By Daniel Szkarupski and Vakhtang Maisaia
The step landmass of today’s Kazakhstan was a home to nomadic people for a very long time, governed by numerous external forces, for example the empire of the Mongols, the Russian Empire and later on the Soviet Union these nomads were used to being ruled by others rather than to self-govern its territory. This unfortunate trend was broken after the collapse of the USSR when the Republic of Kazakhstan was proclaimed. Kazakh people had a little time to celebrate though as the new challenging times were before them. From the step nomads occupied only with agriculture Kazakh people had to take the role of the host of their own land in the new, unknown, world order that lied ahead.
Each state had to find its own place in the new design of the Eurasia space. For Kazakhstan the formal and planned beginning of this journey was year 1997 when a strategy Kazakhstan 2030 was introduced. Its main goals were to restore an order after the collapse of the Soviet system by transforming into the market economy, preparing an entirely new social system but most of all creating a new Nation in terms of so-called “Noosphere” (Near Sphere), a Nation free from the grasp of foreign influences which was bound to go its own way. This was a strategy outlined during the disturbing times following the downfall of the soviet empire. The most visible symbol of the present day Kazakhstan way to the future emerged in 2012 when the then president Nursultan Nazarbayev in his address to the Nation outlined the Strategy “Kazakhstan 2050” presenting a far-reaching and multidimensional strategy which was bound to guarantee that Kazakhstan will be a prosperous country in various spheres of political existence.
To very first idea which comes to a mind is the geopolitical position between two superpowers, Russia and China, and further a huge European market, this gave Kazakhstan a chance to take a role of the east – west corridor, a role they decided to take without any hesitation. Just two years after announcing Strategy 2050 the authorities published a “Нұрлы Жол” / Bright Path plan to stimulate its economy by modernizing the existing infrastructure and create new roads, railways, ports, airports and IT infrastructure. The estimated budget was nine billion dollars. The major reason behind this initiative was to link with One Belt, One Road programme especially when it comes to the railway modernization. The main aim of the Astana was to serve as a gateway to Europe for the People’s Republic of China. The goal of being a buckle for the One Belt One Road initiative can be marked as achieved, Kazakhstan used its favourable geographical situating to its advantage and it worked perfectly as the Bright Road programme was not just a wishful thinking. Both Kazakh and Chinese officials realized that route through Kazakhstan gives more security and stability than the alternative route through the Middle East, especially after the Arab Spring and the offensive of The Islamic State, which both make the region unstable till the the present, broke out. The circumstances were almost ideal for the Government in Astana and this ended up in a dynamic cooperation. Wave of international financing started floating to Kazakhstan from various institutions, for instance, Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the total number of projects carried out in Kazakhstan on 2020-10-05 reached 32. As it can be read in the outline published by the United States International Trade Administration the programme cover a variety of sectors including Architectural, Construction and Engineering Services, development of roads, railways and ports. What is particularly interesting is the case of airports as the number of such facilities with automated control systems is planned to rise from three to fifteen by the end of 2025. All this measures were implemented to strengthen the position of Kazakhstan as a main hub between the Asian space and European market. The first results are already visible in the official statistics of Bureau of National statistics of Kazakhstan, the number of operating railways dropped in 2011 to 14 892 kilometers, however in the following year it raised to 15 333 kilometers and was slowly but constantly increasing to the value of 16 635 km in 2019. The expansion of railway system connecting PRC and Republic of Kazakhstan is not slowing down even during the COVID pandemic as the new railway connecting China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region with Nursultan was opened March 13, 2021.
With the development of infrastructure, the second strategical direction of expanding the trade by exporting should be an easy task, yet this was not a case in this particular area of development. According to statistics by the World Trade Organization there was a continuous growth in value of the export however since 2013 a constant drop can be observed, the decline ranged from 84,700 million dollars to 36,685 million dollars in 2016, a slight improvement occurred in the two-year period preceding the outbreak of COVID-19 to drop again when the pandemic started. This drop may put a strain on a formidably ambitious plan of the ex-president Nazarbayev, in his vision place Kazakhstan would be on the list of thirty most developed countries in the world in just thirty-eight years. The COVID -19 outbreak is bound to delay those plan as it had a deteriorating effect on both global and local economies alike.
