Tbilisi, Georgia, March 30 – Georgian civil society leaders with its international partner, Heavenly Culture World Peace Restoration of Light (HWPL) organized a seminar on the role of civil society in peace-building process, on the occasion of the 2nd Annual Commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) at David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia.
The commemoration was initiated from Seoul, South Korea on March 14 with 1,000 participants from politics, religion, and civic groups at home and abroad. This international advocacy events were held in 166 cities of 71 countries including Georgia, Ukraine and Germany to raise awareness of local communities on how a peaceful environment can be facilitated by the principles of the DPCW.
During his speech in the Tbilisi seminar, Mr. Avtandil Otinashivili, editor-in-chief of "Newsday Georgia", who had attended the Seoul conference said, “The DPCW is of great importance for every country, including Georgia. We want to avoid wars and together we must do our best to leave our children a planet without war.”
In Tbilisi, religious leaders, youth representatives and media participated, and video materials including keynote speech of the chairman Mr. Man Hee Lee of HWPL and the footsteps of the DPCW and the world wide campaign to legislate peace were presented.
Chairman Lee, a Korean War veteran himself, appealed the need of peaceful means of conflict resolution and the responsibility of every individual in peace-building during his speech. “Law of today cannot compensate for the lives sacrificed from war. What we need is an instrument that protects human life, the very law that prevents war.” “Rather than waiting to take peace for granted, it is we who should put an end to war to protect humanity and our globe, and leave peace as a legacy for future generations.”
The participants also discussed the urgent necessity of carrying out peacekeeping process guided under the DPCW and the role of civil society in order to avoid any tragedy like the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.
Ms. Mariem Iremadze, the chairwoman of Association for Development, Education and Social Involvement said, “We[Georgians] have suffered from the negative effects of war in our country. We all need to promote peace in our society as much as we can.” She also pointed out, “Because the implementation of the DPCW is connected to the theme of collaborative governance, the government and the citizens should support each other for promoting peace and resolving conflicts in our country.”
For civil society’s part, she explained what youth can specifically do by saying, “Youth is our hope and future of the society. I think engaging and inspiring more youth groups to promote peace is the best effort that our organization can make and we will continue to involve in the activities with HWPL to the aim of promoting peace”
Ms. Kayla Jang, a former delegation of HWPL to Georgia also addressed the importance of civil society in building collaborative governance by referring the recent 43rd round of Geneva International Discussions (GID) on March 28, co-chaired by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU, and the UN that brings together the representatives Georgia, Russia, and Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as the US.
“Since the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the GID has been the one and only remained platform for the peace-talk. But what we heard, with a sense of disappointment, from the March 28 talk was only that, it still couldn’t finalize the draft joint statement on non-use of force among the relevant parties. In order to push it forward, we need a bottom-up approach for global peace. The civil also has to raise voice on their aspiration to the state of being without war and participate in the peace-building process with the authorities.” she said.
During the interview, Mr. A. Otinashivili also said, “Unfortunately, the round of the Geneva consultations ended in vain, but this does not mean that we should stop discussing topical issues. On the contrary, we must continue the peace process.” And he emphasized, “Civil society and the media are of great importance. Civil society must consolidate the people around one goal, to achieve peaceful resolution of conflicts. And the media should do everything so that people can hear this slogan.”
The DPCW with its 10 articles and 38 clauses is advocating a peaceful means to resolve wars and conflicts. It includes provisions such as avoiding war-related actions, respecting international law and ethnic/religious harmony, and promoting a culture of peace.
- The host organization, HWPL is affiliated with UN DPI and UN ECOSOC and announced the DPCW on March 14, 2016, to strengthen a solidarity of peace through a comprehensive cooperation of all sectors of society and to establish legally binding international law necessary for peacebuilding.
- Full Text of the DPCW, http://hwpl.kr/en/initiative/lawForPeace
- The latest Geneva International Discussions(GID), https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/376450
On 13-14 February, the Georgian capital Tbilisi hosted the first training seminar for the country’s civil society organisations and local authorities on drafting grant applications.
The event was organised by the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Civil Society Facility at the request of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia and aimed to prepare Georgians to make high-quality applications to Calls for Proposals for projects aimed at strengthening civil society organisations and local authorities.
During the two-day seminar, over 20 participants learned how to prepare concept notes and proposals to apply for grants under the abovementioned thematic EU programmes. They obtained practical skills and knowledge on project preparation, based on the Logical Framework Approach.
Similar training seminars will be organised in the next 10 days when more than 100 representatives of Georgian civil society organisations and local authorities will participate in four workshops in Tbilisi and Kutaisi.
The EU is the world’s largest market and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine offers new opportunities for companies in these countries. Fashion house ‘Materia’, based in Tbilisi, is one of them, says an article published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Offering its customers a premium clothing line and more affordable products, the fashion house also sells its clothing to various public institutions in Georgia including the army, police, post office staff and many more.
It works closely with the Georgian Rugby Federation to produce uniforms for the national team’s junior players and a wide range of rugby clubs, including Goris Jiki, which won this year’s domestic club championship.
