As celebrations from the International Day of Persons with Disabilities continue, the Georgia UN Disability Inclusion Group (GUNDIG) invited the organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) in Georgia to highlight accomplishments and discuss challenges that hamper progress towards an inclusive and equal society.
The meeting created a discussion space for UN agencies and organizations of persons with disabilities to exchange ideas and plans for supporting the sustainability of the achieved results.
UN Resident Coordinator Sabine Machl opened a discussion and commended progress towards an inclusive and rights-based environment for persons with disabilities (PwDs).
“We salute progress made so far towards creating a more inclusive, equitable, and empowering environment for persons with disabilities,” said UN Resident Coordinator Sabine Machl. “We look forward to continuing our work in close partnership with people with disabilities to support building an inclusive society. We need to achieve real impact in the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities and to foster development that creates more opportunities for all.”
The consultation included an overview of priority areas and identifying the specific steps to be taken for advancing the disability agenda in Georgia.
The event featured presentations by Nutsi Odisharia, UNFPA, Ketevan Melkadze, UNICEF, Sophio Benashvili, OHCHR, and Eliso Chabrava, UNDP bringing attention to crucial areas, including biopsychosocial model, access to quality health and social services, with emphasis on the sexual and reproductive health and gender based violence, data management, economic empowerment and full participation and inclusion in society, capacity building of women and young persons with disabilities and organizations of persons with disabilities in all decision-making and development processes.
Representatives from various disability organisations and UN agencies stressed the need for greater effort and commitment to promoting disability rights and inclusivity and monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Georgia. This resonates with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres message for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) that calls on “the world to work side-by-side with persons with disabilities to design and deliver solutions based on equal rights in every country and community”.
The event served as a catalyst for renewed efforts and partnerships, aiming to achieve the ambitious goals of "United in Action to Rescue and Achieve the SDGs for, with and by Persons with Disabilities," the theme of this year's IDPD.
The United Nations in Georgia has been helping to protect the rights of persons with disabilities in Georgia for over three decades. This work has included strengthening the legislative framework and creating an evidence-based policy environment, in alignment with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN has helped to improve systems for quality integrated health and social services and to enhance capacities for data collection, monitoring, and advocacy. The UN excelled in transformation of the disability assessment system, focused on the best interests of persons living with disabilities. At present two joint programmes are being implemented with the support of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) to strengthen disability inclusive development policy in Georgia.
On 28 November 2023, the Kvareli EuroClub in Georgia marked its four-year anniversary with an official ceremony and a public fair, the ‘EuroClub Village’.
The special event was organised as part of the ‘MORE EU in GEORGIA’ public outreach activities of the Young European Ambassadors (YEAs), with financial support of the EU NEIGHBOURS east regional communication programme, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Norway.
The official ceremony was attended by Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, Nicholas Cendrowicz, the Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation to Georgia, Anna Chernyshova, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Georgia, as well as the ambassadors of Austria, Czech Republic, Ukraine, US, UK and Estonia and the representatives of France, Poland, Denmark, Norway, and NATO.
The Kvareli EuroClub was founded by Young European Ambassador Nika Gurini in November 2019, with the support of the European Commission, DG NEAR, through the EU NEIGHBOURS EAST programme. In the four years since then, more than 2,000 young people have benefited from the different projects and activities organised by the EuroClub.
The main mission of the EuroClub is to create a space for young people to interact and learn, to have access to non-formal education, and to stimulate civic activism at the community level.
“Such an initiative is exactly what our country needs the most in order to achieve our goal – the European road of Ilia [Chavchavadze], and for this, everyone’s involvement is necessary,” President Zourabichvili said in Kvareli. “The government, leaders, they come and go, but society remains, and society, if it is sure of itself, if society really knows what kind of future it wants, what it wants for its children, for the next generation, then that society will achieve its own, and it all starts in the city, village, community, all the initiatives started from there are the strongest.”
