"The Way of Georgia's integration with the West" was the title of a public meeting with the Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze that took place in the premises of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Berlin on 22 October 2014. The event marked the conclusion of a two-day official working visit of the Foreign Minister in Berlin.
In their introductions Alexander Kallweit, Head of the International Department of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Gernot Erler, coordinator of the German government for the Inter-societal collaboration with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries emphasized the difficult conditions in the wake of the Ukraine-crisis on the one hand and the challenges of the Georgian integration process to the European Union under the Association Agreement on the other.
In her presentation, Ms. Pandjikidze laid out the latest developments in the region. In the previous week, a draft agreement between Russia and Abkhazia was confirmed, which aims at closer military cooperation and the integration of Abkhazia into the Eurasian Union. Ms. Panjikidze critizised this initiative.The Foreign Minister also thanked the Friedrich-Ebert-Sitftung for its work in Georgia.
On September 30, 2014 in Tbilisi the Greens Movement of Georgia / Friends of the Earth – Georgia and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung have organized international conference “Challenges in Energy Sector of Georgia and Sustainable Development”.
The goal of the conference was to assess the problems of Georgian energy sector and promotion of energy efficient technologies and raising share of renewable energy sources in energy balance of the country according to the principles of sustainable development. Conference was final event summarizing the work done by group of experts, who prepared reviews, conclusions and recommendations regarding above issues.
Conference presenters have repeatedly stressed that Georgia has great potential of renewable energy sources (hydro, solar, wind, geothermal) but only minor part of them is utilized at the moment. Furthermore, in Georgia there are enormous losses of energy during its production and distribution. Additionally, at the consumption level the scale of energy efficiency is extremely low. All this pose serious problems to Georgian economy due to the fact that about 60% of consumed energy in Georgia is being imported from different countries.
It was also stressed that according to the different international agreements Georgia has the obligation to develop renewable energy sources and promote introduction of energy efficient technologies and solutions. Therefore, there is urgent need from governmental side to introduce effective measures for implementation of these obligations.
Conference was attended by the representative of EU Delegation to Georgia, Ministry of Energetic, Ministry of Environment, Tbilisi City Hall, NGOs, Diplomatic Missions and international organizations, Experts, Head of Environmental Committee of Parliament of Georgia, Head of Greens Party of Georgia and other.
On 26-28 September the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Armenia (FES) and the Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC) carried out the international conference “The Future of EU’s Eastern Partnership Program in Armenia”. The main focus was on the findings of the national monitoring of the Visa Facilitation Agreement EU-Armenia which was implemented by the ACGRC with support of FES Armenia. The conference was attended by international experts, representatives of the Armenian Parliament, the EU Delegation, NGOs, academics, journalists and students.
On 18 September, the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, in cooperation with the Public Defender of Georgia and local NGOs from Svaneti organized a conference in Mestia, with the title -"The Khudoni H.P.P: protection of human rights and citizen participation in decision-making processes". Representatives from experts, government and society circles discussed the lack of transparency of the project and the necessary participation of citizens in decision-making. In addition, the impact of the project on the environment, health, safety and the protection of cultural heritage were discussed. The conference was attended by representatives of the local population as well as of diplomatic and international organizations.
According to the social democracy, social and democratic participation is possible only if the basic material security is guaranteed. The growing social inequalities around the world are not acceptable in this context. But how to succeed in a modern social state, which on the one hand ensures equal opportunities, avoiding poverty and creates employment, and on the other hand makes a productive contribution to economic development? With what justice terms, we assess the social state? What rights and obligations exist for individuals in a social state? How can social security be ensured in times of globalization and individualization? Answers to these questions provides a reading book series of the Political Academy of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation. The third reading book in this series, entitled "Social State and Social Democracy" is now published in Armenian. It can be downloaded here.