Much stress was put on economics and building the welfare of Kazakh, however, this point was not the only goal set in the aforementioned document, politicians in Astana realized that after Bolsheviks imposed a Russian cultural code in their homeland a tactic to counter the effects of the Soviet Russia policy has to be implemented. The main effect of the USSR’s ulve over Eurasia was making a Russian language dominant in this region, changing this situation by 2025 was one of the milestones presented in the main document by Nazarbayev. The whole idea of restoring a national Kazakh diversity and tradition was directly named as creating a New Kazakhstan Patriotism. Despite the plan to adjust itself to the wide trend of globalization the government thrives in the concept of New Kazakhstan Patriotism based on non-communist origin till the present day.
Being a largest landlocked country beside Russia in what sir Halford Mackinder described as Heartland required a lot of intelligent and long distance planning, on one hand Kazakhstan was strongly connected with Russia through the seventy years of the Soviet dominance in that region, on the other, it faced being a fully independent country on the border of two pan-regions, that is, Russian and Japanese as the Haushofer presented it in his works although in the XXI century it should be called rather a China pan-region as the shift of political and cultural power occurred in this area. Putting a currently dominating political and cultural center of power aside, Kazakhstan quickly realized that isolation is not an option, just as the states in Central Europe realized full security depends on NATO and to some extent on the European Union the eastern people decided to join new international organizations of both military and civil nature such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the United Nations. Such a wide range of alliances clearly shows that the foreign policy of the Kazakh’s state is based on multilateral relations.
A quick look at the map and yet another important issue can be observed, the geographical position is crucial not only in trade but also in defence, Kazakhstan position on the map makes it buffer zone between Russia and regions which show an instability in comparison to the Kazakh’s state. Losing such a “soft underbelly” as Churchill called similar phenomena in Europe would open a way for a potentially hostile forces to both European and West Siberian Plains, such a threat combined with growing tension with NATO alliance would shake the entire Russian defensive system grounded in favourable geography which saved Soviets during World War Two when they evacuated their industry behind the immense wall of the Ural Mountains. This gives the Kazakhstan authorities a leverage on Russia as they may be crucial to many major players in the world.
With the initial success of the Bright Road strategy in the field of infrastructure and not having too much of a success in the field of export, the government in Nur-Sultan decided it will not only serve as a hub between bigger players but also it has to build its own regional power. Allowing foreign investors to enter their market resulted in taking yet another step in ensuring a growth of the Kazakh’s economy as well as its attachment to the global supply chains, a perfect example of such a cooperation occurred on March 26, 2021 when a factory of KIA was opened in Kustanay in the presence of the then Prime Minister Askar Mamin, thanks to this factory and cooperation between KIA and KAMAZ PTC the government is showing the realization of their grand strategy in practice as the increase of welfare and industrial development are considered one of the key branches of the “Kazakhstan 2050” and “Нұрлы Жол” strategies.
Encouraging big, international capital to invest in Kazakhstan was one of the steps to boost its economy, however, the government set out a special position for small and medium-sized enterprises, the strategy assumed that those will constitute 50 % of GDP till 2021, as it could be observed this part of the strategy was not achieved as planned, the increase of small and medium sized companies is visible, as it moved form 10,5 percent in 2005 to nearly 32 percent in 2019 showing that the Kazakh Government takes the realization of the Nazarbayev’ s plan with a great dose of persistence even as the pandemic continues. The recent meeting of the state Commission of Economic Growth clearly indicates that the state is going to continue the strategy to aid the native companies survive by deferring tax, bank loans and microcredits payments during the Covid 19 crisis in order to help the native economy get back on track after the virus is contained in the region.
Implemented strategy and programmes bound to carry it out were originally oriented to the east and west, nevertheless, they may not be the only directions which Nur-Sultan is having in mind, recent visit of Roman Sklyar at XVI meeting of Intergovernmental Kazakh-Tajik Commission on Economic Cooperation clearly indicated that the cooperation between Kazakhstan and its smaller neighbors is to be maintained and developed, it is obvious that in the minds of Astana’s decision makers it is their country that will play a leading role as a regional power. Going even further, Kazakhstan authorities turn their eyes into the Middle East, no strategic document concerning this vector of expansion was released, and however, the recent visit to United Arab Emirates may indicate that Kazakhstan is planning to expand in the axis south – north as well. In addition to existing geopolitical position of Kazakhstan a new potential way of advancing is likely to occupy the thoughts of politicians in the Eurasia, including Mamin’s Government, namely the Northern Sea Route which is strongly advertised by Russia, opening a new sea route is something that has not happened on such a scale since the great geographical discoveries of XV and XVI centuries. The recent incident in the Suez Canal served as a trigger to yet another wave of promoting this new, cold sea road as an ideal alternative for sea routes widely used in the XXI century.
