FY 2009 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Georgia
FY 2009 Foreign Assistance Goals
U.S. assistance seeks to help Georgia overcome the consequences of the August 2008 military conflict and the global economic crisis, restore security in areas directly affected by the conflict, return Georgia to its course of accelerated economic growth, and strengthen democratic institutions and processes. Another major goal of USG assistance to Georgia is to help reduce Georgia's vulnerabilities to outside political and economic pressure.
Total FY 2009 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $626.82 million*
(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2009, including supplemental appropriations under the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 110-329) and the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (Public Law 111-32), but not including $1.75 million in Peace Corps funding and centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries. Humanitarian Assistance total does not include the value of donated humanitarian commodities transported by the Department of State, estimated at $26.20 million in FY 2009.)
Highlights of FY 2009 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Improved border security and export control by training the Georgian Coast Guard (GCG), police and emergency management services in multi-agency response procedures. USG programs included training and technical assistance to identify controlled commodities, bringing the Government of Georgia (GOG) and the private sector together as partners in tracking the end-use of those commodities. Programs also provided X-ray fluorescence metal analysis technology and training to each of the five primary points of entry to Georgia; trained representatives of GOG agencies in port security, maritime operations, dual-use commodity identification, and border interdiction and export controls; and provided electronic testing equipment at the coast guard base in Poti to analyze and adjust the existing radar for communication and navigation, allowing the GCG to independently test and service much of the radar and navigation equipment at their facilities and on their vessels. In cooperation with partners from Germany, Poland and Sweden, the USG supported the revision of the Export Control Law, expected to be presented to Parliament in early 2010.
- Trained 118 law enforcement personnel in counter-terrorism and provided training and grants for 21 Georgian former nuclear scientists to increase the level of civilian research activity.
- Renovated and supplied equipment to the national forensics lab to conform to international standards, enhancing Georgian law enforcement capacity to collect and analyze evidence and apprehend criminals.
- Established a criminal database with mobile capability, enabling police officers to conduct criminal checks from the field in real time.
- Completed construction of a multi-use classroom/dormitory building and gymnasium at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Police Academy. The Academy now has sufficient space to provide classroom instruction to a rapidly expanding student population due to the Academy’s recent assumption of training responsibilities for the border police, customs and tax inspectors, forensic personnel and Coast Guard officers.
- Increased transparency and accountability by developing and publishing standard investigation procedures for financial investigators.
- Increased the effectiveness of Georgian border security by helping renovate seven remote border police posts. Twenty-one officers from the border patrol and revenue service were trained in facilities maintenance and repair and are now maintaining the USG-built facilities along the Georgia-Azerbaijan border. In the past year, the interceptions of individuals inadvertently trying to cross the “green” border increased by 32%. The upgrade of the personal identification and registration system has enabled the patrol police to identify violators by comparing biographical data from an international database, increasing the number of violators detected by 40%.
- Trained 52 Georgian civilian and military defense officials at U.S. military educational institutions. The USG also trained and equipped 725 Georgian soldiers to enable deployment in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan.
- Helped destroy over 16,000 excess and obsolete munitions, clear 26 minefields, and returned over three million square kilometers of land to productive use both bilaterally and through support for the NATO-Partnership for Peace Trust Fund.
- Supported former weapons scientists in non-weapons research with grants from both the Science and Technology Center – Ukraine (STCU) and the Moscow-based International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), also known as the Science Centers.
Governing Justly and Democratically
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Helped develop a new Council of Europe-compliant criminal procedure code (CPC) which will become effective in October 2010 and will introduce adversarial processes and jury trials, to be introduced first in Tbilisi aggravated murder cases. In cooperation with the Supreme Court of Georgia, the USG sponsored a television program on jury trials to raise public awareness. USG assistance also trained 30 defense attorneys to serve as trial advocacy trainers, 177 defense attorneys on the new CPC, 146 defense attorneys on basic trial advocacy skills, 20 defense attorneys in advanced trial advocacy skills, and over 120 criminal law judges on their roles under the new CPC.
- Promoted formal and informal legal education by supporting moot court competitions on criminal, civil, and administrative law involving over 1,100 law students; assisting five legal clinics at universities in four cities and sponsoring street law training for 250 law students and 3,000 secondary school and orphanage students. These activities are now incorporated into law faculties.
- Supported non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote gender equality through public awareness on domestic violence, advocacy, legal services, and legislative reform. Supported development of public service announcements to educate citizens on domestic violence, and a local NGO that provided 749 legal consultations (696 on domestic violence) and court representation for domestic violence victims in 41 court cases.
- Conducted a baseline study and provided training and consultation to courts in order to target identified problems in case-flow management. As a result, in FY 2009 the number of pending cases decreased by 806, average disposition time decreased from seven months in 2007 to three and a half months, and the case clearance rate in six courts reached 107% compared to 84% in 2007. The USG worked with the Ministry of Finance to develop budget plans for the judiciary, resulting in the Supreme Court submitting its first budget plan.
- Promoted political pluralism by supporting the development of political parties to garner broader support among the citizenry by enhancing their ability to develop issue-based platforms, improve communications and public outreach capacity, and campaign more effectively. This included helping 2,000 people (33% women and 49% youth) from 11 political parties from all regions to produce political messages to communicate effectively with constituents. As a result, two newly established political parties crafted their messages and created party structures. In order to promote a more inclusive electoral reform process, USG assistance supported the facilitation of an election reform working group including the ruling party and representatives of some opposition parties.
- Contributed to the development and adoption by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of a three-year strategic plan, which involved 125 senior MOJ leaders and was the culmination of a self-assessment and consultative process with civil society organizations (CSOs) and community leaders.