Photo credit: UNDP/Gela Bedianashvili
This joint statement is issued by the United Nations system in Georgia, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the NATO Liaison Office in Georgia, and the Embassies to Georgia of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, we call for action to end violence against women and girls in all its forms – from sexual harassment and abuse to child marriage and femicide. Globally, nearly one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence at least once, the majority of them assaulted by their husband or partner. In Georgia, violence against women and girls remains a critical problem despite decisive steps taken by the government and civil society to combat these horrific human rights violations. Such violence is rooted in gender inequality and is in turn further perpetuating discrimination of women and girls. As a result, our societies are less peaceful and less just, and our economies are less prosperous.
Eliminating violence against women and girls will require strengthening and enforcing legislation and policies to protect their rights and to promote gender equality, to ensure full protection and support to survivors of violence, and to end impunity for all perpetrators. To make this happen, it is vital to raise awareness and promote women’s leadership at every stage of decision-making. We especially emphasize the urgent need to take concrete steps in order to eliminate violence against women in politics, which prevents women’s meaningful participation in Georgian democracy. According to the latest data, 54 per cent of female candidates have experienced physical, psychological, economic, or sexual violence and harassment during their election campaigns or political careers. Sexist hate speech is often used against women politicians in social media, including attacks based on their gender identity, appearance, intellectual abilities, and moral criteria.
Economic violence is one of the most hidden forms of violence in Georgia, forcing the victim to stay with the perpetrator. Challenges remain in reducing the gender pay gap, women’s equal access to financial resources, inheritance rights, employment opportunities, recognizing and redistributing unpaid and care work. Improving child protection systems, access to education and adolescent-friendly health services is of paramount importance to combat violence against girls.
We call on all stakeholders, including political parties, the government, civil society organizations and the media to work towards a future where women are empowered to participate fully and equally in economic, social and political life, without fear of violence or harassment.
 Facts and figures: Ending violence against women, available at: https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
 Violence Against Women in Politics in Georgia, available at: https://georgia.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2023/08/violence-against-women-in-politics-in-georgia
 Election Monitoring Report: Sexism and Gender Stereotypes in Social Media, available at: https://www.undp.org/georgia/publications/gender-bias-social-media-2020
 In 2022 the adjusted hourly gender pay gap equaled 15.4%. The same indicator calculated at the monthly level equaled 23.0%, available at: https://www.geostat.ge/media/57459/Adjusted-gender-pay-gap---2022.pdf
EU and UN Showcase Success of EUR 5.1 Million Initiative for Private Sector Competitiveness in GeorgiaMonday, 13 November 2023 14:04
On 14 November, 10:00 am, at Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel (First Republic Square, Tbilisi), the European Union and the United Nations will present the accomplishments of their EUR 5.1 million initiative, "EU Innovative Action for Private Sector Competitiveness in Georgia".
Over five years, from 2019 to 2023, this landmark programme had a profound impact on the business development landscape in Georgia. It supported significant strides in advancing the circular economy, fostering robust business clusters, enhancing legislative frameworks, and boosting Georgian producers' presence in European markets.
With financial support from the European Union, the programme was implemented in close partnership with the Georgian Government and the private sector, with the active involvement of four UN agencies: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
- Catalin Gherman, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia
- Genadi Arveladze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia
- Vladimer Konstantinidi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
- Douglas Webb, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia
- Javier Sanz Alvarez, FAO Programme Coordinator
- Giorgi Andguladze, UNIDO National Project Coordinator
- Sanja Celebic Lukovac, IOM Chief of Mission
- Representatives from the private sector and business clusters
Statement of the United Nations in Georgia regarding the draft laws on amendments to the Tobacco Control Law
The UN in Georgia maintains that the draft laws initiated in the Georgian Parliament on October 16, 2023 is damaging to public health. The proposed changes seek to exclude heated tobacco products from standardized packaging regulations, extend the sale of tobacco products with old packaging for another eight months, and modify the requirement to display brand and variant information in the state language of Georgia, by allowing also display in English.
Protecting public health and effective tobacco control policy are paramount. Governments must act to protect public health policies from tobacco industry interference as per Art. 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Allowing these changes would prioritize the financial interests of tobacco companies over the interest of public health.
