Press release on the occasion of the election of Turkmenistan to the structures of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOС)Saturday, 11 May 2019 11:31
On the 7th of May 2019, during the work of Organizational session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Turkmenistan was elected to its three important bodies: Executive Council of the World Food Programme for the period of 2020-2022, Commission on Population and Development for the period of 2020-2024 and Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the period of 2020-2023.
The election of our country to these structures became one more proof of growing reputation of Turkmenistan in the world, recognition of its major role in the resolution of most contemporary issues of present day global development.
A significant vector of international activity of Turkmenistan is the provision of food safety and nutritional development on the national, regional and world-wide levels. In this regard, our country proposed an initiative to gather the High-Level Food Forum under the auspices of the UN. The meaning of the proposed initiative is based on the notion that such Forum will give effective impulse to the international partnership in the area of global nutrition and thus will assist attaining concrete future resolutions on the UN level in this direction.
As to the contribution of Turkmenistan in the resolution of population related issues, it is worthwhile to note the implementation in the country of various important programs in the area of reproductive health, countrywide and regional projects aimed at provision of most convenient conditions for applying the demographic policy, protection of mother and child.
Turkmenistan will continue uncompromised struggle against the narcotics. Practical actions are realized in our country aimed at combatting illegal drug trafficking and in this regard national programs are successfully implemented. The membership of Turkmenistan in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs opens new perspectives for cooperation for efficient response to this global challenge.
The election of Turkmenistan to these three important bodies of the United Nations Economic and Social Council serves as a vivid proof of rightness and rationality of the course selected by our country aimed at wide international cooperation in the resolution of actual problems of modern world, suitability of our policy with the security protection, progress and sustainable development.
On 3 April 2019, an EU mission from Brussels led by John Clarke, Director of International Affairs at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture, visited an EU-supported rural development project in the Tetritskaro municipality of Georgia.
Clarke met with the members of Tetritskaro Local Action Group (LAG) and the project implementing partner organisation, the Association Rural Development for Future Georgia.
Afterwards, he visited an EU-funded cheese factory in the village of Tsintskaro. The director of the factory explained the specifics of dairy processing and shared her plans for the business’s development with the EU’s support under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). The guests had an opportunity to observe the cheese-making process and taste different varieties of cheese made at the factory.
The EU supports rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of €179.5 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty.
100 Young European Ambassadors from the European Union and its six Eastern partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) are gathering this week in Brussels to celebrate the achievements of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in the past decade.
"Young people are at the heart of our cooperation with our partners. The Young European Ambassadors is a unique initiative providing a platform to listen to and discuss ideas, which have a direct impact on the lives of young people across the region," said Lawrence Meredith, Director Neighbourhood East, European Commission.
The 10-year-old Partnership has resulted in over 30.000 young people participating in Erasmus+ volunteering, exchanges and youth mobility projects, and over 6.000 young people benefiting from the opportunities provided by the EU4Youth since 2018. Bright young students from the EaP region now also have the opportunity to attend the first European School outside of EU borders, which officially opened its doors in Tbilisi in September 2018.
The group of Young European Ambassadors, that are joined by a number of social media influencers from across the six countries, are meeting EU officials to discuss the achievements of the Partnership and its future goals. They are also participating in a large flash mob on Thursday 15 February at the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels which will feature national dances and costumes.
Geno Kutashvili, Young European Ambassador from Georgia stated “I can boldly say that the Eastern Partnership totally changed my life (not only mine, but that of every single Georgian). This joint initiative is the best project ever because it gives me and my country a lot of opportunities. I have a better life now than 10 years ago. We are stronger together!”
Close to five hundred young people from the EU and its eastern neighbourhood currently act as ‘Young European Ambassadors’ (YEAs). These Ambassadors regularly organise local community events in their countries and participate in international fora to spread the word about the initiative.
The event is organised by the EU Neighbours East project in collaboration with EU institutions. A series of other events are planned throughout the year to celebrate the Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership. Find out more on the dedicated website: www.eap10.eu
Launched in 2009 as a joint policy initiative, the Eastern Partnership aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union, its Member States and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Over the past ten years, collective efforts have brought considerable benefits to the citizens of these countries including more trade, mobility, increased economic development and better quality of life.