To summarize all of the above, both the “Strategy 2050” and “Bright Road” initiative proved to be a well-designed document which evaluated the geopolitical potential properly and outlined the directions in which the new, independent Kazakhstan, should proceed in the XXI century. It cannot be denied that certain aspects of the plan were not achieved, nevertheless, the persistence combined with the ability to adjust to the dynamically changing circumstances occurring in the Eurasian space paved the way for the Kazakhstan to be a self-governed regional player which uses its geopolitical advantages in a variety of the spheres of the country’s current political existence and further development.
Turkmenistan is a competent member of international politics as one of active UN-member states, makes its significant contribution to consolidate international community efforts in countering the threats against humanity, especially terrorism and radicalism. The President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov underlines that, countering terrorism acquires strategic significance on the agenda of multilateral cooperation of Turkmenistan within Community of Nations along with global tasks in ensuring security such as disarmament and non-proliferation, transport and energy, environment and several other aspects defined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Turkmenistan’s position rests upon fundamental concept of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov when state formulates approaches in ensuring global security. The concept covers the completeness and indivisibility of this idea in terms of geopolitics and interconnectedness of its concrete aspects. The backbone of this concept is that security of one state may not be guaranteed when there is no security in the region, continent and world. In similar way, political and military security will not be long-term and complete without ensuring economic, energy and food security, preventing and neutralizing risks, threats of environmental and technological character, countering effectively international terrorism, organized crimes, proliferation of mass destruction weapons and other global challenges.
Terrorism and its all forms are very dangerous threats to humanity irrespective of development level of one specific country or others and regions. Countering terrorism is becoming very important issue at present when globalization process is deepening and where one of the most important conditions is to ensure sustainable development of states and regions under peaceful and safe environment. Terrorist movements acquire new forms at the time of rapidly advancing technology, technological progress, mass media communication development, different types of information dissemination and this requires effective measures of countering
Turkmenistan takes all necessary measures and actions at the national and international level to eliminate threats against peace and security as well as counters terrorist and radical acts.
National legislation of Turkmenistan provides сlear definition and forms legal framework in this field. More particularly, the Law of Turkmenistan “On countering terrorism” stipulates legal and organizational base for countering terrorism, authorities and responsibilities of state bodies, social assosiations, other entities and competent authorities, as well as it defines guarantees for legal and soial protection of citizens involved in countering terrorism.
The Law of Turkmenistan defines terrorism as follows: «terrorism – is an ideology of violence and actions to influence central government, local government, either international organizations or other entities decision-making process; socially dangerous acts which use force intentionally for hostage taking, arson, murder, torture, intimidation of population and bodies of power or committing any offence against lives and health of innocent people or threats to commit any act for achieving such criminal goals»
The same Law defines international terrorism as follows: «international terrorism – is socially dangerous violent acts commited with terrorist groups or organizations on global or regional scale including the support of state bodies of other states with the purpose of achieving specific goals related to kidnapping, hostage taking, murdering innocent people or posing threat to their lives and health, destructing or threat of destructing important facilities, life support, communication systems or using or posing threat of using nuclear, chemical, biological other weapons of mass destruction.
It is evident that, the terrorism may be countered successfully with only joint efforts of states in close cooperation with international agencies. In this regard, Turkmenistan cooperates closely with other states, as well as, reputable international bodies, first and foremost the UN, EU and OSCE.
Turkmenistan closely coordinates its actions with the UN on countering terrorism, drug trafficking and other threats. Strategic partnership between Turkmenistan and the UN is long-term, implemented in systemic basis and similar principles and views on final outcome are shared. In this context, Turkmenistan supports efforts of international community to create effective mechanism for countering terrorism and is for fully implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
These facts demonstrate that, Turkmenistan maintains constructive and efficient cooperation with international agencies such as the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, UN Regional Center for Central Asia for Preventive Diplomacy and neighboring countries.