Almost one-third of adults and a substantial portion of adolescents and young people in Georgia are using tobacco. Tobacco-related direct healthcare costs and indirect costs due to premature mortality and disability and workplace costs exceed 800 million GEL annually, with the number of deaths surpassing 11,000. Addressing this situation necessitates long-term and steadfast implementation of comprehensive and effective tobacco control policies. Georgia took a positive step with the adoption of strong tobacco control legislation in 2017, which yielded initial results through effective implementation. However, to achieve a sustained reduction in tobacco use rates and mitigate its catastrophic impact, full implementation and further strengthening of tobacco control legislation and state policies are required.
Standardized packaging regulations under the new tobacco control legislation were originally intended to take effect on January 1, 2018, then unfortunately postponed to December 31, 2022, and subsequently extended once more to July 1, 2024. This delay and other proposed changes are unjustifiable and further delays the demonstrable benefits that plain packaging provides.
As of today, many countries in Europe and globally have demonstrated that plain packaging is an effective tobacco control measure. It reduces the appeal of tobacco products, enhances the impact of health warnings, diminishes consumer deception, and ultimately reduces tobacco consumption rates.
We urge the Parliament of Georgia to reject the proposed changes and we hope that it will continue the policy announced at the highest level in the field of health protection and tobacco control, protect the legislation from the interests of the tobacco industry, including the implementation of standardized packaging of tobacco products.
 UNDP/WHO/NCDC Tobacco Control Investment Case study, 2017
Germany and UNDP Support the Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment
TBILISI. 30 October 2023 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the German Government, released a comprehensive study focused on advancing environmental justice in Georgia. This research examined the legislative and practical landscape and pinpointed specific challenges, while also presenting recommendations to further environmental justice in Georgia.
On 30 October, the research findings were presented to the public, with attendees including representatives from the Judiciary, Georgian Government, civil society, and international organizations. The event featured a special address by Prof. Dr. Thomas Schomerus, a distinguished member of the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee.
Lidija Christmann, Head of Development Cooperation South Caucasus at the Embassy of Germany to Georgia, emphasized the importance of this initiative: “Climate change and environmental pollution exert their impacts on Georgia, just as they do on the rest of the world. These pressing concerns affect people and make societies more vulnerable. Germany supports Georgia in protecting the fundamental human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. We are assisting Georgia in evaluating its legal framework to ensure equitable access to environmental justice for all."
Douglas Webb, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, noted that a robust legal framework exists at the international level to guide Georgia in strengthening environmental justice and safeguarding its citizens from environmental harm. “Our research acknowledges Georgia's progress in recent years, uncovers remaining challenges, and offers a set of recommendations for various institutions to bridge the gap between the country's existing practices and its international commitments."
Conducted by a team of international and local experts from July to September 2023, the study primarily focuses on the legal aspects shaping the dynamics of environmental justice in Georgia. The findings are based on comprehensive desk research and 27 in-depth interviews with various state and non-state representatives, aiming to gather background information, statistics, and insights.
The study reveals that the legal framework for environmental justice in Georgia is well-established. The Aarhus Convention is directly applicable, and the Constitution firmly enshrines the right to a healthy environment, emphasising access to information and public participation. Additionally, Georgia's legislation allows anyone to seek judicial remedies for violations of environmental laws. The country boasts functioning administrative agencies and judicial bodies, making both procedural and substantive challenges to environmental decisions possible.
Barriers are described, however, that hinder effective access to environmental justice in Georgia giving citizens the feeling that they cannot achieve effective legal remedies for environmental issues through conventional channels.
Barriers to environmental justice are both systemic, like lengthy delays in court reviews that can deny justice, and case-specific, such as shortage of qualified judges or too narrow interpretations of national laws that together can harm the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
Additional barriers mentioned in the research include a lack of accessible and inclusive public hearings for infrastructural and other development projects that affect the environment, as well as cases where requests for information are either ignored or answered inadequately.
The recommendations offered address the identified barriers and promote a more inclusive, transparent, and effective environmental justice framework in Georgia. They encompass the improved enforcement of environmental legislation, timely judicial reviews and procedures, capacity-building of rule of law institutions and public agencies, public awareness raising, the availability of quality legal aid, and support for civil society.
The full research report is available on the UNDP website.
