Georgia

OCHA-Georgia Information Bulletin Jul/Aug 2003

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
HIGHLIGHTS
On 10 July 2003, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Georgia, and Mr. Valeri Loshchinin, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and President Putin's Special Envoy for Settlement of the Conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, met in Moscow.

The sides exchanged views on the present situation in the peace process and on preparations for forthcoming endeavours in the month of July. These include a planned meeting on security guarantees, the second high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General under the Chairmanship of the UN, and the upcoming UN Security Council session on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia. The importance of the implementation of the recommendations of the first high-level meeting was emphasised.

The usefulness of the implementation of the recommendations of the Security Assessment Mission to the Gali district was stressed. The sides also discussed the recent activities of the working groups established by the Sochi agreement between presidents Shevardnadze and Putin, regarded by the UN as an important contribution to the Geneva peace process.

The UN Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) until 31 January 2004, subject to a review of its mandate by the Council in the event of changes in the mandate of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS peacekeeping force).

Unanimously adopting resolution 1494, the Council also endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendation, contained in his report of 21 July (S/2003/751), to add a civilian police component of 20 officers to the Mission to strengthen its capacity to carry out its mandate and, in particular, to contribute to the creation of conditions conducive to the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

On 20 August 2003, dozens of Georgian IDPs from breakaway Abkhazia, mostly women, seized the administrative building of the state-owned company Metromsheni in the Gldani district of Tbilisi and captured the chief of the company.

They captured the building for habitation, threatening to self-burn themselves. The IDPs also threatened to burn the chief of the Metromsheni. Police surrounded the building, however refrained from using force. They left the building on the next day after meeting some government representatives who promised them to improve their living conditions.

As many as 80 thousand IDPs from Abkhazia, majority ethnic Georgians live in Tbilisi presently. Most of them have no habitation and live either in hotels or with their relatives.

The situation in the energy sector is on the top of Georgians fears on the coming winter. Major blackouts took place on 18 August when electricity went off in the entire country as a result of damage to a high voltage power line in western Georgia, possibly due to sabotage.

A newly appointed minister Mamuka Nikolaishvili stated that the Tbilisi residents will receive unlimited electricity supply for the coming months. However, during the weekend of 30-31 August, a new, quite unstable electricity schedule (timetable) has been introduced to Tbilisi residents. According to the Georgian media, the limitation was a demand of the Energy Wholesale Market which has reduced electricity supply to the Telasi due to debt of 46 million GEL. Another argument to justify the energy crisis is an extremely low level of water in the Enguri Power Station.

The upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for 2 November 2003 remain the main political theme in Georgia. In late July, the Georgian Parliament approved the rule of composition of the Central Election Commission (CEC). By 26 August, both pro-governmental and opposition parties nominated their representative and the applications for the Chairmen of the CEC were submitted to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). On 31 August, OSCE in consultation with the Council of Europe (CoE), submitted to President Shevardnadze three candidates - Davit Usupashvili, Vakhtang Khmaladze and Nana Devdariani, for the Central Election Commission (CEC) Chairmanship post for approval. Nana Devdariani is Public Defender of Georgia and was the member of the Socialists Party before the appointment on the post. The Socialists Party is in the Presidential-backed election alliance at the moment. Vakhtang Khmaladze is the Member of Parliament. He was actively engaged in development of new election code. The Industrialists Party nominated him for the post of the CEC Chairman. Many human rights advocacy NGOs supported his candidature for this post. Davit Usupashvili is a senior legal and policy adviser of the Institutional Reform and Informal Sector (IRIS) Georgia to implement the USAID Rule of Law program.

The Minister of Security made a public statement praising achievements within the so-called anti-criminal activities in the Pankisi Valley. He noted a significant decrease in criminal activities in the Valley and at the same time admitted that criminal elements in the past indeed were violating borders and resided in the valley for unidentified period of time.

Due to the criminal situation in Svaneti region, especially in the north-west part of the region, the Government of Georgia has recently decided to start an anti-criminal action against alarming statistics of robberies, murders and kidnaps, most of which has not been resolved. Unstable security situation significantly affects local population hindering education process in Mestia district. Partly due to the security situation and partly due to the social conditions parents did not send their children to the Mestia school on 1 September.

LOCAL NGO SPOTLIGHT

The Georgian Federation of Professional Asset Valuators has published the Georgian translation of "Real Estate Appraisal, Second Canadian Edition". The Federation obtained the publishing copyright from the "Appraisal Institute." The book was published with financial and technical assistance of the USAID within frames of the Land Market Development Project implemented by the Association for the Protection of Landowners' Rights (APLR).

The manual discusses main principles of real estate appraisal, data collection and analysis, property assessment from the point of view of expenses or directly, income capitalisation analysis, and reporting forms.

