Young entrepreneurs bring innovation to rural development

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 22 December 2020 16:22

EU and UNDP support business “bootcamps” for rural youth

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have completed the fourth round of business bootcamps designed to help aspiring young entrepreneurs to create and expand rural businesses. Over 60 young people from all over Georgia submitted their applications and, after a virtual brainstorming session, 22 of them were selected to take part in an online bootcamp that took place on 12-13 December.

The EU and UNDP have already organized three similar business bootcamps for rural youth since November 2019, under their wider ENPARD-3 programme for rural development. These sessions are organized in partnership with the Rural Development Agency (RDA) that operates under the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA), and two business-support entities: the social enterprise “Tbilisi Start-up Bureau” and the Batumi Business Incubator.

The initiative was kicked off a year ago to support youth entrepreneurship in rural areas and promote innovative rural businesses outside of agriculture and agri-food. The EU and UNDP continued supporting young entrepreneurs through the pandemic lockdown, exploring online formats for organizing meetups and training sessions.

The first three bootcamps, held in November and December 2019 and October 2020, brought together some 110 young entrepreneurs for a packed schedule of motivational talks and training that guided them through all stages of business modelling – from hatching an idea, identifying a target market, assessing client needs and local opportunities, developing marketing and media plans and defining the resources and partners needed to get the idea off the ground.

At the end of each bootcamp, the best business ideas were selected for future support: 24 winning entrepreneurs have so far started work on new businesses with the potential to create 90 jobs in tourism, manufacturing and other sectors.

“Youth are key drivers of the economic and social transformation of rural areas in Georgia,” said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia. “By empowering and proactively engaging young entrepreneurs we hope to enable them to unleash their innovative capabilities and realize their business ideas. Creating new economic opportunities and improving livelihoods of rural communities has always been at the center of the EU’s work here in Georgia. It gains particular importance now as we are joining hands to overcome the impact of the pandemic.”

“Youth entrepreneurship holds the promise of new jobs and new livelihoods for Georgia’s rural regions, and can give energetic young people a rewarding local alternative to leaving home,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “Moreover, as Georgia looks ahead beyond the pandemic shock, fresh and innovative business ideas can help drive a robust recovery.”

Georgia remains one of the most business-friendly countries globally, placing seventh out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 rankings. However, the pandemic is expected to reverse the growth trends, pushing the country into a six-percent recession in 2020 and increasing the poverty rate by up to 2.8 percentage points.

Recent research carried out by the EU and UNDP shows that almost half of Georgian companies have experienced a dramatic drop in revenues. But 70 percent of businesses are exploring new opportunities emerging amidst the crisis.

The EU and UNDP are Georgia’s long-term supporters in promoting rural development. EUR 179.5 million in EU assistance has been allocated to Georgia under the ENPARD programme between 2013 and 2022. This support aims to promote rural development policies and create economic opportunities for the rural population outside of agriculture. More information about ENPARD is available at www.enpard.ge

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Human rights are at the heart of any post-COVID recovery

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 09 December 2020 13:54

EU marks Human Rights Day by signing new USD 3-million joint project with UNDP and OHCHR
 
TBILISI. 9 December 2020 – Amid concerns that the COVID-19 crisis is deepening inequality and jeopardizing the prospects of vulnerable and marginalised groups, the European Union (EU) joined forces today with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to launch a EUR 2.5 million (USD 3 million) programme to promote and protect human rights in Georgia.

The three-year initiative “Human Rights for All” was signed to mark International Human Rights Day. The programme will be implemented by the two UN agencies in close coordination with the national human rights institutions and legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as civil society and communities.

“Investing in human rights, democracy and the rule of law is essential to achieve more fair, more resilient and inclusive societies,“ said EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell. “Human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as a gender-responsive approach, will remain at the heart of the EU’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Georgia has come a long way in enacting the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “But the pandemic has exposed cracks in society that threaten these values. Our programme responds by putting inclusion and equality at the heart of any post-COVID recovery.”

“Today we stress the imperative to build back better by making human rights central to recovery efforts,” said OHCHR Senior Adviser Vladimir Shkolnikov. “We will reach our common global goals only if we create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.”

