgia relations.
The European Union reiterates that, while it remains fully committed to support Georgia’s reforms in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, the EU’s assistance to Georgia remains conditional on progress on key reforms.
In the midst of everything else that is going on these days, I would like to remind you that today is Car Free Day – an annual event organised in numerous cities all around Europe!
The idea of this day is to take a moment and reflect on the future of our cities and towns, and how to make them greener, calmer and more healthy places to live in.
In Georgia, 70% of air pollution is caused by cars and trucks. Here in Tbilisi, the number is even higher, making up for some 90% of total pollution.
Air pollution has a negative impact on health, increasing the risk of respiratory infections, fatigue, and heart and lung diseases.
To clean up the air is a key objective of the European Union, both within the EU itself and here in Georgia. We have been working in Georgia for many years to this end and our ambition remains high, including plans to invest in further equipment to better control air pollution.
We will also continue to invest in more sustainable transport alternatives, all with a view to allow all of us to breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives.
I hope you will join us!
And with that let me wish you all a carefree Car Free Day.
See video at: https://bit.ly/2XD20pg
Georgia has launched talks with the European Union for financial assistance for the next seven years. The talks organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia will continue from 9 to 11 February.
The first meeting was held on 9 February between the First Deputy Foreign Minister Vakhtang Makharoblishvili and the EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell.
The consultations will focus on the priorities of the EU financial assistance (during the period from 2021 to 2027), which will help Georgia implement EU-funded projects and programmes in the future.
Thematic sessions will focus on the following areas: development of trade and economy (DCFTA), business promotion, agriculture, industry, services, SME support, consumer protection and women’s involvement in business, communications (transport, energy and digitalization), green economy and road safety, improvement of education quality and access to international education, digital infrastructure and digital economy, rule of law and sustainable institutions , environment and climate, public engagement and democracy.
The EU allocates considerable financial assistance in support of the reforms ongoing in Georgia.
Talks on financial assistance between Georgia and the EU will end tomorrow.
In 2014-2020 financial assistance of the EU for Georgia amounted to €750 million.
The Administration of the MFA Georgia
During his mission to the region of Kakheti, Georgia, EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell visited two EU-supported energy efficiency projects in Telavi and Shilda. The projects have won international awards for their achievements and have participated in the EU Sustainable Energy Award for the Eastern Partnership.
The environmentally friendly winery in Georgia ShildaWine won the 2019 EU Sustainable Energy Award for the Eastern Partnership. With support from the EU and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, ShildaWine now uses energy-efficient technologies. The company has reduced its electricity consumption by up to 60% and now saves more than €60,000 per year.
The second EU-funded project ‘Biomass energy and energy-efficient technologies' won third place in the 2020 EU Sustainable Energy Award for the Eastern Partnership. The project helped two kindergartens in Telavi switch to energy-efficient biomass heating.
In an interview with BM Media, Carl Hartzell commented:
“The European Union plans to implement many projects in Kakheti in 2020-2021. We are trying to help the region realize the potential it has in different directions. We will try to use the wine industry and the waste generated from it as much as possible to produce energy. Energy efficiency will allow us to use natural resources to give the region more opportunities for heating. I am glad that the Parliament has adopted a law on energy efficiency, which helps us to take our cooperation to a new level. Ultimately, all of this will benefit the environment, the country and the people.”
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EU and Georgian Government launch pilot green waste separation, collection and recycling project in MarneuliFriday, 22 March 2019 10:47
A new waste separation, collection and recycling pilot project was launched in the Georgian city of Marneuli last week.
The aim of the project is to assist the Marneuli composting plant in improving the collection of green waste from local residents and municipal institutions.
This will be done by purchasing 30 containers, to be placed in different areas of the Marneuli, as well as 120 bins to be distributed among target residents and kindergartens for the collection of food waste.
The goal is to effectively utilise the green waste that currently goes into regional landfills – approximately 50% of total landfill – as compost, thereby also cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions.
The project was launched by Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia, and Khatia Tsilosani, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, as well as local government representatives including the Deputy of the State Representative-Governor in Kvemo Kartli Region and the Mayor of Marneuli.
The pilot initiative was designed and is supported by the EU-funded "Technical assistance for the improvement of waste management systems in Georgia" project, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Marneuli Composting Plant and the local government.
The Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Georgia, Janos Herman, recently paid a series of visits to agricultural and rural development initiatives in the country supported through the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The ENPARD site visits in Kvareli and Lagodekhi were part of the Ambassador’s two-day official programme in Kakheti to explore EU support to economic opportunities in the region.
The EU Ambassador visited the vineyard and orchards of the ENPARD agricultural cooperative “Saba” in Gavazi village, Kvareli municipality. He also stopped at several rural development initiatives and met with the members of the Local Action Group (LAG) in Lagodekhi municipality.
“Agriculture and rural development has an important role to play in the sustainable development of Georgia,” – said Ambassador Herman. “Nearly half of the country’s population lives in rural areas and is employed in agriculture. Revitalising rural economies and boosting Georgia’s potential in agriculture is therefore vital for increasing welfare and stimulating the country’s economy,” he added.
In addition, the EU ambassador took part in the climate diplomacy week clean-up action with local youth and planted a tree in the EU-supported Lagodekhi Dendrology Park. In a press release, the ENPARD said the visits to EU-funded agricultural and rural development projects in Kakheti offered the Ambassador first-hand information about the successes and challenges of Georgia’s rural community, as well as the results of the EU’s support in this sector.
- See more at: http://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/news/eu-ambassador-georgia-revitalising-rural-economies-vital-stimulating#sthash.2nasd03x.dpuf