Turkmenistan demonstrates its strict adherence to UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in practice and attaches regional context to it taking into account historical, economic, social, cultural and other features of one or another region. In this regard, high level dialogue in the region will give political impetus to adopt necessary, complementary and coordinated strategic approach to counter terrorism for Central Asian States. Consolidating efforts and developing commonly accepted approach in the states of the region to address existing issues will lead to explore and find effective ways of addressing them.
It is a fact that, International community recognized the peaceful policies of the President of independent and neutral Turkmenistan – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov when the Resolution on «The role of UN Regional Center for Central Asia for Preventive Diplomacy» was adopted.
Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force was created with the purpose of ensuring the consistency of UN activities in given field. The Office coordinates membership in CTITF which covers 36 UN agencies, World Customs Organization and Interpol. United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCTC) which was established within CTITF in 2011 provides assistance to member states in capacity building in Strategy implementation.
Turkmenistan participates in project implemented jointly by Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) of United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCTC) and UN Regional Center for Central Asia for Preventive Diplomacy (UNRCCA) in Ashgabat with the support of EU and Norway. UN Regional Center for Central Asia for Preventive Diplomacy implemented project on applying abovementioned UN Strategy in Central Asian States jointly with Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force and EU. On November 30, 2011, Joint Action Plan on implementing UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Ashgabat Final Declaration were approved in the high level meeting jointly organized by the Government of Turkmenistan, CTITF, EU and UNRCCA in Ashgabat. This Action Plan was the first document ever adopted. The projects on Action Plan items were implemented in the past years. On June 13, 2017, the final event in the second phase of project “on implementing Joint Action plan to realize UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy” took place when “High-level UN Central Asian Dialogue among countries and the on implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia” was held in Ashgabat. The main objective of the meeting was to discuss the issues related to improving stability and security and the ways to achieve them.
General Secretary of the UN Antonio Guterras, ministers, senior officials, the representatives of countering terrorism agencies and national security agencies from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan participated in the sessions. The review of joint Action Plan for Central Asia to implement UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy at the regional level was presented.
Joint Declaration on strengthening regional cooperation in countering terrorism was adopted at the end of meeting. UN General Secretary Antonio Guterras welcomed Ashgabat Declaration on countering terrorism adopted by Central Asian countries and their permanent efforts to implement UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and joint Action Plan for Central Asia. The Declaration represented support given to General Secretary’s initiative of to reform the UN countering terrorism office by creating new Office for countering terrorism and recognized the importance of efforts to counter terrorism in the region by the community of nations.
There was a high-level meeting "Towards a comprehensive implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia" at the end of April 2018, in Ashgabat and the third phase of a joint project on supporting the Joint Action Plan for Central Asia was launched. The first and second phases of the project were implemented in 2010-2017 and are dedicated to consider four main directions of the Global Strategy for drafting recommendations for the development of the JAP, which was adopted in December 2011 in Ashgabat.
While delivering speech , the UN Under-Secretary-General and head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, Vladimir Voronkov underlined that the main activities of the project would include providing targeted support in developing national and regional strategies to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism, further strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian countries in priority areas identified in the JAP for Central Asia and facilitating the exchange of best practices in the region and beyond it.
During the meeting, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov stated the readiness of Turkmenistan to cooperate with the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCTC) on the implementation of the Ashgabat Action Plan of the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, the Turkmen side made several concrete proposals by using the UNRCCA in given direction.
The Statement on the outcomes of High-level meeting "Towards a Comprehensive Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia" was adopted at the end of the forum. It is expected in the long term that the new phase of the joint regional counter-terrorism initiative of UNRCCA and the UNCTC entitled "Towards a comprehensive implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia" will be aimed at further strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian states in the field of countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism in a strategic basis.
One of the emerging and acute problems is the elimination of terrorist financing sources, where special attention needs to be paid to combat drug trafficking. Enormous work is being done in this direction under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, including legal framework and the organizational basis development for this work in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan maintains close, effective and targeted cooperation with neighboring states, as well as with specialized UN agencies, primarily with the UNODC. Long-term national programs for combating drug addiction and drug trafficking have been adopted and are being implemented and good results are obtained.
