Joint statement by the UN Country Team on entry into force of plain packaging regulation of tobacco products

Published in Society
Tuesday, 29 November 2022 10:28

December 31, 2022 is the deadline set by the Law of Georgia "On Tobacco Control" for the regulation of plain packaging of tobacco products to come into force. Plain packaging was expected to enter into force in 2018, but was postponed until the end of this year. Currently, a legislative initiative on another postponement of this deadline has been submitted to the Parliament of Georgia. We call on the Parliament of Georgia to reject this legislative initiative and ensure that the plain packaging regulations will enter into force within the timeframe specified in the current law.

To reduce the enormous health, social and economic damage caused by active and passive tobacco use in Georgia, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a strong tobacco control legislation in 2017, which was later recognized by international organizations and experts as a visionary law that serves as an example for many countries in the region. Just two years after the successful implementation of this law, studies show a significant decrease in tobacco use and second-hand tobacco smoke pollution in Georgia, which resulted in the reduction of the burden of tobacco-attributable diseases.
To build on this success, further comprehensive tobacco control measures need to be implemented in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Regulation on plain packaging for tobacco products is one of the most powerful regulations that make tobacco products less attractive and reduce the ability of tobacco products to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking.
The United Nations in Georgia would like to commend the firm position of the decision-makers of the Parliament of Georgia of various convocations and the Government of Georgia on the smooth implementation of tobacco control regulations. We hope that the Parliament of Georgia will take immediate steps to avoid another postponement and to ensure the plain packaging regulation enters into force in the beginning of 2023 and will thus help to protect the health of the current and future generations of Georgia.

EU and UNDP help bring life back to Georgia’s historic landmarks

Published in Culture
Thursday, 20 October 2022 15:14

On 18 October, Georgian parliamentarians presented their study on the potential to revive disused historic sites in the country.

Initiated by the Parliamentary Culture Committee with assistance from the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the enquiry engaged leading Georgian experts and representatives of the public, private and civic sectors.

The four-month study looked into ways to bring new life to historic sites, using their cultural value for redeveloping surrounding areas. It explored policy approaches for sustainable protection and preservation of historic heritage and studied the role of national and local authorities, the private sector and civil society in designing conservation and management tools. 

The final report will be published at the end of October.

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Press release

EU and UNDP sign $21 million agreement to remove debris and restore critical infrastructure

Published in Economics
Friday, 19 August 2022 15:22

The European Commission will provide $21 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support work to dismantle infrastructure in Ukraine that has collapsed as a result of Russian aggression.

The funds will also be used to identify, map and neutralise explosive ordnance and urgent environmental threats. They will also be used to repair or purchase strategic elements of infrastructure in the affected areas, such as transformers, thermal substations, water pumps, heat and water pipes, water decontamination systems and renewable energy supply equipment.

This project will restore power and water stations and heating utilities. These are essential services that will give residents dignified lives and livelihoods at home,” said Manal Fouani, UNDP interim Resident Representative in Ukraine.

The upcoming winter season will be very harsh and we need to do our utmost to make sure that people and the authorities have the necessary infrastructure operational”, said Matti Maasikas Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

The project is a part of the UNDP Resilience Building and Recovery Programme, launched by UNDP in April 2022 to support the Government of Ukraine to sustain essential governance structures for emergency response management, deliver vital public services, and protect livelihoods.

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Press release

International Youth Day – Finding your place in society

Published in Society
Friday, 12 August 2022 12:11

EU and UNDP help introduce youth work in schools and vocational colleges  

TBILISI. 12 August 2022 – On the path to creating a high-performing educational system, Georgia introduces new educational models and tools to inspire young people to study hard and strive for professional success. These efforts aim to improve youth education and close the gaps between Georgia and the European countries in the areas related to youth participation and engagement.

For now, around 34 percent of Georgian youth are not engaged in employment, education or training (NEET), compared to 13 percent on average in the EU. Youth unemployment in some of Georgia’s regions exceeds 40 percent (13.3 percent on average in the EU). Only five percent of Georgian secondary school graduates choose to enter vocational education programmes (48 percent in the EU).

To help Georgia make education more responsive to the needs and aspirations of young people, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support the Ministry of Education and Science to introduce a concept of youth work in schools and vocational colleges. The initiative is implemented in partnership with ‘Sunny House’, a non-governmental youth organization.

