Georgian villages appear on Google Maps with EU and UNDP supportWednesday, 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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Learning human rights to make a difference in GeorgiaThursday, 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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Pride Week 2022: potential step forward in protecting LGBTQI+ people in Georgia
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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UNDP and the British Embassy in Turkmenistan convened the third coordination meeting of the Climate Group of Development PartnersWednesday, 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 actionTuesday, 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 challengeFriday, 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
UNDP and national partners discuss the Constitution of Turkmenistan in the context of ensuring human rights and freedoms
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Turkmenistan convened a workshop in a hybrid format on the Constitution of Turkmenistan as the guarantor of human rights and freedoms. The event gathered representatives of a number of government agencies including Milli Gengesh, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prosecutor`s Office, Judicial system, as well as civil society organizations from Mary, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap velayats and Ashgabat city.
This workshop dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Constitution Day of Turkmenistan and 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan's membership in the United Nations is organized in the framework of the three-year UNDP project: "Assistance in the realization of the National Action Plan of Turkmenistan in the field of human rights for 2021-2025" implemented jointly with the Institute of State, Law, and Democracy of Turkmenistan.
“I would especially like to emphasize that the Constitution of Turkmenistan - the supreme law of the country contains the fundamental principles and concepts of human rights reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” - noted during the meeting Mr. Rovshen Nurmuhammedov, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative in Turkmenistan.
The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the importance of the Constitution for the protection, observance and promotion of human rights, and effective public administration using national and international mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights. During the workshop speakers also presented an overview of modern trends and concepts of human rights education and the role of public associations in ensuring human rights in Turkmenistan. The objectives of the workshop will contribute to the efforts of the country to comply with its international human rights obligations and implementing recommendations of human rights treaty bodies, including the recommendations of the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) within the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Integrated Territorial Development for prosperous regionsTuesday, 22 March 2022 11:33
The EU and Germany support decentralized governance, social cohesion and inclusive economic growth in Georgia’s regions through partnerships with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, GIZ and UNDP
TBILISI. 22 March 2022 –The European Union (EU) joins hands with the German Government to kick off a national programme supporting sustainable and inclusive growth, balanced territorial development and good governance in Georgia’s regions. The EUR9.5 million ‘Integrated Territorial Development’ (EU4ITD) programme, running from 2022 to 2025, is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in close partnership with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure and local authorities.
Drawing on EUR8.5 million from the European Union and EUR1 million from Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the initiative serves to overcome regional disparities and achieve social cohesion by combining territorial development measures, such as urban renewal, with actions promoting economic development and social inclusion. The programme covers the four regions of Guria, Imereti, Kakheti and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti.
GIZ, with EUR7.5 million, will support local economic development, assisting municipalities, businesses, and citizens to realise the untapped economic and social potential in the focus regions.
UNDP will use EUR2 million to promote decentralisation and good governance and establish institutional development frameworks for decentralized regional policy.
“The Georgian Government has embarked on an ambitious goal to design and implement a new framework for regional and local development in line with EU standards. This opens a new chapter in our joint efforts to overcome social and territorial disparities in Georgia, foster economic development and create equal opportunities for all citizens through inclusive, smart and sustainable socio-economic means,” said Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure.
“Integrated territorial development is key to urban and rural transformation and to reducing socioeconomic disparities between regions and communities. It helps coordinate regional and local development, including its environmental, social and economic dimensions, and strengthen local democracy through inclusive participation. The EU is very happy to assist Georgia to introduce and explore this modern approach and shape lasting solutions to the complex challenges faced by the country’s regions”, said Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia Carl Hartzell.
“We are excited to partner with the EU in support of integrated territorial development in the pilot regions” said Hubert Knirsch, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia. “This project will combine urban renewal initiatives with tourism development measures based on the cultural and natural heritage to be found in the regions and assistance to local small and medium-sized enterprises – thus enabling them to bring their products to Georgian and, I hope, international markets”.