A news briefing on completing the polling process was conducted at the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia. As Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Spokesperson announced at the news briefing, all election precincts were closed at 20:00 according to the legislation.
“1 637 956 voters participated in the polling as of 20:00, which amounts to 46.74 % of total number of voters. The highest voter turnout was observed in Keda - 64.74 % and the lowest turnout was in Marneuli - 36.47 %. As for Tbilisi, voter turnout by 20:00 is 45.4 %. If we compare the voter turnout data to 2013 presidential election data, voter turnout in 2013 was 46.6 %. It is worth noting, that the voting process at the election precincts was conducted in a peaceful environment” – stated Ana Mikeladze.
According to the CEC Spokesperson, today, the CEC Call Center worked uninterruptedly. During the day, in total the CEC Call Center received 1 746 incoming calls and 497 messages were received via online chat. Majority of the calls referred to the verification of personal data in the unified list of voters, addresses of election precincts and précising the election procedures.
Vote counting procedures have been launched after closing the election precincts. After drawing up the election precinct summary protocols and completing all electoral procedure envisaged by the legislation, the protocols will be delivered to the relevant District Election Commission (DEC). DECs will upload the summary protocols in the Election Process Management System (EPMS) within the shortest possible time. Upon the receipt of PEC summary protocols the CEC will gradually publish them at the special website www.results.cec.gov.ge.
“Any interested person will have an opportunity to observe the process of summarizing preliminary election results at the CEC using internet livestreaming, which will be ensured through the 360 degree video camera and will be available at the CEC Facebook page, YouTube and official CEC website.
It worth noting, that four domestic observer organizations expressed their willingness to join the initiative suggested by the CEC and their observers along with the CEC operators will participate in the process of entering PEC summary protocols’ data in the program.
Ana Mikeladze also briefed the media about the submitted complaints. In total, 364 complaints are submitted at all District Election Commissions by the representatives of local observer organizations and election subjects. The complaints mainly refer to the procedural shortcoming and the majority of them were resolved at the election precinct. Majority of the complaints submitted at the DECs request imposing disciplinary liability measures to commission members and annulment of voting results at two election precincts.
“Hereby, we would like to deliver information about various procedural shortcomings, for instance: an attempt to hinder the work of Precinct Election Commission by the election subject proxy was observed at N52 Marneuli election precinct. By the decision of the commission decision, the representative left the election precinct. Attempts to hinder the working process at N49 and N110 Kuatisi and at N6 Batumi election precincts, however after verbal notice the incidents were eliminated. At N49 Akhalkalaki PEC, the voter tried to vote without identification card. The commission did not allow the voter to cast the vote. Election subject representative did not let the observer of local observer organization “Multinational Georgia” to enter N26 Ninotsminda election precinct, as if the observer had a false registration certificate. After verifying the information the observer was allowed to enter to the Election precinct. An information was disseminated that at N18 Marneuli PEC four voters participated in elections using the Identification card with expired term. In one case the voter came to the election precinct with expired ID card, however, after the PEC explained that it was not possible to vote with the presented document, the voter casted vote using the passport of Georgian citizen. In other three cases, voters possessed Perpetual ID cards accordingly they could participated in elections” Stated Ana Mikeladze.
Currently votes of two election precincts of Afghanistan are being counted. The results will be available upon drawing up the summary protocols at the CEC website.
At the end of the news briefing, Ana Mikeladze thanked voters on behalf of the Election Administration for active participation in election.
A 25-member delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), headed by Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL), will travel to Georgia from 26 to 29 October to observe the conduct of the presidential election alongside observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, European Parliament, NATO Parliamentary Assembly and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The delegation will meet candidates, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, and representatives of civil society and the media, before observing the ballot on 28 October.
A joint press conference is scheduled on Monday 29 October at 2.30 p.m. in the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi (location to be confirmed).
During her recent visit to Georgia, Katarina Mathernova –the Deputy Head of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission – visited the Kakheti region, where one of the EU-supported Covenant of Mayors Demonstration Projects is being implemented.