In 2022, a new cohort of 18 youth workers went through professional training to join nine schools and vocational colleges across Georgia. Youth workers took a lead in establishing youth clubs at the educational institutions and arranging non-formal learning programmes.   

In July and August, over 100 young people – high-school or college students, engaged in enjoyable and interactive educational activities organised by youth workers with EU and UNDP support.

In Kachreti, ‘Aisi’ community college grounds turned into a magical world of lost treasures where students had to show their physical and intellectual abilities and team-working skills to win the game.

In Kobuleti, young people will enjoy a rare opportunity to discuss generational challenges with well-known Georgian writers. The discussion will be organised and hosted by the youth club at ‘Akhali Talga’ (‘New Wave’) college.

“The European Union helps strengthen links between formal education and non-formal learning to ensure that young people have access to high-quality education and training and improve their transition from education to employment,” said Nino Kochishvili, Programme Officer at the European Union Delegation to Georgia.

“Getting more young people into employment – jobs that pay well, with real career paths ahead – is a big social and economic opportunity for Georgia. The EU and UNDP join hands with our national partners to curate new and more effective youth education and training programmes. Greater youth employment creates a brighter future for young people and contributes to developing a larger and more dynamic economy for everyone’s benefit,” said Nick Beresford, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia.

“We shape our work around the single most important goal – to help young people build skills they need to establish their place in society. Youth work blends formal and informal education to make the educational process richer and more effective,” said youth worker Tamuna Khalichashvili.

Starting from the new academic year in September, nine youth clubs across Georgia will resume their work to continue supporting young people in their personal development and social integration.

The EU and UNDP support draws on the EU-funded US$1,000,000 programme which contributes to creating new educational services in vocational education and training (VET), ensuring the sustainable and inclusive development of the VET system and the labour market. The programme is implemented in close partnership with Georgia’s Ministry of Education and Science, educational institutions and the private sector.

Georgian villages appear on Google Maps with EU and UNDP support

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 10 August 2022 11:43

Over 50 rural locations are pinpointed on Georgia’s AgroMap, created jointly by the EU, UNDP and Georgian Farmers’ Association.

The map is a Google-based interactive information system and contains extensive data on agricultural enterprises, service providers, educational institutions, professional associations and other actors in the agricultural and food sector. In addition to private companies and non-governmental organisations, AgriMap also identifies government programmes and initiatives that support agricultural entrepreneurship.  

Users can search for information by location or industry and contact specific companies to pose their business queries. They can also evaluate the quality of the information received and the effectiveness of the interaction.

The AgroMap was launched in 2020 through a pilot initiative focused on the Dedoplistskaro Municipality. For now, the resource lists over 50 locations across Georgia and offers information on 500 companies and organisations, arranged by 24 activity sectors.

Digitalisation has the potential to transform rural living by making farming jobs more attractive for younger generations and helping farmers work more precisely, efficiently and sustainably,” said Ketevan Khutsishvili, from the EU Delegation to Georgia.

EU and UNDP support for rural development in Georgia is based on the EU-funded ENPARD programme with a total budget of €234.5 million.

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Press release

Learning human rights to make a difference in Georgia

Published in Society
Thursday, 04 August 2022 11:37

The European Union and the United Nations are working in partnership to equip Georgia’s public and civic sectors with real-world, practical insights into human rights protection, organising a series of trainings last month for public servants, civic activists and journalists.

The trainings brought together representatives of state institutions, media, professional associations and civil society, and focused on the available tools and mechanisms to ensure respect for human rights in all areas.

On 15-16 July, a training session for journalists, carried out in partnership with the Office of the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, addressed the impact of misinformation and disinformation on protecting the rights of ethnic and national minorities. The training programme highlighted the critical role of the media in combating hate speech and fake news and providing the public with reliable and trustworthy information.

On 17-18 July, lawyers from the Legal Aid Service and the Georgian Bar Association participated in a training on the rights of people with disabilities. They discussed international standards in protecting disability rights and the challenges faced by people with disabilities in Georgia in getting access to justice.   

On 19-20 July, human rights activists and representatives of organisations engaged in protecting the rights of LGBTQI+ persons learned how to prepare and submit alternative reports and communications to the UN human rights Treaty Bodies and how to use the UN human rights mechanisms for advocacy and strategic litigation.