UNDP and Germany's collaborative support for environmental justice in Georgia is part of a broader US$1.62 million initiative funded by Germany and implemented by UNDP. This initiative is designed to enhance the capacities of rule-of-law institutions, improve access to disability-inclusive infrastructure, and ensure the legal empowerment and socio-economic resilience of disadvantaged communities.
UNDP and Germany promote social integration of Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia
TBILISI. 13 September 2023 — The newly inaugurated Ukrainian House in Tbilisi marks a significant milestone in enhancing support for Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia. The initiative is spearheaded by the Ukrainian community organization “Georgian-Ukrainian Platform” with support from the Government of Germany through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The Ukrainian House stands as a symbol of unity and collaboration, committed to supporting Ukrainian nationals who sought refuge in Georgia amidst the devastating war that inflicts unmeasurable suffering upon the Ukrainian people and has profound global repercussions.
This multifunctional space, situated in the heart of Tbilisi, will address the needs of Ukrainian non-governmental organizations and volunteer groups committed to assisting Ukrainian beneficiaries in Georgia. The Ukrainian House will serve as both a communal hub, an operational office space, and a referral point for various socio-economic services tailored for Ukrainian nationals.
In addition to its core mission, the Ukrainian House will be a focal point for cultural exchange. Its dynamic calendar of events will cater to both adults and children, fostering integration and enhancing the growth of Georgian-Ukrainian relations.
The Ukrainian House officially opened its doors on 13 September 2023, during a ceremony attended by Tanja Hutt, Deputy Head of Mission, German Embassy in Georgia; Oleksandr Shulha, charge d'affaires of Ukraine in Georgia; Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, Valentina Marjanishvili, Head of the Georgian-Ukrainian Platform, and members of the Ukrainian community in Georgia.
“Germany is proud to contribute to the establishment of the Ukrainian House in Tbilisi. We are confident that this vibrant space will offer support to various Ukrainian community groups in Georgia, while actively fostering social integration," said Tanja Hutt, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Georgia.
“Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has led to the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Nearly one-third of the Ukrainian population was forced to flee their homes, including more than half of all Ukrainian children. Around 25,000 found shelter, security, and hope in Georgia, and UNDP, with the generous support of Germany, is committed to assisting them. We're establishing a community space for Ukrainian civil society organizations, providing grants to entrepreneurs, and offering vital support for employment, recovery, and integration,” said Anna Chernyshova, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia.
"The establishment of the Ukrainian House reflects the close ties between Georgia and Ukraine. This space will offer practical assistance to Ukrainians living in Georgia and will foster connections and nurture talents within our community through cultural and educational events," noted Valentina Marjanishvili, Head of the Georgian-Ukrainian Platform.
The establishment of the Ukrainian House in Tbilisi is part of UNDP’s broader efforts, funded by the Government of Germany, to support refugees and Ukrainian nationals living in Georgia. ln partnership with CARE Caucasus, UNDP boosts economic recovery and income generation for refugees and Ukrainian nationals by creating a grants programme for entrepreneurs and providing business training, employment advice, and job-matching services within Georgia's private sector.
The EU and UNDP are supporting a partnership agreement signed between twelve municipalities of the Imereti region in Georgia and a number of waste and packaging organisations, aiming to develop better, more efficient and sustainable waste management systems.
“Developing a public-private partnership on waste collection, separation, and recycling is important for a circular economy as it allows resources to be collected and reused more efficiently,” says a press release from UNDP Georgia.
The initiative was supported by the ‘EU innovative action for private sector and competitiveness in Georgia’ project, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP Georgia, as part of the wider EU4Business programme, which promotes private sector development in Georgia.
The partnership agreement was signed between the twelve municipalities and the World Packaging Organisation (WPO), Georgian Packaging Waste Producers Union ‘Georgia Plus’, PMAG Packaging Cluster, and Georgian Waste Management Association (WMA Georgia).
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27 February the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan signed new projects on health to improve access to treatment of the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and enhance national capacity for clinical laboratory diagnostics.
“We are happy to note the increased collaboration between UNDP and the Government of Turkmenistan on strengthening health system of the country, which demonstrates a growing trust in UNDP as a strategic partner to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, by ensuring no one is left behind,”- said Ms. Narine Sahakyan, UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan.