“Too often development initiatives are overly programmatic, with the resulting concentration on particular sectors and a “one size fits all” approach leading to opportunities and nuances being missed. EU4ITD is novel in that it consciously seeks a different path – firstly, to be holistic and address the social, economic and environmental, and secondly to follow a “place-based” approach, thereby taking account of the particularities of individual regions and municipalities. These issues lie close to GIZ’s heart, and the organization is therefore institutionally invested in EU4ITD bringing about meaningful change,” said GIZ Programme Director Christoph Beier.
“Regardless of where they live, people strive for a prosperous and livable environment shaped around the principles of inclusion, sustainability and good governance. Through our partnership with the European Union, we can provide Georgia’s regions with the assistance they need to achieve these goals, create new opportunities for local communities, improve livelihoods and reduce rural poverty,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia Nick Beresford.
The EU4ITD initiative contributes to and supports the implementation of the Pilot Integrated Regional Development Programme (PIRDP), the national programme developed by the Georgian Government to advance regional development and decentralization reform and to achieve the goals outlined in the 2020-2025 Decentralisation Strategy. PIRDP financing comprises over EUR54 million from the EU and a further EUR10 million from the national budget.
6 in 7 people worldwide plagued by feelings of insecurity, reports UN Development ProgrammeTuesday, 08 February 2022 16:19
The new UNDP report shows a growing sense of insecurity among people despite years of development growth prompting calls for solidarity and refocusing development efforts
8 February, New York – Global development progress does not automatically lead to a greater sense of security, according to a new United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on human security released today.
New data and analysis in the report, New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene, shows that people’s sense of safety and security is at a low in almost every country, including the richest countries, despite years of upwards development success. Those benefiting from some of the highest levels of good health, wealth, and education outcomes are reporting even greater anxiety than 10 years ago.
To tackle this disconnect between development and perceived security, the report calls for greater solidarity across borders and a new approach to development; one that allows people to live free from want, fear, anxiety and indignity.
“Despite global wealth being higher than ever before, a majority of people are feeling apprehensive about the future and these feelings have likely been exacerbated by the pandemic”, said Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator. “In our quest for unbridled economic growth, we continue to destroy our natural world while inequalities are widening, both within and between countries. It is time to recognise the signs of societies that are under immense stress and redefine what progress actually means. We need a fit-for-purpose development model that is built around the protection and restoration of our planet with new sustainable opportunities for all.”
The imperative to act now has never been more clear, as new findings also show that global life expectancy at birth is falling for a second year because of COVID-19, and overall human development measures are also moving downward. Furthermore, climate change is likely to become a leading cause of death around the world. Even with moderate mitigation of emissions, some 40 million people might die because of changes in temperatures before the end of the century.
The report examines a cluster of threats that have shifted to become more prominent in recent years including those from digital technologies, inequalities, conflicts, and the ability of healthcare systems to tackle new challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing these threats, report authors argue, will require policymakers to consider protection, empowerment, and solidarity alongside one another so that human security, planetary considerations and human development all work together and not despite each other. This means that solutions for one problem shouldn’t exacerbate other problems.
“A key element for practical action highlighted in the report is building a greater sense of global solidarity based on the idea of common security. Common security recognises that a community can only be secure if adjacent communities are too. This is something we see all too clearly with the current pandemic: nations are largely powerless to prevent new mutations of this coronavirus from crossing borders,” said Asako Okai, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP Crisis Bureau.
The report also notes the strong association between declining levels of trust and feelings of insecurity. People with higher levels of perceived human insecurity are three times less likely to find others trustworthy.
Other new findings in the report include:
- The more highly developed countries tend to capitalize more on the benefits from planetary pressures and suffer less of their consequences, highlighting how climate change is pushing inequalities further apart.
- About 1.2 billion people live in conflict-affected areas, with almost half of them (560 million) in countries not usually considered to be fragile, indicating that the traditional ideas about which countries are most vulnerable to conflicts need to be revisited.