The new programme launched by the EU, UNDP and OHCHR assists Georgia in reinforcing its achievements in promoting and strengthening human rights policies and practices, and addressing the areas of concern outlined by the independent assessment commissioned by the EU and the UN in 2019.
The programme focuses on five areas:

  1. Enhancing the public bodies that are responsible for developing, monitoring and implementing human rights policies;
  2. Assisting law-enforcement agencies and human rights institutions in carrying out their duties;
  3. Promoting the rights of minority groups and vulnerable citizens;
  4. Supporting human rights protection at the local level; and
  5. Ensuring that citizens have full access to human rights information and protection mechanisms.

Human Rights for All builds on the achievements of a previous four-year partnership between the EU and the UN agencies. The new stage of the programme runs from December 2020 through October 2023.

Press release of the European Union in Georgia

 

UN and EU launch ambitious initiative for gender equality in Eastern Partnership

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 15 July 2020 11:27

With support from the European Union, the two UN sister agencies will work with government bodies and civil society partners in six countries to challenge deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, increase men’s involvement in domestic work and childcare, and engage with potential perpetrators to prevent gender-based violence.

UN Women and UNFPA, together with the European Union (EU), have launched a three-year regional programme to tackle gender stereotypes and gender-based violence in six countries of the Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

The programme, entitled “EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence,” ultimately seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by challenging perceptions about men’s and women’s roles in the family and in society and working to eliminate gender-based violence.

“This is our first regional programme covering gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and we are intensely proud of it,” said Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East in the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations at the European Commission. “We can and we will do more to develop this underused economic and social potential with our Eastern neighbours. As we emerge from the pandemic, we will propose that the future Eastern Partnership be more inclusive.”

A first of its kind, the programme has been informed by an in-depth situation analysis and intergovernmental consultations with the six countries. It is designed to engage a wide range of government bodies, civil society organizations, and individuals.

“We will work closely with governments and civil society organisations in the six countries to ensure the success of the programme,” says Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “This work is even more crucial now as the COVID-19 crisis has put into stark relief the imbalanced distribution of responsibilities based on traditional gender stereotypes.”

The programme aims at achieving real behavioural change. It relies on strategies designed to challenge structural gender barriers and norms, with particular emphasis on transforming gender-stereotyped behaviour, strengthening men’s involvement in parenting and domestic responsibilities, increasing men’s access to parental leave, and reducing the number of people affected by gender-based violence through prevention interventions with potential perpetrators.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, we have unfortunately seen an increase in women’s unpaid care workload and in cases of gender-based violence across the six countries,” says Alanna Armitage, UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Our programme comes at the right time to fight these trends. We all have to work hand-in-hand to build a more just, equal, safe and secure world for all.”

The programme has a budget of €7,875,000 and is anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, launched by the United Nations in 2015, and the EU Action Plan 2016-2020 on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women Through EU External Relations. It provides a unique opportunity for the EU and the six participating countries to affect social discourse, perceptions, and practices related to gender equality with the ultimate goal of achieving gender equality and related SDGs.

For more information, please visit: https://europa.eu/european-union/

Frontline medical workers in Georgia receive protective equipment

Published in Health
Friday, 15 May 2020 11:18

On 14 May, the EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) delivered 7,500 protective face shields to the Emergency Situations Coordination and Urgent Assistance Centre of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.

Manufactured by a Georgian company with support from the EU and the UNDP, the adjustable and reusable face shields will help ensure that emergency crews in Tbilisi and other regions are able to do their job safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The face shields are made from recycled plastic bottles.

This assistance is part of a larger programme whose aim is to support healthcare staff, civil servants and other at-risk personnel across Georgia, and provide people with essential healthcare and other services.

UNDP, UK Government train Georgian police in human-centred and disability-sensitive service delivery

Published in Justice
Wednesday, 06 May 2020 13:32

UNDP and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to make the Patrol Police Unified Service Center more customer-focused

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia have joined hands to improve capacities and service delivery at the Ministry’s Patrol Police Unified Service Center, formerly known as Room #12.

UNDP Head Louisa Vinton and Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Kakha Sabanadze signed a Memorandum of Understanding at an online meeting today.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs is reforming its Unified Service Centre, aiming to provide high-quality one-stop-shop services to the citizens,” Sabanadze said. “Personnel training is a critical part of this reform.”

“Police work is full of stress, especially at a time of crisis like the one we are now facing,” Vinton said. “Our training is designed to equip the Unified Service Center staff with the tools and approaches they need to serve citizens effectively, especially those who are vulnerable or have special needs.”