The Federation is currently working on translation of the international standards of property appraisal. These two manuals, prepared upon initiative of the Federation, will fill the vacuum of professional literature in the new sphere of economy - the discipline of property appraisal.

Address of the Georgian Federation of Professional Asset Valuators is: Chavchavadze Str. 74, 805, tel.: 93 12 76, 98 62 91. E-mail: gfpav@hotmail.com

HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE UPDATE

An agreement on the implementation of the recovery component of the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 10211.0 was signed between the World Food Programme Georgia (WFP) and local NGO Abkhazinterconti (AIC) for the period August 2003 -- March 2004. AIC will conduct community mobilisation in the rural communities of two targeted regions -- Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi, develop Food-For-Work (FFW) proposals by communities that best address their food insecurity, and be responsible and accountable for the reception and distribution of food aid. During the course of the agreement a total of 890 tons of food will be distributed to 11,775 rural vulnerable people.

A total of 236 tons of food was distributed during the reporting period: 134 tons of food was delivered to 4,000 Chechen refugees covering the months of July-August 2003; and 102 tons of food was distributed to 1,390 participants (5,564 indirect beneficiaries) of FFW projects for 30,600 workdays accomplished in June 2003.

Following a special donation of US$ 560,000 from the Norwegian Government, UNHCR announces that, in close partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the organisation will soon begin rehabilitating earthquake damaged IDP collective centres in Tbilisi.

In April 2002, a strong earthquake seriously damaged many official and private buildings in Tbilisi. The emergency assistance received by the government for the rehabilitation of official buildings was used on priority basis for education institutions. However, numerous other governmental buildings were damaged including some 50 collective centres where IDPs have been living for many years. The IDPs housed in these collective centres lack resources to rehabilitate the facilities. For many months the local offices of UNHCR and NRC have been looking for additional funding as they were convinced following the specific plea of Minister Valeri Vashakidze (former Minister for Refugees and Accommodation), that the IDPs housed in the damaged collective centres have been living in unsafe conditions. The Government of Norway answered positively to the request.

This project will benefit 3,000 persons living in collective centres consisting of different buildings such as former schools, dormitories, hospitals, factories, train stations and government office buildings. The list of collective centres targeted for the rehabilitation has been prioritised and identified in co-operation with the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation. In total, 17 collective centre sites, comprised of 20 buildings, will be rehabilitated. This project is scheduled to start immediately with the objective to terminate by the end of the year.

On 26 August, the Parliament of Georgia ratified Georgian-German financial agreement between the governments of Georgia and Germany. Under the agreement, the German government will allocate Euro 26 million, one part of which is a long-term credit, and the other is a grant. A part of the financial assistance will be used for reconstruction of various earthquake-affected buildings in Tbilisi.

On 19 August, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and Georgian Minister of Agriculture and Food David Kirvalidze signed a donation agreement for 50,000 metric tons of U.S. hard red winter wheat. "This donation of U.S. wheat helps meet the needs of Georgia's people at a time of reduced regional supplies, while also supporting that government's commitment to more market-oriented agricultural and economic development," Veneman said. "We are pleased that we can offer this assistance to Georgia."

The U.S. wheat donated to the government of Georgia will be sold locally to meet urgent needs in the marketplace. The wheat will be used by flourmills, bakeries and other enterprises to increase local supplies of bread and other wheat-based products. Georgia is a net importer of wheat. The donated wheat is expected to depart U.S. ports next month for October delivery.

Proceeds from the wheat sales will be used by the government of Georgia for projects in areas such as private agribusiness and market development, credit programs, water use, animal husbandry, rural extension, and the development and enforcement of food safety policies. The signing of the agreement followed a meeting between Veneman and Kirvalidze. In June 2003, Kirvalidze participated as a speaker in the Ministerial Conference on Agricultural Science and Technology hosted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Sacramento, USA.

The donation will be made under USDA's Food for Progress program, administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service. The Food for Progress program provides for USDA donations of agricultural commodities to needy countries to encourage economic or agricultural reforms that foster free enterprise. For more information about this program, visit http://www.fas.usda.gov.

On 28 August 2003, the IDP Women Association "Consent," with financial support from the Canadian Feed the Children (CFTC) distributed firewood to the IDPs living in collective centres in Gori. Majority of beneficiaries were families of IDP children attending the rehabilitation centre activities. In total, the beneficiaries received 150 cubic metres of firewood.

Produced by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)-Georgia

For more information or your comments and suggestions please contact Ms. Maka Esaiashvili, Information Officer

Address: 9 Eristavi Street, Tbilisi, Georgia. Tel: (995 32) 95 95 16, 94 31 63. Fax: (995 32) 95 95 16; e-mail: maka.esaiashvili@unocha.org.ge

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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