More specifically, UNDP launched the following new joint projects to support the national efforts to strengthen the country’s health system:
The project “Provision of medicines necessary for prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases and for maternal and child health in Turkmenistan in 2023-2024”, which is aimed at strengthening the national health systems capacities to control the noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), rare diseases, and improve maternal and newborn health in Turkmenistan. . The project will ensure access to free, good quality, available, affordable medicines across the country through the provision of medicines for treatment of NCDs and other diseases. This project will continue providing quality and affordable medicines initiated by the first NCD project between UNDP and MoHMI for 2020-2021. Notably, the project includes: i) the provision of medicines for rare and orphan diseases which are very costly, making the patients with the rare and orphan diseases most vulnerable to financial hardships; ii) provision of essential medicines for NCD patients, including the most vulnerable people; iii) contribute to women’s health by providing medicines for pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period;
The project “Strengthening clinical laboratory services in Turkmenistan in 2023-2024” will focus on strengthening the national health system’s capacity for clinical laboratory diagnostics of diseases. The project will support health services to ensure availability, accessibility, reliability, and most-up-to-date laboratory investigations for accurate and timely diagnosis of the most common diseases, such as common infectious, non-infectious diseases, surgery, emergency cases, maternal and child health, and other. Important to note that the project will support laboratories of primary health care which serve most of the population. The availability of lab services at the PHC level in close proximity to the place of residence, reduces gender-related barriers and ensures equal access to a full range of lab investigations for women and girls, including lab investigations during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period. The project will particularly help vulnerable people with access to lab services by reducing the cost of the services and the cost of transportation if such services are not available at PHC.
It is expected that both projects, fully funded by the Government of Turkmenistan with a total budget of around 78 million US dollars, will help Turkmenistan to contribute significantly to the achievement of the universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Ensuring Universal Health Coverage in the country and enhancing the resilience of the national health system to pandemics and acute diseases is one of the main areas of our cooperation with indeed impressive results. The volume of our past and ongoing cooperation only on health totals approximately $150 million, with the vast contribution coming from the government of Turkmenistan,” – said Ms. Sahakyan. “The remarkable achievements and outstanding collaboration between UNDP and Turkmenistan on public health have been reflected in the letters of recognition and appreciation from the UNDP Administrator and the Global Fund Executive Director addressed to His Excellency President of Turkmenistan, demonstrating readiness of UNDP and our partners to further improve national health system, leaving no one behind”.
UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and exclusion, and build resilience so countries can sustain progress. As the UN’s development agency, UNDP plays a critical role in helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
EU and UNDP select six local projects improving governance, policies, and services in Georgia’s regionsThursday, 16 February 2023 17:08
The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG), have chosen six municipalities across Georgia to implement local projects focused on urban renewal, maintenance and development of public spaces, protection of historical and cultural heritage, preschool education, and quality public services.
The jury selected the six best local projects out of 52 ideas submitted by 22 municipalities. Each winner will receive funding between €4,500 and € 6,000. The total value of the grant programme is €30,800.
In Tskaltubo Municipality (Imereti region), a modern recreational venue at Niko Lortkipanidze Museum in Chune village, with free WIFI access, will be organised.
In Zestaponi Municipality (Imereti region), four kindergartens will be equipped with a play-and-learn inventory to assist children in learning and physical activities.
In Lagodekhi Municipality (Kakheti region), a multifunctional space will be created and equipped at the library of the newly renovated Lagodekhi Museum, serving as a venue for educational activities, film screening and youth meetings.
In Telavi Municipality (Kakheti region), 96 staff in 32 kindergartens will be trained and certified in first aid services. Two kindergartens will receive additional support to equip doctors’ offices at their premises.
In Oni Municipality (Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti region), an open air cinema at one of Oni’s newly renovated plazas will provide young people with a comfortable space for film screenings, educational work and discussion club activities.
In Tsageri Municipality (Racha-Lechkhumi-Kvemo Svaneti region), the e-document project will support the digital transformation of the municipal preschool education system. Electronic tools will be introduced for registering children with kindergartens and training teachers.
The initiative is supported by the EU-funded programme EU for Integrated Territorial Development (EU4ITD), promoting balanced territorial development and improved living standards in Georgia’s regions.
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