Launched in 2018, the Unified Service Centre of the Patrol Police provides over 50 services to citizens, most of them associated with driving penalties, suspension of driving licenses, delivery of found number plates and consent to transportation of vehicles transferred to special parking lots. With UNDP support, the Centre staff will be trained in customer relations and communication, anger management and disability-sensitive service delivery.

In addition, UNDP will help the Unified Service Centre introduce a Common Assessment Framework (CAF), a total quality management instrument for the public sector that has been successfully applied by more than 4,500 public agencies in the EU Member States.

The Public Service Hall was the first public institution in Georgia to pilot the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) in 2019. UNDP is supporting the introduction of this successful practice for Georgia’s other public agencies.

UNDP’s assistance to the Ministry of Internal Affairs is part of the USD 6 million (GBP 4.5 million) UK-funded support to the Public Administration Reform in Georgia, covering three major directions of the reform: policy development, civil service reform and public service delivery.

EU assists Georgia to facilitate access to justice and increase professionalism of lawyers

Published in Justice
Wednesday, 30 January 2019 10:47

Improved access to legal aid for over 45,000 people every year; training for 2,400 representatives of the legal profession; increased international cooperation in the field of justice – these are just some of the key results achieved by the Legal Aid Service of Georgia and the Georgian Bar Association with assistance from the EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

These and other achievements of the EU4Justice programme between 2016 and 2018 were presented to the public in the country’s capital of Tbilisi on 23 January. 

“I am confident that the EU played an instrumental role in developing both the State Legal Aid Service and the Bar Association in Georgia over last 10 years,” said Catalin German, Deputy Head of the Cooperation Section at the EU Delegation to Georgia. “We have done it through direct transfers of funds into the Georgian state budget, and through different projects.”

The assistance to the Legal Aid Service and Georgian Bar Association is part of a wider EU-funded programme, EU4Justice, which is based on the financing agreement on “Support to the Justice Sector Reform in Georgia”, signed between Georgia and the EU in May 2015.

UNDP and State Bank for Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan hold first ever event on financing of Agenda 2030

Published in World
Thursday, 21 June 2018 10:02

In conjunction with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) nationalization process in Turkmenistan, the United Nations Development Programme and the State Bank for Economic Affairs (TFEB) are working to improve the access of Turkmenistan to international financing and to improve its capacity to deliver and manage such financing streams effectively.

As part of the joint initiative, on June 20, 2018, UNDP and TFEB held International Financing for Development Conference “Partnership for Development Financing at the Heart of the Great Silk Road”that brought together over 150 partners from ministries and state agencies, international financial institutions that have an interest in the country, private entities and commercial banks who are potential investors in the country, as well as development experts from UNDP and other international organizations.

One of the purposes of the event is to create a joint understanding of the country’s sustainable development priorities, the related financing needs and the various options that exist for mobilizing such resources, especially from international financial institutions and private capital.

As part of the Financing for Development Conference, participants considered some specific ongoing development and infrastructure projects in Turkmenistan, such as construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, which contribute to the sustainable development of the region of Central Asia and South Asia.

The participants of the conference noted with satisfaction the successes of Turkmenistan in nationalizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the establishment of a national coordination mechanism for the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the SDGs, including the decision to submit the first voluntary national review on the SDG implementation at the High-level Political Forum in 2019.

“Getting financing right will be critical to meet the SDGs by 2030. While there is no shortage of resources in the global economy, we need partnerships, sound planning, leadership and some creative ideas of looking at financing streams for development,” stated RastislavVrbensky, UNDP Deputy Regional Director for Europe and the CIS at the conference.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan S. Berdimuhamedov noted in his speech that "the achievement of the goals of sustainable development is an ambitious task and requires cohesion and concrete joint actions. Partnership in this direction is very important. "

"Following strict adherence to the international obligations assumed, we declare with full responsibility our continued commitment to the widest and most active cooperation with Member States and international organizations, financial institutions, specialized agencies and United Nations structures," the Deputy Minister stressed.

The conference participants welcomed Turkmenistan's efforts to improve the public finance system and stressed the importance of fiscal regulation to improve the mobilization of domestic financial resources.

The sessions aimed to shed the light on government’s views on the issue of private sector development and diversification, and its priorities and measures for encouraging bilateral state and private investments for achieving Sustainable development agenda 2030.

As a result of the conference, the Final Document was adopted and a package of bilateral documents was signed.