Thus, Turkmenistan pursues foreign policy directed at eliminating threats and dangers against peace and makes its significant contribution to consolidate international efforts.
The International Information Department of the MFA of Turkmenistan
A HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON THE UN GLOBAL COUNTER TERRORISM STRATEGY IN CENTRAL ASIA WAS HELD IN ASHGABATTuesday, 01 May 2018 10:58
On April 30, 2018, in Ashgabat, the High-Level Meeting "Towards a Comprehensive Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia" was held, and the third phase of a joint project supporting the Joint Action Plan for Central Asia (SAP) was launched.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), with the participation of the UN Under-Secretary-General, Head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Department Vladimir Voronkov, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Asia, the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Herman, deputy foreign ministers of the Central Asian states, as well as UN regional structures.
As is known, the first and second phases of the project were implemented in the period 2010-2017 and were devoted to the consideration of four main directions of the Global Strategy for drawing up recommendations on the development of SAP, which is the first of its kind and was adopted in Ashgabat in December 2011.
In the long term, it is expected that the new phase of the joint regional counter-terrorism initiative of UNRCCA and the UNCCT, entitled "Towards a comprehensive implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia", will be aimed at further strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian states in the field of combating terrorism and preventing violent extremism in a strategic basis.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Voronkov noted that the main activities of the project will include the provision of targeted support in the development of national and regional strategies to combat terrorism and prevent violent extremism, further strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian countries in the priority areas identified in the SAP for Central Asia and facilitating the exchange of best practices in the region and beyond.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan S.G. Berdimuhamedov stated about Turkmenistan's further readiness to offer cooperation with the UNFC on the implementation of the Ashgabat Action Plan of the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, the Turkmen side made a number of concrete proposals in this direction using the UNRCCA.
In turn, Ms. Herman noted that in accordance with her mandate in the field of regional and preventive diplomacy, UNRCCA will jointly implement this initiative and promote regional and cross-border cooperation in preventing violent extremism and combating terrorism in coordination with other regional partners active in this field in Central Asia.
At the end of the forum, a Statement was adopted following the results of the High-level Meeting "Towards a Comprehensive Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia".
At the end of the meeting, a press conference was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan for foreign journalists, accredited in Ashgabat and representatives of the national media.
LUXEMBOURG, 28 July 2017 -- SES S.A. (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announced financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2017.
Delivering return to growth in revenue and profitability
- Revenue EUR 1,048.7 million, up 9.6% over prior period (down 1.5% like-for-like)
- EBITDA margin 65.5% and operating profit margin 29.2% (H1 20161: 66.4% and 31.3% respectively)
- Net profit attributable to SES shareholders of EUR 275.5 million, up 21.2% over prior period
- Net debt to EBITDA ratio 3.24 times (H1 2016: 2.03 times), in line with SES’s financial framework
- Substantial contract backlog of EUR 7.5 billion (H1 2016: EUR 7.3 billion)
Improving trend in SES Video and strong growth in SES Networks delivers stable verticals development
- Improving trend in SES Video with Q2 2017 at -1.9% (YOY), compared with Q1 2017 at -4.2% (YOY)
- Stable outlook for SES Video, excluding short-term impact of launch schedule and satellite health changes
- Improved business mix and differentiated solutions driving 7.5% (YOY) growth in SES Networks
- Development agreement signed with Boeing to deliver next generation technology innovation
Karim Michel Sabbagh, President and CEO, commented: “SES continues to make a positive start to 2017 and is well positioned to generate sustained growth and improving returns.
SES Video continues to deliver differentiated services and enhance the viewing experience, with the proportion of integrated solutions nearly doubling versus last year. The improving trend in Q2 2017 underpins our stable outlook for 2017 before the temporary impact of changes due to launch schedule and satellite health, which are expected to result in a slight decline.
SES Networks’ distributed network capabilities are driving strong growth across our data-centric verticals, expanding with global fixed data, aeronautical, maritime and government clients. The development agreement, signed today, with Boeing is the latest milestone in delivering next generation technology that will form the basis for SES’s future network and will expand the future addressable market.”
At 30 June 2017, SES’s fully protected contract backlog was EUR 7.5 billion (30 June 2016: EUR 7.3 billion). The substantial backlog is the result of the successful commercial activity across SES’s two natural business units – SES Video and SES Networks.