Finally, on 28-29 July, representatives of Georgia’s Public Defender’s Office discussed how better to protect the right to health in Georgia, and refreshed their knowledge of international standards in this area.

“At UNDP, we deeply believe that respect for human rights is the foundation of democracy,” said Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia. “A democratic society is primarily assessed by how it protects the rights of minorities and not just the rights of the majority. With this in mind, we join hands with the European Union and our partners to assist journalists, lawyers, civic activists and the LGBTQI+ communities to better understand and more effectively protect human rights, ensuring that no one is left behind.”

The European Union and the United Nations, through their ‘Human Rights for All’ programme, promote a human rights culture in Georgia and help increase public awareness of human rights values and principles. Working with a wide range of local and international partners, the EU and the UN seek to ensure that all citizens can enjoy the rights and freedoms safeguarded by Georgia’s Constitution and major policy documents in line with the country’s national priorities and international commitments under the Association Agreement with the European Union, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the UN human rights treaties.

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Press release

Pride Week 2022: potential step forward in protecting LGBTQI+ people in Georgia

Published in World
Friday, 08 July 2022 15:33

The European Union and its partners welcomed the successful conclusion of Pride Week 2022 in Georgia, which took place in Tbilisi on 2 July.

In this regard, a joint statement was issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia and the Embassies to Georgia of the Czech Republic, France, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The signatories congratulated the organisers, Tbilisi Pride and other civil society organisations, and expressed their solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community and support towards their right as Georgian citizens to exercise their constitutional rights without fear.

The following was stated: “We acknowledge that marking Pride Week is still connected to safety risks and other stressful situations that many have to live through on a daily basis. It is our sincere hope that this year’s successful holding of events marks a step forward in protecting the rights of LGBTQI+ persons, including their right to freedom of assembly.” 

In this context, the EU and its partners have also reminded the Georgian authorities of the need to take appropriate measures in relation to the events on the 5 July 2021 , including a full investigation and prosecution of the instigators and organisers of the violence.

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Press release

UNDP and the British Embassy in Turkmenistan convened the third coordination meeting of the Climate Group of Development Partners

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 01 June 2022 15:21

Today, UNDP and the British Embassy in Turkmenistan in a hybrid format convened the Development Partners Climate Group Coordination meeting aimed at continuing the established dialogue to support the Government of Turkmenistan in implementing projects and international commitments related to the environment and climate change.

The meeting served as a forum on providing an update on the climate change agenda as well as exchanging information on current initiatives and the next steps to support Turkmenistan’s efforts on tackling climate change and reducing GHG emissions in accordance with its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“We are glad to say that the Meeting of development partners on climate change issues has already become a nice tradition to gather and exchange information on current initiatives and discuss opportunities to join efforts in supporting the country on its commitments under various international agreements” – said Ms. Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan. “Tackling the climate crisis requires all parties to make bold pledges under the Paris Agreement on climate. UNDP Turkmenistan is now scaling up its support for Turkmenistan to turn its newly adopted NDC targets into concrete action. We will bring together our resources, knowledge, experience and networks to provide comprehensive support for raising the ambition of the national climate pledge.”

“At COP26, countries seized the opportunity to act. We showed leadership, worked together and embraced progress to agree the historic Glasgow Climate Pact, which kept the goal of global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees alive,” – said Ms. Lucia Wilde, Ambassador of the UK in Turkmenistan. “Despite this progress, six months on from COP26 our aim to keep 1.5 degrees alive remains fragile. We must accelerate delivery, turning targets and commitments into action by phasing down coal and ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, as well as revisiting our 2030 emissions reductions targets before COP27 and strengthen them with workable plans if they do not align with the temperature goals set out in the Paris Agreement. We must turn the promises and commitments of the Glasgow Climate Pact into action. Let us now pick up the pace on delivering a net zero, climate-resilient transition ahead of COP27 in Egypt this November”.

“The climate summit in Glasgow last November confirmed the seriousness of states to present their renewed commitments to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, to direct more investment in both mitigation and adaptation to climate change,” – said Mr. Dmitry Shlapachenko, UN Resident coordinator in Turkmenistan during the meeting. “At the same time, there is a common understanding that it is necessary to strengthen international and regional cooperation, including in the area of scientific research, climate technologies and the harmonization of approaches to natural resource management, in order to prevent the climate crisis”.

