EU Funds 34 Civil Society Projects
13 March, 2014
EU Funds 34 Civil Society Projects
On 6 March, civil society organizations, press and media representatives attended a CSO fair and press conference, during which 34 new European Union grants for civil society projects were launched, at the Karvasla Exhibition Centre. EU’s support totals EUR 4.8 million. The projects will focus on human rights, democratization, capacity building of civil society in order to support citizens’ rights
and access to public services, and citizens’ participation in policy making on economic development and justice. The launching ceremony was also a good opportunity to recognize the role of civil society in Georgia’s EU integration.
The deputy Head of Delegation, Boris Iarochevitch, pointed out: “Economic integration and political approximation with Europe must happen with civil society’s important contribution to the processes of democratization, promotion of human rights, more participative citizenship. The economic development of regions and awareness-raising... I am happy to present 34 new projects that reflect the wide spectrum of interactions between the European Union and the Georgian civil society. These projects promote civil rights and advocate for more inclusive decision-making processes, ensuring that nobody is left behind by the necessary reforms. The interest which Georgian citizens demonstrate in such approaches clearly shows how much Georgia and the European Union share in terms of common values”.
Madona Kharebava from the beneficiary Association Dea stated: “I hope that each project will be successfully implemented and will have its own share in the common business called Euro-integration. It is an honor to be here today. The Association Dea has been a EU beneficiary for years. We have had a possibility to implement projects related to human rights protection issues. I wish to underline the EU’s interest in protecting the rights of minorities. We face a great challenge today. It is not news that at the Vilnius Summit on 29 November 2013 Georgia initialed the Association Agreement. We hope that this year we’ll become an associated member. Therefore, our role as civil society is increasing. The government’s will and readiness is not merely enough for European integration. The society must be ready for it, therefore, our, civil sector’s role is of utmost importance. We are grateful for EU’s support in all spheres, both in the governmental and non-governmental sectors but we need much more to increase our decision-making role. The EU gives us not only financial and technical support but we have councils and debates. We wish to have the opportunity to write an alternative report and present our own vision, as our monitoring is often quite different from the government’s monitoring results.”
The next speaker was Levan Gobadze from Batumi, capital of the Autonomous Achara region, representing the Young Scientists’ Union “Intellect”. “From 2005 on, there were five projects which the EU supported in the Achara region. Today’s fair well shows the diversity of support of the EU in Georgia. There is a wide spectrum of projects. Nevertheless, there is one thing we all have in common: common values. In spite of national diversities of different countries, we have one goal – to live within one and the same European family. I am sure that the steps taken by all beneficiaries are those right steps that will lead us to the European family as soon as possible.”
The European Union currently supports Georgian society with projects at the local, national and regional level, totaling EUR 14 million. In 2014, the European Union awarded 34 project grants to civil society organizations. The grants were awarded through three main instruments: the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), Non-State Actors, and Local Authorities and the Neighborhood Civil Society Facility. Out of the EUR 4.8 million funding, EUR 2 million was provided to eight NGOs in the criminal justice sector. Civil society is called upon to play a key role in all phases of the policy reform in Justice. They will purportedly be consulted and will participate in the formulation, implementation, and monitoring of the sector’s reforms.

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