In the framework of the project, two kindergartens – one in the city of Telavi and a second one in Ikalto village – will be retrofitted in order to become more energy efficient. The two institutions will also switch to green energy through biomass heating systems. These measures will create more comfortable conditions for children, but will also help the kindergartens to save money and energy.
“The European Union has been supporting Kakheti for many years already. And every time I come to Georgia, I meet people whose lives were changed for the better thanks to the EU. The local initiatives, which are supported by the EU, bring economic growth, social benefits and support the rights of and create new opportunities for the citizens,” - said Mathernova during her visit.
Covenant of Mayors Demonstration Projects are part of the EU4Energy Initiative. 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.
Philippine Commission on Higher Education(CHED) Signed MOA on Peace Education with International Peace NGOSaturday, 27 January 2018 11:14
"Teaching peace to youth is the beginning of the realization of peace." - Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL
On January 23, Commission on Higher Education(CHED) of the Philippine government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on peace education with an international peace organization, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light(HWPL) affiliated with the UN ECOSOC.
The agreement ceremony, held at the CHED in Quezon City, Manila, designated provisions of a practical education for implementation of peace and a culture of peace to the young people who are the subject of the future to prevent disputes and achieve peace in the Philippines and the globe.
CHED provides various scholarship programs with the authority to develop and formulate the education curricula implemented by the government plans to introduce the peace education curriculum and materials revised by HWPL under the process of coordinating it for education institutions.
At the press conference in attendance with 10 media in the Philippines, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said "All students should be taught peace from the textbooks they learn every day, and the teachings of war must be changed and discontinued. How can we achieve peace? Peace begins by teaching students about peace.” emphasizing the importance of peace education.
Commissioner Ronald L. Adamat of the CHED, who proposed MOA to HWPL, expressed hope for HWPL peace education by saying "Children easily imitate war through toys like war weapons, but they don’t know how to play and imitate peace. Promoting HWPL’s peace education through the CHED will affect many Philippine educational institutions and play a crucial role in promoting peace in the Philippines."
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, signed the MOA on peace education with 127 schools in 9 countries including the Philippines, Israel, and India, conducted lectures emphasizing the importance of peace education for youth at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College designated as a HWPL Peace Academy in 2016.
Christine Joy Labay Miguel, a student of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines participating in a peace lecture, said "It was very impressive that we, students, could also be a part of the peace movement. Chairman Lee has already shown that many students around the world are working for peace. I want to take part in the peace activities of HWPL."
As a non-governmental, non-profit organization working for world peace, HWPL is actively involved in various peace activities for establishing an international law for peace and operating inter-religious dialogue meetings for religious harmony and organizing peace campaigns in cooperation with experts in legal and religions, civic groups, and media from all over the world.
The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) published today its new draft opinion on the draft Constitution of Georgia as adopted in the second reading in June 2017, as well as on the letter submitted by the Georgian authorities to the Venice Commission on 20 September 2017, in which they committed themselves to consider new amendments.
The Venice Commission in its draft opinion reiterated its previous positive assessment of the draft Constitution, but once again underlined that any major constitutional reform must reach the widest possible consensus.
A major obstacle to reaching consensus, the report says, is the postponement to October 2024 of the entry into force of the proportional system for election of the Parliament. The Venice Commission called it “undoubtedly highly regrettable” as the passage to the proportional system is “the most important aspect of the reform”. “However, the commitment of the parliamentary majority in the letter of 20 September 2017 to consider allowing party blocks, together with the reduction of the election threshold to 3% at the 2020 elections is to be welcomed, since those amendments aim to alleviate the negative effects of the postponement.”
The new complex system for the distribution of unallocated mandates adopted in the second reading reduces the effects of the bonus for the winning party, but still very much favours the strongest party in the country. The bonus system is also a main obstacle to the acceptance of the Constitution by opposition parties and civil society, and the Venice Commission therefore strongly welcomes the commitment of the parliamentary majority to consider abandoning the bonus system altogether and adopting the full proportional distribution system as from 2024. “Such a system would favour pluralism in parliament and be fully in line with European standards. The Venice Commission expects that this step will not only be considered but immediately adopted,” the document says.