The Political Science Association of Armenia and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung have published a book with the title “Armenian-Georgian relations: Challenges and Opportunities for the Bilateral Cooperation”. Georgian and Armenien experts present the status quo of Georgian-Armenien relations and opportunities of their development. They come to the conclusion, that Georgia’s signing of the EU Association Agreement and Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Custom’s Union will be challenge and opportunity at the same time. On 6 September the book was presented to the public. Click here to download the publication.
Issues of social dialogue and work relations, labor legislation and safety at work are for quite some time the subject of the project work of the FES and its partners in Azerbaijan. The members of the National Assembly Dr. Ali Huseynli and Dr. Musa Guliyev, together with social policy experts from the National Assembly, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Department for public service and social innovations of the President of the Republic attended the invitation of the FES on an information program in Berlin. The program allowed the guests to learn about the developments and the challenges of the German welfare state and discuss the experiences with the development of a sustainable social system in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government and the National Assembly have initiated a number of social programs, giving the starting points for a program of social policy debates in which the FES also points to the experience from other countries and would like to make suggestions for further development of social security in Azerbaijan. The role of state institutions, civil society organizations and private companies was one of the topics of conversations in which the various challenges were discussed to connect political stability on the one hand and the development of democracy on another.
II Georgian-Russian NGO Forum was held in Tbilisi on July 23, 2014. The 2014 Forum’s topic is the role and place of non-governmental organizations in the development of civil society institutions and in resolving conflicts. The main partner of the Forum is Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Georgia.
In 2014, for participation in the Forum of Russia took more than 110 participants, among them - 30 independent experts, lawyers, representatives of democratic NGOs of the twenty regions of Russia - from Moscow to the Far East who are interested in the problem of restoring the Georgian-Russian relations and the development of democracy, human Rights as well as the possibility of non-governmental organizations to become an instrument of peace and harmony between peoples. From the Georgian side was attended by over 60 representatives of non-governmental organizations, experts, political scientists and journalists. In addition, observers were representatives of 10 international organizations.
The mail goal of the Forum is to develop and support a permanent platform for dialogue between NGOs of Georgia and Russia, the implementation of bilateral projects with the goal of democracy development, settlement of the Georgian-Russian relations, as well as the role of NGOs in the development of civil society institutions.
As the results of the Forum adopted a draft Public Agenda to create favorable conditions for the development of bilateral relations between non-governmental organizations of Georgia and Russia, which will be offered to all interested parties.
The Greens Movement of Georgia / Friends of the Earth – Georgia with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is implementing the project aiming to assess the challenges existing in energy sector of Georgia nowadays and to elaborate solid strategy for further development taking into consideration environmental implications. In the range of the project the team of experts is working on the preparation of reviews and recommendations in following directions:
1. Assess existing policy and strategy and their accordance to the international obligations and signed documents;
2. Assess the existing system of energy sector (infrastructure, net, staffing, material base, financial resources, economic mechanisms), the ways for its upgrading (optimization, modernization, etc.) and elaborate recommendations in this regard;
3. Elaborate strategy (ways, mechanisms, recommendations) for increasing the level of use of renewable energy sources and introduction of energy-efficient technologies.
In the range of the project there were organized four round table meetings with the participation of experts, NGO representatives and other stakeholders. During these meetings there were discussed prepared reviews and recommendations and future steps have been identified. Active consultations with experts and representatives of NGOs and political parties are in progress. It is planed to prepare radio-program and newspaper articles and final conference will take place in September of this year.
With the support of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, the non-governmental youth organization "SocKodex" implemented the project - "Health System - Monitoring". Within the project, both the general progress of the program and the associated problems were examined, and specific recommendations for the Ministry of Health were developed. The measure included the regions of Adjara and Kakheti, as well as the capital Tbilisi. 3,000 beneficiaries and staff from 70 health facilities were interviewed. Within the project, several round tables were conducted with representatives of the Ministry of Health, non-governmental organizations, experts and the medical field.Text of the developed recommendations: Geo; Eng.