During the meeting, participants discussed the country’s recently approved Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), which was developed with the support of UNDP and the Initiative of Turkmenistan to establish a Climate Mitigating Technologies Centre for the Central Asia in Ashgabat.

The Development Partners Climate Group Coordination meeting is convened regularly serving as a strong coordination mechanism for developing and providing valuable support to Turkmenistan’s efforts on climate action and building resilience.

Turkmenistan makes another step forward in global climate action

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 17 May 2022 12:23

The Government of Turkmenistan approved the updated Nationally Determined Contributions for the submission to the Council of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to enhance its climate ambition in accordance with the recommendations set out in Article 4.4 of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) of Turkmenistan demonstrates the country's ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the commitments under the Paris Agreement and in support of global efforts to tackle climate change.

This strategic national document in the field of climate change, developed by the Government of Turkmenistan in close collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), sets out a plan to prevent dangerous climate change, with the long-term goal of keeping average global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and attempting to limit the temperature increase to 1.5° to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The planned reduction of emissions in the new NDC is a confirmation of the ambitious goal of Turkmenistan, which intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030. This goal remains the highest of all possible ambitions that Turkmenistan can achieve by implementing measures to reduce GHG emissions in such sectors as energy, transport, agriculture, industrial processes, and product use (IPPU), waste, as well as by using co-mitigation benefits from adaptation measures to climate change.

The UNDP Country Office supported the development of updated NDC and will make its efforts to achieve the goals set out in the presented NDC and its national priorities for the implementation of integrated low-carbon and climate-resilient solutions to join the global efforts on saving the planet.

“The adoption of the Nationally Determined Contributions by Turkmenistan demonstrates country's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement,” – noted Ms. Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan. “UNDP stands ready to continue providing global expertise and technical support to ensure effective implementation of country’s NDCs to address the challenges of climate change”.

NDC stands for Nationally Determined Contributions and represent the targets that each country has set to join the global efforts in tackling climate change, focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and plans to adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.

These targets were established following the Paris Agreement on Climate Change - the first legally binding international treaty on climate change, which was signed by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris on 12 December, 2015 and entered into force on 4 November, 2016.

Every five years, countries submit new and more ambitious targets, playing their part in helping the world achieve global goals.

The first NDC of Turkmenistan was submitted to the UNFCCC in October 2016.

Turkmenistan ratified the UNFCCC in 1995 and the Paris Agreement in 2016 and actively takes part in international efforts to combat climate change.

Public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia are changing, yet the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge

Published in Society
Friday, 06 May 2022 16:24

The United Nations and the Government of Sweden unveil research on human rights, legal protection and public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community in Georgia

TBILISI. 6 May 2022 – The LGBTQI people remain one of the least protected and most marginalized social groups in Georgia. They face discrimination and violence, while the protection and realization of their rights remain a challenge. Yet, recent research reveals that negative public attitudes toward the LGBTQI community have been decreasing in the last five years.

A series of studies were conducted by Georgia’s Public Defender’s Office and the non-governmental organization ‘Women’s Initiatives Support Group’ (WISG) with assistance from the Government of Sweden and the United Nations through its three agencies – UN Women, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The research reviews international standards in protecting LGBTQI rights and Georgia’s commitments in this area. It analyses the legal environment and widespread practices and examines public attitudes toward LGBTQI people in Georgia. The research also includes recommendations for specific state agencies.

The research findings point out positive changes in public attitudes in the last five years. Since 2016, the number of respondents who think that the LGBTQI community is interested in propaganda, and not in achieving equality, has decreased by 20.6 percent (55.9 percent in 2021 compared to almost 78 percent in 2016). The number of people with an extremely negative attitude toward the LGBTQI community and its human rights defenders dropped by around 20 percent and now hovers around 56 percent.

However, the research also captures the negative perception of the LGBTQI community in Georgia’s society. 48.2 percent of the respondents believe that LGBTQI people are fighting for privileges. 39.5 percent are convinced that the rights of the LGBTQI community are fully protected. At the same time, 38.6 percent note inadequate state response to the acts of violence and discrimination faced by the LGBTQI people.

The research was conducted under the UN Joint Programme for Gender Equality, a Sweden-funded initiative implemented by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA. Its reports are available on the UNDP website

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