Project Duration: 04.2017 || 03.2018
Donor: European Neighbourhood Instrument of the European Union
Budget: 40,000 EUR
Partners: Eastern Europe Studies Center (EESC, Lithuania, lead partner), GLOBSEC Policy Institute (GPI, Slovakia), Association of Business Consulting Organizations (ABCO), Association Caucasus Genetics, ATINATI and Young Scientists Union “Intellect” and Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP).
The project’s overall objective was to strengthen the capacities of Georgian civil society organizations (CSOs) and business support organizations (BSOs) for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) implementation process and for implementation of the small and medium enterprises (SME) strategy for Georgia. The project analyzed the status-quo to identify the shortcomings of DCFTA/SME strategy implementation in Georgia, with the intention to lay the foundation and provide the tools for later project activities aimed at capacity building trainings for Georgian CSOs. These trainings enabled the CSOs to become equal partners in all the project implementation phases: a) executing a nationwide DCFTA/SME communication campaign; b) providing trainings and seminars for Georgian SMEs and public officials; and c) forming and organizing the work of Local and Central Advisory Councils, the first format of its kind to bring together representatives of local and central government bodies, SMEs, CSOs, BSOs and international experts. The status quo analysis on DCFTA implementation in Georgia was also used to evaluate the project’s final results and develop follow-up initiatives.
The Georgian Institute of Politics contributed to the project by overseeing four of the ten regions – Shida Kartli, Kvemo Kartli, Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti. The project team conducted trainings on DCFTA implementation to local CSOs, SMEs and public officials, and organized the Local Advisory Councils there. Georgian Institute of Politics also led the Central Advisory Councils and consultations with the government agencies to prepare project’s recommendations; coordinated data collection for the baseline study and mapping of local CSOs and SMEs, and published the baseline and final studies.
The project activities were based on the following three specific objectives:
- Increasing the role of CSOs in raising public awareness, understanding and support for DCFTA implementation in Georgia;
- Building the capacities of Georgian CSOs to assist and consult local SMEs on accessing and benefiting from the EU single market;
- Establishing comprehensive monitoring and advice-based cooperation between Georgian government bodies, CSOs, BSOs and SMEs.
Activity 1: Preparation of Methodology, Survey Questionnaire and Informational Materials
Activity 1 involved devising the methodology for mapping the relevant CSOs and analysing SMEs in all regions of Georgia (their spheres of activity, potential and levels awareness about the DCFTA). Using that methodology, an opinion poll will be conducted among CSOs and SMEs in all regions of Georgia.
Based on the survey results, informational materials will be prepared – including a DCFTA Communication Toolkit that will be used throughout the project. At this stage, the methodology for training CSOs in Georgia’s regions will also be devised.
Activity 2: Capacity Building Trainings for CSOs in Georgia’s Regions
Activity 2 covers capacity building trainings for Georgian CSOs in all regions – i.e., trainings on how to effectively lead community-level public campaigns about DCFTA/SME related affairs and how to assist SMEs in preparation to export to the EU single market.
Activity 3: Nation-wide DCFTA/SME Communication Campaign
Activity 3 is a nation-wide DCFTA/SME awareness campaign for: a) Georgian SMEs; and b) the general public will be led by trained representatives of Georgian CSOs under the coordination and supervision of the project consortium.
Activity 4: Study Trips to Lithuania and Slovakia
Activity 4 is a week-long study visit for 10-15 representatives of Georgian target groups (representatives of local and central government bodies, CSOs and SMEs) to Slovakia and Lithuania to learn about past experiences and best practices for accessing the EU single market.
Activity 5: Establishing DCFTA Local and Central Advisory Councils
The aim of the Local and Central Advisory Councils is to set up structured communication between SMEs, CSOs and local and central Georgian government bodies to ensure the requests and concerns of SMEs are transferred directly to the level of government at which they can be addressed. The councils will also continue to monitor implementation of the Association Agreement/DCFTA in Georgia, lobby Georgian state institutions to ensure the necessary legislation is put into practice and “control the controlling institutions”. The role of the project consortium will be to prepare a strategy for creating the councils and to oversee their performance. The councils will have two levels: 1) local councils – one per each region of Georgia plus the Autonomous Republic of Adjara; and 2) the central council in Tbilisi, which will consist of representatives of the local councils and relevant state institutions. The councils will meet three times during the project implementation period. The councils are expected to continue meeting completion of the project.
Activity 6: Advocacy Events in Lithuania, Slovakia, Brussels and EaP countries
Advocacy events include briefings for media, CSOs and government officials in order to inform them about the project activities, outcomes and lessons learned about Georgia’s process of implementation of the DCFTA. These events will take place in Lithuania and Slovakia. Similarly, the project consortium will organize advocacy events in Brussels as well as raise awareness about the project at international events related to the Eastern Partnership.
Activity 7: Project-closing Conference in Tbilisi
The project will close with a two-day conference in Tbilisi hosting up to 80 experts and target groups representatives, including high-ranking Georgian officials. The goal of the conference is to summarize the project’s final findings and outputs and provide recommendations for continued actions while deepening Georgia’s integration into the EU single market.
In Georgian (might need slight adjusting, paragraph on GIP’s role needs to be translated):