The business has secured financing to modernise its equipment and introduce the best workplace health and safety practices for a new clothing factory, in line with EU standards. This will help the fashion house to take full advantage of export opportunities. The firm was one of the first to benefit from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line.
The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line – a joint initiative between the EBRD and the European Union – targets small and medium-sized enterprises in Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. All three countries are signatories to an Association Agreement and benefit from signing up to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU.
The Credit Line helps interested businesses to make the most of open access to the EU, the world’s largest trading block, by modernising their production and services in line with EU standards.
The 25th Jubilee of the Georgian Aviation was marked at the military airfield of Alekseevka Combined Air Squadron. Minister of Defence Levan Izoria, Chief of the General Staff of the GAF Major General Vladimer Chachibaia, Aviation and Air Defence Commander LTC Sergo Ninua, Ministry of Defence representatives and high ranking officers attended the 25th anniversary .
Before beginning the celebrations, Minister laid wreath on the memorial of hero warriors fallen in fights for the territorial integrity of Georgia. A solemn ceremony was opened by the Georgian State Anthem. To honour the memory of the fallen soldiers, the invited guests held a minute of silence.
Defence Minister addressed the military personnel and congratulated them on the 25th anniversary of the formation of Georgian aviation. Minister Levan Izoria focused on the implemented defence reforms and informed the audience about the future plans of modernizing military equipment in cooperation with Georgia`s strategic partners and purchasing unmanned aerial vehicles.
The MoD leadership awarded the military servicemen with service medals and presents. Minister Levan Izoria granted four military servicemen a 7,62X54 mm sniper rifle and Major General Vladimer Chachibaia awarded two military servicemen with service guns. LTC Sergo Ninua bestowed medal “Devoted to Motherland” on five military for 20 or more years of outstanding military service and II rank medal “For Impeccable Service in Defence System”- on one military serviceman.
After the event, the military equipment was displayed at the military airfield.
The formation of the Georgian military aviation dates back in August 20 1918, when the first Georgian Military Aviation Unit was formed under the decision of Georgian Parliament. In February of 1921, Georgian military pilots fought vigorously against the Soviet occupation and carried out several successful attacks against the adversary near Tbilisi.
After Georgia regained independence in 1992, Military-Air Force and Air-Defence Division was established which was made into the Main Division in 1993. In spring of 2010, Military Air Force became subordinated to Land Forces. Today, Aviation and Air Defence Command is in the subordination of the General Staff of the GAF.
In the last period of time, the qualification and combat preparation level of engineer-technical personnel and pilots has significantly improved through numerous exercises and trainings on the basis of multi-annual cooperation with NATO and Partner countries. With the help of the allied countries, Georgian military education system was streamlined as result, National Defence Academy and Giorgi Antsukhelidze NCO Training Centre are preparing aviation officers and sergeants.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili urges everyone against jumping into conclusions on the case of Azerbaijani citizen Afgan Mukhtarli and against discrediting state institutions.
As the Prime Minister emphasized during today's Government meeting, he understands the concerns of citizens and human rights NGOs, but drawing premature conclusions is unacceptable.
"It is especially unacceptable to discredit the institutions in charge of national security. An investigation is underway. The Interior Minister made a statement, we maintain contact with our Azerbaijani colleagues, and I urge everyone against jumping into conclusions until the investigation is over. Fostering the discreditation of our state institutions will make protecting our security a very challenging task. Trust between our citizens and the state is what sustains genuinely democratic state-building. Therefore, I once again urge everyone to abstain from jumping into conclusions and from discrediting our state institutions. Of course, I urge our law enforcement to probe into this case as fast as possible, so that no one in our country may doubt the validity of respect for human rights, to assure everyone that the insinuations circulating in the past two days, including those suggesting that he was transferred, for example, are but groundless. It is absolutely unacceptable. Of course, I rule out the slightest possibility of our state institutions being involved. An investigation is underway, so we must wait for its findings," the Prime Minister of Georgia stated.
On March 28 the EU decision on visa free travel for Georgia enters into force. “The decision on visa free travel to Georgia was made by the European Parliament on February 2. March 28 is a historical day for modern Georgia as it his opportunity becomes real for Georgian citizens. I would like to congratulate our citizens with this significant progress and wish Georgia good luck on EU integration path”, - the Chair of the EU Integration Committee, Tamar Khulordava stated at the briefing.
This decision is a result of the reforms held in Georgia with active participation of all Governmental branches. “It is valuation of the wide-scale legislative and institutional reforms we started in February, 2013 since Georgia was granted VLAP. Georgian citizens were the witnesses of the entire process. We expected the day when we would be able to state that since now on Georgian citizens with biometric passports are entitled to travel visa free to EU”.
This day and this decision are historical not only because travel to Europe will be technically simplified but because this day is the symbol that Georgia regains its appurtenant historical place in European family amongst the countries to which Georgia always belonged according to the value system, approaches and ambition. She also spoke about active campaign on visa liberalization for public awareness. “We shall take due responsibility to realization of this right. I am glad to see the active campaign by Georgian Government to inform Georgian citizens about visa free travel to Europe and Schengen. All the citizens shall realize the responsibility imposed on us as we all saw the vast time realization of this opportunity took. It is no reality and it is the matter of our dignity how we will realize it”.