The Venice Commission has also welcomed, inter alia, the introduction of the requirement of a qualified majority of 2/3 of the votes of the Election Board in a presidential election; the lifetime appointment for the judges of the Supreme Court; the abolition of probationary periods for judges as from 31 December 2024; and the election of the Public Defender for a longer term (6 years instead of 5) by a qualified majority in parliament.
Additional recommendations provided by the Venice Commission include removing the prohibition of “creation of political parties on territorial grounds”, reconsidering the rules limiting the role of the Constitutional Court in reviewing electoral legislation; and modifying the process of the appointment of Supreme Court judges to better guarantee their independence.
GEORGIA - Revision of the Constitution - Statement by the Venice Commission President Gianni BUQUICCHIO
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The revision of the Constitution of Georgia is a major reform meant to transform the current political system into a genuine parliamentary democracy.
In June this year, the Venice Commission issued a positive assessment of the draft revised Constitution, including the declared move towards the fully proportional system of the election of all the members of Parliament. Moreover, we specifically welcomed active co-operation and the commitment of the Georgian parliament not to adopt any amendments negatively assessed by the Venice Commission.
Therefore, the postponement of the introduction of the proportional system to 2024, as well as the repeated failure of the Georgian parties to reach consensus on the revised Constitution through negotiations is disappointing.
The meeting on 6 September 2017 in Strasbourg has been cancelled. I would like to stress that it is essentially up to the Georgian parties themselves to conduct further negotiations and the involvement of the Venice Commission is not required for this process. We encourage all the parties to come to a large consensus on the text through constructive dialogue.
We expect to receive shortly the revised draft of the Constitution from the Georgian authorities and will issue an opinion on it in one month, at the October plenary session (6-7 October in Venice). We encourage the Georgian parliament, before finally adopting the revised draft, to make changes in the light of this opinion and of the dialogue with all Georgian political parties.
The delegations signed a protocol of the 4th meeting of the Georgian-Lithuanian Commission on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
According to the Protocol the participants of the meeting discussed a broad spectrum of co-operation between Georgia and the EU. Special attention was paid to the commitment to promote further the deepening of relations between Georgia and the EU, particularly by taking advantage of all opportunities and prospects provided by the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as well as the Eastern Partnership policy in general.
The delegations, according to the Protocol, underscored the special importance of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on 24 November for setting a strong forward-looking vision of deepening closer relationship between the EU and Partners. They also exchanged opinion over Georgia’s expectations with respect to the Summit.
Both Delegations welcomed the entry into force of the visa-free travel regime for Georgian citizens as of 28th March, 2017, which is a major milestone achieved on the EU-Georgia cooperation agenda and recognition of Georgia’s reform efforts.
The Delegations emphasised the vital importance of the relationship between Georgia and NATO and stressed that Georgia's future membership in the Alliance will benefit the common Euro-Atlantic security. The Georgian Delegation reaffirmed Georgia’s determination to achieve NATO membership, which is a top foreign policy priority for Georgia, and reiterated Georgia’s commitment to continue comprehensive reforms across the areas set out in the Annual National Programme. The parties reiterated that Georgia has all practical tools to prepare for the NATO membership. The Lithuanian Delegation reiterated its continuous support and readiness to further assist Georgia in fulfilling its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
According to the document, the Georgian Foreign Minister provided the Lithuanian side with retailed information regarding the difficult situation in the occupied territories of Georgia. The Lithuanian delegation expressed deep concern over the ongoing occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali regions of Georgia and steps towards their annexation by Russia. The Delegations discussed the severe security, human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground, including the intensified military build-up, closure of the so-called crossing points, installation of the barbed wire fences and artificial barriers along the occupation line, as well as continuous discrimination of ethnic Georgians in the occupied territories. The Lithuanian Delegation reiterated its full support to territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.
The Protocol makes special mention of the economic and trade potential of the countries. The Delegations reiterated to continue active cooperation in intensifying cargo flows between Europe, Central Asia and China by connecting the “Viking” project with TRACECA transport corridor.
The Delegations agreed to hold the next meeting of the Georgian-Lithuanian Commission on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration in Lithuania, in 2018.