Eastern Neighbourhood: Forestry project highlights positive developments

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:25
An EU-funded forestry project has highlighted the progress made in the forestry sector at its final meeting in December. Attendees at the last meeting of the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) II Programme, from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, suggested ways to ensure that the project’s results are long-term.
One of more important deliverables of the Programme is increased collaboration between neighboring countries on forest management. Other important achievements included inputs to country forestry sector programs, study tours to EU Member State countries and bilateral dialogue, building community and youth awareness about the importance of forests, promoting new protected areas, and forest biodiversity conservation.
Key long-term achievements will continue to benefit the region after the programme’s completion, such as the National Program Advisory Committees (NPACs) which was created by FLEG, and contributed towards the institutional reform process as well as providing independent and valuable data.
FLEG also contributed to making forest management and governance more transparent, built educational and professional capacity in the forestry sector, fostered collaboration between local communities and the forestry sector and facilitated community participation in the sector for sustainable forest management.

Eastern Partnership to develop regional energy cooperation

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:03
The Eastern Partnership Platform on Energy Security has hosted representatives from the EU, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Participants gathered to discuss energy security, renewable energy, energy efficiency and nuclear safety at its 16thmeeting in Brussels.
The meeting focused on regional energy cooperation and EU-funded energy programmes and initiatives, such as: EU4Energy; the ‘Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy going East’; Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P); the EU technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL); and the High Quality Studies to support the Activities under the Eastern Partnership (HiQSTEP).
Participants were looking for solutions to energy efficiency in the housing sector, discussing the construction of missing infrastructure links and ways to bring partner countries' energy-related rules more in line with EU rules.

Georgia should continue reforms to prevent corruption, says new report

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 15:20

In a report published today, the Council of Europe's anti-corruption body, Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), acknowledged considerable progress in reducing corruption in Georgia and improving the country’s standing in international indices, and called on the Georgian authorities to continue implementing  the reforms aimed at preventing corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors.
Among the positive developments noted by GRECO is the introduction of a monitoring mechanism for submitting asset declarations by public officials including parliamentarians, judges and high-level prosecutors.  It is crucial now that the new rules be extended to cover all prosecutors, that they are effectively applied in practice and kept under constant review.
GRECO noted measures taken to prevent corruption among the members of parliament and increase accountability of their work, and recommends further enhancing transparency of the legislative process through the publication of all draft legislation, and developing an enforceable code of ethics/conduct. It also called for mandatory disclosure of parliamentarians’ conflicts of interest, in order to monitor and determine when and how personal interests of MPs might influence the decision-making process.
GRECO stressed the need to carry on with the important reform of the judiciary. It is of prime importance that the bill on the third stage of reform which is pending before the Parliament should now be adopted and implemented. GRECO recommends reforming the recruitment, promotion and transfer of judges, introducing an objective and transparent system for the allocation of cases (e.g. via random assisgnment), defining more precisely disciplinary offences, and limiting immunity of judges to activities related to their participation in judicial decision-making (”functional immunity”).

 

Georgia in the report of Human Rights Watch

Published in Politics
Friday, 13 January 2017 16:38

Human Rights Watch, American-founded international non-governmental organization has published the 2017 World Report, which also refers to Georgia.According to the report, free access to communication operators network by the security services has caused risks in terms of privacy. 
It also says there is less chance law enforcers to be held responsible for their crimes.  According to the document other concerning fields are media freedom and LGBT people rights. 

EU Parliament to vote visa liberalization issue for Georgia at February 2

Published in Politics
Friday, 13 January 2017 13:55

The European Parliament will vote visa liberalization issue for Georgian citizens at plenary session at February 2. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is said in the European Parliament’s February agenda.
As you know, LIBE Committee supported visa free regime for Georgian citizens. 45 deputies participated in the voting. Only 2 deputies came against visa liberalization for Georgia. The Plenary session will hold in February.
Coreper confirmed an achieved agreement with European Parliament at 13 of December, 2016. As it is reported, Georgian citizens will allowed in Schengen Zone without visas in the nearest future.

Georgia to develop renewable sources of energy

Published in Politics
Thursday, 12 January 2017 10:30
The EU, TBC Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are to work together to support the expansion of renewable sources of energy, through the construction of a hydropower plant (HPP) in northern Georgia. The project is in line with the strategic priorities of the Georgian government to develop renewable energy generation and infrastructure. 
The power plant construction will benefit the citizens of Georgia by reinforcing energy security, increasing competitiveness in the energy market as well as by boosting the development of the Racha region through the creation of new jobs.
The Lukhuni 2 HPP will have an installed capacity of 17.2 MW and an expected annual generation of 86.3 GWh. In summer the power plant will be eligible to export electricity to Turkey, while in winter it will play a key role in providing electricity to northern Georgia.
The combined investment from the institutions totals EUR 13.5 million. The EBRD financing and the EU's support for the investment will allow to implement EU standards during the construction of the HPP and to introduce more efficient and quality-oriented management practices, creating a benchmark for the industry. 
The EU’s support for the hydropower project is part of these a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) activities and benefits from funding under the EU4Business initiative.