Journalists from the Eastern Partners countries discover Moldova’s experience in transition to green energy

Published in Society
Friday, 01 June 2018 16:27

Twelve journalists from Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan visited the Republic of Moldova on 21-24 may to learn about the results of the Energy and Biomass Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. The visit took place in the framework of the EU4Energy Initiative.

The journalists visited a kindergarten in the town of Nisporeni, where 270 children have hot water thanks to solar panels installed with the help of the Energy and Biomass Project. During winter, the entire surface of the kindergarten is heated with green energy produced in the Republic of Moldova.

To heat its rooms, the kindergarten, together with the city hall, buys pellets produced in Moldova, meaning the money it spends on energy remains in the country.

Another stop on the tour was the briquette production line in the city of Balti. Ludmila Abramciuc and Ivan Damaschin are beneficiaries of the Energy and Biomass Project grant programme, thanks to which they were able to buy, and repay in instalments, the necessary equipment for biofuel production.

The journalists also attended a lesson on renewable energy at a school in Chiscareni village, Sangerei district. Together with the students of “Nicolae Casso” school, they answered questions on the green energy sector, as well as making a parabolic solar collector. Professor Nicolae Spanu guided the team through this.

The school in Chiscareni village is also the first public institution in the Republic of Moldova to have switched to biomass heating. In 2005, thanks to a project funded by the World Bank, a biomass power plant using straw bales was installed at the school. To this day, the institution continues to benefit from clean energy.

Meanwhile, the community has connected other public institutions to green energy. The kindergarten in the village has electricity produced by photovoltaic panels and hot water from solar collectors. Next winter, the city hall will replace its stoves with a biomass heating system, installed with the help of European funds through the Energy and Biomass Project.

The EU-funded and UNDP-implemented Energy and Biomass Project in Moldova is part of the EU4Energy Initiative and aims to contribute to the reliable, competitive and sustainable production of energy from biomass, which is the most viable and available source of renewable energy in the Republic of Moldova.

EU4Energy covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine). It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the long term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector.

United Nations Calls for Strong Action to Control Tobacco Smoking in Georgia

Published in Economics
Monday, 01 May 2017 17:49

On Tuesday, 2 May 2017, at 09:30 am, in the UN House in Tbilisi (9 R. Eristavi Street, Tbilisi), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and World Health Organization (WHO) are organizing a press conference to support the adoption of the Tobacco-Control Law in Georgia.

Representatives of the United Nations will update the media about preliminary findings of the FCTC Investment Case – recent research implemented by the WHO and UNDP to promote implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Georgia. They will also inform about economic burden of tobacco smoking in Georgia, importance and practical implications of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) for the member states, and key measures of tobacco control.

Speakers:

  • Marijan Ivanuša, WHO Representative in Georgia
  • Shombi Sharp, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia
  • Andrew Black, Team Leader of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Secretariat
  • Kristina Mauer Stender, Program Manager of the WHO Regional Office for Europe 

Statement of Niels Scott, Resident Coordinator, on behalf of the United Nations Country Team regarding announced closure of crossing points along the Inguri River

Published in Politics
Thursday, 26 January 2017 14:16

We note the announcement of the imminent closure of Khurcha-Nabakevi and Orsantia-Otobaia crossing points along the Inguri River. It is incumbent on the United Nations to raise the very real concerns of the population being negatively impacted by these changes, creating greater vulnerability and isolation of those living in the adjacent areas. Based on observed patterns the closure of the remaining pedestrian crossing points will likely affect at least 1,000 crossings a day on average.

The United Nations are concerned that the announced restrictions will have negative consequences for the humanitarian and development needs of those living in Abkhazia, Georgia. As movement is further restricted, the people of Abkhazia will find it more difficult to access basic services such as healthcare and education and participate in economic activities and social events such as weddings, funerals and public holiday commemorations, as well as family gatherings across the dividing line. Notably, access to education for children who have been crossing to attend schools in their mother tongue will be impeded.

We wish to recall the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, who, in his report to the General Assembly in May 2016, urged the authorities in control to reconsider and avoid closing any further crossing points. In his words, the issue of freedom of movement across the administrative boundary line has security, humanitarian and human rights dimensions and remains of utmost importance to the local population.

Again, we urge relevant parties to consider the impact of the announced closing measure on the welfare of the local residents. We call on all sides to ensure the rights and needs of all people living in Abkhazia are respected.

The United Nations remain open to continue our constructive dialogue and support finding practical solutions to the issues that may arise.

26 January 2017

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