- In 2021, despite the highest global GDP in history, and despite COVID-19 vaccines becoming more readily available in some countries, global life expectancy declined for the second year in a row. Declining by about one and a half years on average compared to a pre-COVID world.
- There are large and widening gaps in healthcare systems between countries. According to the report’s new Healthcare Universalism Index, between 1995 and 2017, the inequality in healthcare performance between countries with low and very high human development worsened.
The concept of human security, first introduced in UNDP’s milestone 1994 Human Development Report, signalled a radical departure from the idea that people’s security should be only assessed by looking at territorial security, emphasizing the importance of people’s basic needs, their dignity, and their safety to live secure lives.
For the full report, visit HERE.
Learning to be Wild (Video)Thursday, 23 December 2021 16:50
In Georgia, UNDP’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative helps orphaned bears return to nature
Kopala and Chopika, two uproarious bear cubs, were named after mythical Georgian heroes. A third and smaller brown bear, who arrived at the Tbilisi Zoo bear sanctuary limping from a foot injury, was named ‘Garrincha’ after the famous Brazilian footballer.
All three were born free in the pristine forests that cover the hills and valleys of the Caucasus highlands, but none of them grew up in their natural environment. While still cubs, these three bears were captured and subject to the reckless cruelty of humans.
“There is only one way for a bear cub to end up in a human’s hands — it happens only when its mother is killed,” explained Tbilisi Zoo Director Zura Gurielidze. “People take the bear cubs in, keep them for a while, but soon want to get rid of them. They bring them here and tell us tall tales of how they supposedly ‘found’ these cubs while walking in the forest.”
This, sadly, is a common situation. Illegal hunting has been destroying Georgia’s rich fauna for decades, bringing unique endemic species like the Caucasian tur, the bezoar goat, the red deer — and brown bears — to the brink of extinction.
Bear cubs that live for a while with humans have many problems. Tiny Garrincha is sucking at a hand of a caregiver, a behaviour ostensibly caused by being deprived of a natural relationship with his mother in his early days. To raise a bear cub to be prepared to return to its natural environment is an extremely difficult task, but the specialists at the Tbilisi Zoo don’t give up.
“The main objectives of rehabilitation are getting rid of behaviours that bear acquired after being in contact with humans and strengthening their natural instincts,” explains Gurielidze. “The first step is to get the bear cubs prepared for freedom while they are still in captivity. The second step is to choose the right place where they can be released into nature.”
To achieve these goals, the bears must be kept in a place that closely resembles their natural environment. Bears also need to have minimal contact with humans.
With help from the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), a UNDP-led global partnership to support biodiversity, the zoo constructed vast open-air enclosures, which provide plenty of space for the bears to play and learn the skills they need to survive in the wild. BIOFIN also helped develop an online donation system to give private persons and companies an easy way to support the cause.
Mzia Sharashidze, Tbilisi Zoo Public Relations Manager, says that most of the donations come with comments about what the donor wants the zoo to do with the funds. “The messages are often very touching,” she says, “they make you think that though it will take time, our attitudes towards animals will eventually change.”
Worldwide, the BIOFIN programme aims to direct additional finance towards global and national biodiversity needs. When Georgia joined BIOFIN in 2016, it was one of the first countries in the world to do so. The programme has achieved significant milestones in Georgia. In total, biodiversity-related annual state budget allocations have increased by GEL 620,000. In 2019, the state budget allocations for the Forest and Biodiversity Department increased from GEL 100,000 to GEL 400,000 annually.
With BIOFIN support, Georgia has adopted the first-ever specific biodiversity-related guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment reports. BIOFIN also assisted the development of a five-year ecotourism plan for the Borjomi municipality state forest, which is being successfully replicated in other municipalities of Georgia.
This progress gives hope that Kopala, Chopika and Garrincha will find their home still standing and safe when they are ready to return to their natural habitat.