On 19 March 2016, Georgia for the eights time joined Earth Hour, the global movement for climate action, which celebrates the tenth edition of its signature lights off event in the world. At 8:30 PM, landmarks and public buildings all over the country symbolically went dark for an hour followed by the street actions and rallies in support of greener and safer future of the planet.
The Earth Hour sites in Tbilisi included Narikala Fortress, Peace Bridge, TV Tower, Presidential Palace, Parliament, Government Chancellery, City Hall, Youth Palace, UN House, government offices and main avenues.
Hundreds of Earth Hour supporters, including for the citizens, Government officials, representatives of civil society, international organizations and embassies, came to the Round Garden in front of the UN House for a traditional lights-off celebration with live music, candles and the Shadow Theatre show.
Gigla Agulashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia; Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i.; Nana Janashia, Executive Director of CENN; and Giorgi Sanadiradze, Head of WWF Caucasus, addressed the participants of the Earth Hour event.
The presenters – the well-known blogger, artist and musician, Zura Balanchivadze, and teenage TV anchor, Gigo Shiukashvili, talked about green life-style and our joint responsibility for protecting the planet.
Youth eco club members made the Earth Hour symbol 60+ with candles to show that climate action needs to go beyond just one hour.
Earth Hour in Tbilisi was organised by the United Nations in Georgia, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, Tbilisi City Hall, Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) and WWF Caucasus.
Born in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has grown to become the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and organizations in over 170 countries and territories to take tangible climate action.
Last year, more than 10 thousand of iconic landmarks were switched off all over the globe. +378 Million twits and +36.5 Million Facebook posts followed the Earth Hour events.
The Chair, Dimitri Khundadze held the meeting with the field experts to discuss demographic security issues. The parties discussed development of demographic security policy document.
According to the Head of UNFPA Georgia Office, Lela Bakradze, the Fund will render technical support to the Committee and experts.
As D. Khundadze stated, the final version of the document will be submitted to the Parliament in June and shall be put in state rank. “That’s why we started development of state demographic security concept. We have already drafted the initial version to be further improved. In April, we serve the visit to Bulgaria to discuss and revise the document with the international experts and we think that for June, the Parliament will consider the final version political version serving as the basis for the number one problem of our country to be put in state rank. The Government shall provide solution mechanisms in reasonable terms”.
MPs will consider with the I reading the draft on Early and Pre-School Education, defining legal basis for early and pre-school education, establishment of hereof institutions, authority and activity thereof etc.
MPs will also consider with the I reading the draft on Consumers’ Rights, regulating general principles of rights of the natural persons in contractual relations with the traders in view of personal usage of his/her products.
MPs will also consider with the I reading the draft on Elimination of Domestic Violence and Protection and Aid to the Victims, envisaging separation of the child from oppressor parents with the decision of the social servant. The hereof procedures are specified in the draft. Disobedience to the decision of the social servant will entail legal responsibility.
The Bureau discussed new legislative initiatives, including the draft on Tax Code, specifying the preferences to the income tax for the highlanders. The draft applies the tax preferences to the income taxes valid till January 1, 2016 for the inhabitants of the highland villages, communities and settlements under the law on Socio-Economic and Cultural Development of Highland Regions. The initiator, Giorgi Volski asked for accelerated consideration.
The Bureau discussed organizational issues, including nomination of the President of Ana Dolidze to the vacant position of the Member of the Supreme Court.
The UNM MP, Mikheil Machavariani raised the issue to hear the Energy Minister, Kakhi Kaladze asking for involvement of the Procedural Committee. There are questions, he stated, to be answered by the Minister. “We want to ask the Chair of the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee, Giorgi Kakhiani to invite the Energy Minister, K. Kaladze within any format. We have questions to be answered”.
The Speaker, David Usupashvili met with the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo. The parties discussed bilateral relations and cooperation, EU and NATO aspiration of Georgia, visa liberalization, EUAA and DCFTA.
As Mr. Minister stated, Spain supports EU and NATO aspiration of Georgia. The parties spoke about economic relations as well. After the meeting, the Speaker noted that Spain once more confirmed support to Georgia in various directions.
“Spain once more expressed significant commitment to partnership in all the issues – economic cooperation, political cooperation, security aspects. We were given the guarantee that Spain will not only support visa liberalization but will be one of the active representatives of EU, supporting approximation of Georgia. Spain, as NATO member state, plays an important role in decision-makings under the aegis of NATO. We widely discussed prospects of bilateral relations. I am glad that concrete works are being implemented on various Governmental levels to attract more investments, for mutually interesting business-projects and these ideas will be soon successfully finalized. We spoke about both of us, Georgians and Spain to be the representatives of the Mediterranean civilization. As you know, Georgia and Spain have many things in common, not only historical names – “Iberia” etc. We also spoke about the time when Georgians will play football as Spanish do. We said farewell to Spanish friends hoping that one day they will play Rugby as we do”.