President will be listened on February 7

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 16:10

At the beginning of the Spring Session of Parliament, the President will be listened. According to the Constitution of Georgia, speech of President is considered once in a year. 
According to the Rules of Procedure, it usually takes place on the first day of the spring session. The spring session will open at February 7. 

Award ceremony of the winners of the second stage of “Startup Georgia”

Published in Economics
Thursday, 29 December 2016 10:05

Nine completely innovative ideas and fully-funded ventures have been added to the most viable sector of Georgian economy - the high-tech and innovations-based industry. The authors of the winning projects of the second stage of "Startup Georgia" were awarded today.
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the ceremony. The Prime Minister considers "Startup Georgia" to be a completely new step in the direction of creating a novel Georgia and a fresh Georgian economy.
"This leads to the transformation of the economy and shifting people's mindset towards the entrepreneurship. This will ensure that individuals become employers rather than mere employees. This is the main implication of this groundbreaking project," - the Prime Minister commented and indicated that establishment of the "Startup Georgia" Fund is the main achievement of the Government.
The Prime Minister also congratulated 9 winning entrepreneurs, who were bold enough to venture completely new ideas for the purpose of acquiring the funding. The Prime Minister urged young people never to think of others who have already implemented similar ideas or of that realization of their innovations is not worth it.
"It is always worth it! Even if only one step out of 10 or 100 ones that you take turns our to be correct, it is still worth it - since said step might completely alter our economy. That is why I consider this project to be completely outstanding and I would like to particularly congratulate you," - the Prime Minister noted in his address to the winners.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili also thanked all stakeholders who contributed to the implementation of the initiative, including the Ministry of Economy and Georgia's Innovation and Technology Agency as well as Partnership Fund and young generation, who vigorously engaged in the process of realization of this important idea.
"This is a completely new step in the direction of creating novel Georgia and fresh Georgian economy," - the Prime Minister stated.
According to the head of the Government, funding of a qualitatively novel ventures is a new opportunity for younger generation to obtain funding without having to apply for the collateral loans.
"The contest took place in a completely transparent environment. Foreign experts from California and Europe with a specific field-related backgrounds also participated in the selection process. This is a qualitative change of our economy that is rooted in encouragement of the most rapidly developing sectors. The most important outcome of the said endeavour is shifting younger generation's mindset towards becoming employers rather than mere employees fro the very beginning," - the Prime Minister noted in his conversation with the reporters.
The total amount of awards issued to the nine winning projects is around 900 000 GEL. Winning projects mainly concentrate on tourism, agriculture, chemical industry, production of construction materials and other areas.

The direct air link to be established between Georgia and India

Published in Economics
Monday, 26 December 2016 16:45

The direct air link to be established between Georgia and India. This statement was made by the Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze at Parliament. According to him, this agreement was made with Indian side during the visit with Indian Delegation.
"We have very active relations with India. My deputy Zviad Gonadze returned from India today. We talk about direct air traffic, innovation, trade, education and cooperation "- Janelidze said.

MEETING OF PRIME MINISTERS OF TURKEY AND GEORGIA

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 16:32

"On behalf of the Government of Georgia, I strictly condemn the series of terrorist attacks occurring in Turkey in the recent past and express solidarity with the families of the victims, people and authorities of the Republic of Turkey" noted H.E. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia in his conversation with H.E. Binali Yildirim, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey held at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul today.
Discussions were focused on the significance of the strategic partnership between the two countries. It was noted at the meeting that Republic of Turkey and Georgia have been developing the cooperation in various directions with a shared effort for a great number of years. Parties spoke about the significance of the Eurasia Tunnel Project, which is officially launched today. In the opinion of the Prime Minister of Georgia, tunnel connecting the continents of Europe and Asia creates new transport opportunities and gives rise to a significant role of the initiative with a revisiting concept on the Silk Road. Focus has been made on the current trade and economic relations existing between the two countries and prospects for their further advancement. Hosting Prime Minister invited the visiting colleague and delegation of Georgia to a business lunch after the official meeting in Istanbul.

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