SES Video: 67% of group revenue (H1 2016: 70%)
- Reported revenue up 5.4% to EUR 699.7 million (-3.1% like-for-like)
- Improving trend with Q2 2017 at -1.9% (YOY) versus -4.2% (YOY) for Q1 2017
- Nearly doubling reported revenue from integrated media solutions
As expected, a significant improvement in the year-on-year (like-for-like) development between Q1 2017 (-4.2%) and Q2 2017 (-1.9%) led to an overall reduction of 3.1% for H1 2017, compared with the prior period. This resulted from the impact of higher periodic revenue, predominantly in Q1 2016, beginning to progressively normalise over the course of 2017. Q2 2017 benefited from the signing of new agreements covering the existing fleet and recently launched capacity.
 Comparative figures are restated at constant FX to neutralise currency variations and assuming (on a pro forma basis) that RR Media and O3b had been consolidated from 1 January 2016
 Includes one-off impairment charge against AMC-9 of EUR 38.4 million. Excluding this item, H1 2017 operating profit margin was 32.8%
 Based on rating agency methodology (treats hybrid bonds as 50% debt and 50% equity). Under IFRS (treats hybrid bonds as 100% equity), net debt to EBITDA ratio was 2.79 times at 30 June 2017 (30 June 2016: 1.77 times)
Communication Strategy of the Government of Georgia on Georgia’s EU and NATO Membership for 2017-2020
Georgia's membership to the EU and NATO constitutes the top priority for the country's foreign and security policy, which is strongly supported by the majority of the population. It is a firm will of the citizens of Georgia that the country takes its proper place in the European and Euro-Atlantic community, which shares a common civilization and values; that the citizens live in a developed state secured from external threats and which is based on the principles of rule of law and human rights protection.
Pursuant to the Resolution on Foreign Policy of Georgia adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on 29 December 2016, Georgia's EU and NATO membership is of the highest priority, without alternative. Throughout the implementation of the country's foreign policy objectives, special efforts will be directed towards the active management of strategic communications on Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration that will ensure the preservation of high and aware public support for the country's Western orientation.
For the effective implementation of Georgia's foreign policy objectives, as well as in compliance with the Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia, the Government Communication Strategy on Georgia's membership to the EU and NATO has been elaborated. This document prescribes the ways and means necessary to facilitate ensuring public support to the process of Georgia's membership to the EU and NATO, and outlines the role and functions of relevant state agencies responsible for the implementation thereof. Strategic communications on Georgia's membership to the EU and NATO are carried out in accordance with the present strategy and action plan elaborated in compliance thereto.
On 30 December 2016, the Government of Georgia approved the first ever national strategy for rural development. It provides the country’s vision for 2017-2020 in key areas of rural development – growth and diversification of local economies, improvement of social and public services, sustainable use of natural resources and local engagement in the development process.
The adoption of the Rural Development Strategy 2017 – 2020 has sealed a year-long process initiated by the Government of Georgia and supported by the European Union (EU) and two United Nations agencies – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under the EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD).
The Strategy represents a new approach to rural development in Georgia grounded on the best EU practices in this field. It focuses on promoting entrepreneurship and civil engagement, and on improving the quality of people’s life while paying special attention to the values of natural and cultural heritage.
ENPARD Programme contributed to the development of the Strategy by offering technical expertise to the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as organizing public consultations, which helped to make the process more inclusive and transparent. The preparation of the Strategy engaged a range of national and international stakeholders, including for civil society and community organizations, national and international experts, relevant ministries and state agencies.
After formal adoption by the Government, an Interagency Coordination Council on rural development will be established. It will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture with technical assistance from the European Union (EU) and UNDP under the ENPARD programme. The Council will coordinate the implementation of the Strategy and will look into specific initiatives in the regions of Georgia.
The EU is supporting rural development in Georgia through its ENPARD Programme. Implemented since 2013 with a total budget of EUR 102 million, the main goal of ENPARD is to reduce rural poverty in Georgia. The first phase of ENPARD in Georgia focused on developing the potential of agriculture. The second phase focuses on creating economic opportunities for rural population that go beyond agricultural activities.
More information on ENPARD is available at: www.enpard.ge