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.
The Health Care and Social Issues Committee joined the informative campaign “Talking Hands”. According to the Chair, Dimitri Khundadze, support can prevent one from 3 cancer cases. He issued advice to avoid cancer.
“February 4 is the International Day against Cancer. It is a significant problem for the world as more than 8 ml. people die annually of cancer. We need each other. We can provide support and prevent one of every 3 cases of cancer. If we reject bad habits, we can have more healthy and recovered people. We shall quit smoking, reject unhealthy lifestyle, reject bad habits and I think that we will defeat this disease”.
The Day against Cancer was established by UICC, celebrated every February 4 of every year. WHOand IARC support public awareness and informational campaigns about cancer, cancer prevention, cancer detection and treatment. With this wide-scale campaign, the organization calls on the world to unify and focus on the key issues, such are:
- healthy lifestyle;
- early detection of disease;
- accessibility to treatment;
- maximal improvement of life quality.
In 2016, the campaign by UICC “Talking Hands” calls on the society to solidarity, requiring social media to distribute the message #WeCanICan.The Healthcare Committee, MPs and Staff joined the campaign.
What does campaign imply?
- We write the world day supporting slogan on our hands in Georgian or in English – “We Can I Can. We also can use the following slogans:
- I Can Help;
- I Can choose healthy lifestyle;
- I Can act;
- I Can support;
- We Can together achieve the goal;
- We Can act;
- We Can prevent cancer;
- We Can change attitude;
- We Can create healthy environ.
2. We take photo with clear image of the slogan;
3. We share the photo on social media #WorldCancerDay; #WeCanICan;
4. Visit www.wordlcancerday.org to see your photo.
Prime Minister of Georgia considers that compliance with constitutional procedures is crucial for institutional democracy. Respective statement was made by the Prime Minister in his conversation with journalists after he attended the President's annual address to the Parliament.
Today Prime Minister attended the first plenary meeting of the spring session and listened to the annual address of the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili.
"The address was quite thought-provoking and accentuated number of important issues. It was pleasant to hear that the President welcomed the four-pillar reform program implemented by the Government. The consensus in this regard has to be welcomed. In general, compliance with this constitutional procedure is crucial in terms of creating institutional democracy. It is essential to ensure that the investors and our international partners view Georgia as a respectable country. Normalization of constitutional processes will positively affect internal and international image of Georgia," - Prime Minister noted in his conversation with journalists.
The first plenary meeting of the spring session of Parliament was attended by the members of cabinet and the diplomatic corps.
At the beginning of the spring session of Parliament, the President of Georgia will be listen. Constitution provides the President's address to the Parliament once in a year. According to the Rules of Procedure, it will be held first day of plenary sessions. The date will be determined by the Bureau of Parliament. Consultations will be held at the beginning of the session with the President's administration.
The spring session opens on 2, February.
Fifteen students received certificates and gifts from the Parliament of Georgia, European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) for taking part in the ideas contest “Open Parliament - Voice of Youth”.
MP Giorgi Kakhiani, Chair of Procedural Issues and Rules Committee;Sophie HuetGuerriche, Project Manager of the EU Delegation to Georgia; Gigi Bregadze, UNDP’s Democratic Governance Team Leader; and Giorgi Kldiashvili,IDFI Director, met with the contestants and winners on 14 December 2015.
In November and December, young people from different universities of Georgia spent several days with the Parliament, attended specialised training and met MPs and staff to learn more about legislative openness and transparency. The students then attempted at inventing creative ways to increase Parliament’s openness and boost civic engagement in the legislative process. Fifteen out offorty participants rose to the task and brought their innovative ideas to the table.
The best ideas will be considered by the Parliament of Georgia in the work of the Inter-Factional Group and Open Parliament Working Group.
The contest for students is part of a larger programme to support parliamentary openness in Georgia, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in partnership with IDFI.
Since 2014, this initiative has assisted the Parliament of Georgia to take major steps forward on the way to legislative openness, including for the adoption of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016.
Last September, the Parliament of Georgia hosted a Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW) and international conference which brought together 70 foreign delegates. In October, the Parliament of Georgia was awarded with the Government Champions Award at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Mexico.
Currently, the Parliament of Georgia is discussing the establishment of a Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance, which is one of the commitments of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016.
The EU has welcomed the adoption today of the Civil Service Law by the Ukrainian Parliament, as “a first but very welcome step towards a more effective, depoliticised, merit-based and professional civil service, able to provide better services for citizens”.
“Alongside independence of the judiciary and the fight against corruption, reform of the public administration is one of the most important steps Ukraine must take to build for the future,” said a statement issued by EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn.
He said the EU would now provide the Ukrainian government with expert advisers to help design a comprehensive strategy for reform of the public administration. “It is essential that this work advance without delay.”