She called on Georgian citizens to have high responsibility and adhere to the regulations established in EU. “Once again, let me congratulate you with this progress and I wish it not to be the last step of our progress to European family. We have higher ambitions and we are aspired to make our European wishes come true. Europe is our common future and we shall stand united on this path”.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry hosted bilateral political consultations between the Georgian and French Foreign Ministries. Consultations from the Georgian side were led by Deputy Foreign Minister Vakhtang Makharoblishvili and from the French side – by the Director at the Directorate of European Cooperation at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Development, Florence Mangin.
Discussions during the meeting focused on a broad spectrum of bilateral, as well as multilateral co-operation. Special attention was paid to the need to deepen political and economic relations between the two countries as well as to the importance of opening the South Caucasus Office of the French Development Agency (AFD) in Tbilisi, as well as of close co-operation with the Movement of the Enterprises of France (MEDEF). Talking points also included prospects for the further development of relations in the areas of defence, culture tourism and education.
Special mention was made of the necessity of introducing direct flights between Georgia and France.
While on the theme of the European Union, the Georgian Deputy Minister said that the effective implementation of the Association Agreement including DCFTA, as well as the visa liberalization process will contribute to deepening cooperation between Georgia and the EU, in particular in terms of people-to-people contacts.
Vakhtang Makharoblishvili spoke about the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories, creeping annexation, human rights violations, the so-called treaties with the occupation regimes and the importance of the international community’s strong support.
For its part, the French delegation reaffirmed France’s support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as for its European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
The sides also discussed important regional and global issues on the international agenda.
EU completed all the formal procedures and now Georgia is the third country in the lists from where honey will be exported to EU.As the Minister of Agriculture Levan Davitashvili announced, the ministry of agriculture implemented important activities to help the development of beekeeping and promoted the export of Georgian honey to European countries.“According to EU demands, there have been legislative changes implemented, which aimed to improve the relations with EU. More precisely,it was a plan of monitoring of veterinary drugs and other remaining substances. Since 1st of July, 2015, “Honey Technical Regulation” was enabled and it creates certain standards for producing honey” -declared Levan Davitashvili.
Business operator is due to produce the honey which suits the technical regulation standards and sells it on the market according to regulations. Therefore, honey producers will have an opportunity to sell their honey on European market if they consider production standards.
The three Georgian writing systems have been recognized by UNESCO as monuments of intangible cultural heritage.
This decision was made on November 30, at the 11th session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Cultural Heritage, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the committee's session, which is scheduled for November 28 through December 3, the Georgian side is represented by Ecaterine Siradze-Delaunay (Georgia's Permanent Delegate to UNESCO), Nikoloz Antidze (General Director at the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia), Ketevan Kandelaki (Secretary General of the Georgian National Commission for UNESCO at the Foreign Ministry), Vakhtang Jaoshvili (Georgia's Permanent Representative to the African Union), Rusudan Mirzikashvili (Head of UNESCO and International Relations Unit at the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia), and Konstantine Natsvlishvili as an expert for the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia invited by the UNESCO Committee for Cultural Heritage.
Said nomination was prepared with the support of the Georgian Government and under the leadership of the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia, and it was endorsed at the international level by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The preparation of the nomination involved the Institute of Linguistics, Ivane Javakhishvili State University in Tbilisi, the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, the National Center of Manuscripts, the National Archives of Georgia, the National Library of Georgian Parliament, the National Museum, the Patriarchate of Georgia, experts in intangible material heritage, and individual linguists. Earlier, on March 19, the Continuous Culture of the Three Ancient Georgian Writing Methods were recognized as national monuments of intangible heritage.
The continuous culture of the three ancient Georgian scripts are a result of the coexistence of the three writing systems ("mrglovani", "nuskhuri", and "Mkhedruli"), which have served various cultural and social purposes and have their roots in the centuries-long evolution of Georgian script. The three methods of writing boast a diversity of usage and a continuous culture of coexistence, literary heritage and culture, alphabet teaching methodology (Dedaena, Iakob Gogebashvili's method for compiling alphabet textbooks), topography, and graphics and media design. The unity of the three methods has preserved the lexis and grammar of Georgian literary language, which span fifteen centuries and form the foundation of the development of Georgian literary language.
The recognition of the three Georgian writing methods by UNESCO as monuments of intangible cultural heritage is extremely important to Georgian society and diaspora, as well as to the cultural and educational institutes of Georgia and the country in general, also for promoting the image of Georgia as a country with a highly developed culture.
This nomination contributes to the preservation of Georgia's cultural diversity, strengthening of social tolerance and sociocultural ties based on respect, promoting Georgian studies at the international level, boosting cooperation between research institutes and organizations specializing in the Georgian language, alphabet, and literature, which makes the Georgian alphabet in general a powerful defense mechanism.