- Promoted free and fair local council elections in the autonomous region of Adjara by training 3,300 election officials at all levels, more than half of which were women. By the time of the election, all 355 precinct election commission secretaries were trained, which contributed to improved voting and counting procedures, timely submission of election results by precincts to district election commissions, and increased attention to complaints, resulting in the negation of the vote count in two districts.
- Contributed to the development and adoption of the National Concept and Action Plan for Civic Integration. This was the culmination of three years of USG-supported work, involving consultations with representatives of minority communities. USG assistance created civic education centers in densely populated minority areas, issued small grants to promote integration, and supported production and broadcast of minority-related television shows. The civic education centers also supported seminars on democracy, civic integration, tolerance, and diversity management for 106 NGO leaders and youth from minority populations.
- Awarded grants to 38 Georgian CSOs and individuals to advocate for the rights of internally displaced persons, civic integration of war-affected populations and ethnic minorities, development of regional media, and vocational and business skills training.
Investing in People
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Provided technical support for expanding subsidized health services to over one million vulnerable people. USG assistance established a hospital administration and health insurance management Master Degree programs and short certificate courses at two leading universities. Eighty-five new health care managers completed degrees or short courses, resulting in more skilled health care managers.
- Supported 141 government public health centers in offering family planning services. Reductions in newborn and maternal mortality were achieved due to the introduction of life- saving practices used in 70% of the country’s births. Over 9,000 women received active management of the third stage of labor services. As a result, postpartum hemorrhage, the main cause of death for delivering women, dropped from 8% at the beginning of the interventions to 1.2%. USG assistance also resulted in over 141 new rural health family planning service delivery points opened in rural health clinics. From a base line of zero, there are now over 560 rural service delivery points providing free family planning counseling and services across the country, covering 60% of the total population.
- Established HIV/AIDS confidential service centers for high-risk groups and expanded voluntary counseling and testing services to over 5,700 individuals, surpassing the target of 4,000.
- Helped Georgia surpass the World Health Organization’s (WHO) TB case detection target of 70% with a current detection rate of 101%. However, the treatment success rate of 68% is still lower than a target of 85%.
- Provided social and psychological assistance to the Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis patients in Adjara, which resulted in the treatment success rate increasing from 40% to 97%. Regular meetings were organized with the TB nurses in Tbilisi, Poti, Adjara, and Shida Kartli to share best practices and results.
- Provided resettlement assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) from South Ossetia who moved into new government-constructed homes beginning in late 2008. At the request of the Ministry of Energy, the USG provided winter utility payments for conflict-related IDP families. In total, over 3,900 IDP families’ utility costs were paid.
- Launched the Georgia Alliance for Safe Roads, a public-private partnership in Georgia, which brings together NGOs, government officials and private-sector companies to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities due to traffic accidents in Georgia. This partnership conducted public awareness campaigns on seat belt use, and advanced political advocacy, drafted seat belt legislation, conducted research into current seat belt use, and developed and piloted a new seat belt curriculum in 48 schools.
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Provided $250 million in budgetary support to the GOG to allow for a quick response to the post-conflict economic shock. These funds supported the pensions of 870,000 beneficiaries ($149.2 million), allowances for 210,000 Abkhaz refugees and internally displaced persons ($6.5 million), health-care claims of 926,000 people living below the poverty line ($31 million), operations for 4,400 secondary schools ($27.8 million), and salaries for 25,000 government employees for two months ($35.5 million).
- Provided training in international financial standards to local and national government officials and developed the GOG’s management capacity to administer public finance reforms. These efforts, among others, helped bring budget systems into compliance with international standards and improved state budget execution and reporting. USG programs also supported the implementation of capital budgeting systems for five agencies, which can be expanded to all GOG agencies.
- Resulted in amendments to the tax code that introduced e-filing of excise tax returns, authorized tax agents to file returns electronically on behalf of clients, and eliminated penalties for taxpayers who voluntarily correct previously-filed tax forms containing errors. The USG also helped reduce the number of steps required for value added tax refunds from 27 to 20 and streamlined several administrative procedures for taxpayers, including the processing of appeals on tax and customs decisions. These efforts promoted voluntary taxpayer compliance and contributed to an improvement in Georgia’s country ranking from 112 to 64 on the World Bank’s Paying Taxes indicator.
- Supported an improved customs regime including streamlining import/export regulatory processes; including expanding the customs risk management system; reducing physical customs inspection from 85% to 13%; implementing a program to allow high volume and/or high value, low-risk exporters to clear goods through customs quickly; and reducing the number of documents required for import and export from 23 to two.
- Enhanced the capacity of banks to develop new products and evaluate the risks of lending to non-traditional sectors. An ongoing development credit authority (DCA) guarantee stimulated financing for agriculture by demonstrating that risk could be lessened by protecting banks against excessive loan losses. The total value of loans provided to agribusinesses under this multi-year DCA guarantee was $3,000,000.
- Completed the rehabilitation of five small and two micro hydropower plants, which added 10.5 megawatts to Georgia’s generation capacity. To assist the GOG in attracting investment in hydropower, the USG supported the development of a web-based searchable database for investors that contains pre-feasibility information on 97 potential hydropower sites.
- Distributed 500 energy-efficient wood stoves to the families returning to their war-affected homes and assisted local stove-makers in designing energy-efficient stoves. The USG also constructed four bio-digesters to serve as models of how to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.
- Assisted farmers affected by the August 2008 conflict. USG agricultural production support was pivotal to rebuilding the livelihoods of farm families, helping 36,822 households to plant 12,650 hectares of winter wheat, 9,200 hectares of corn, and 11,672 hectares of orchards; providing 31,000 apple, peach, plum and apricot trees and planting materials to 3,100 families; de-worming 46,905 cattle and distributing 4,240 tons of concentrated animal feed to 18,244 farmers, resulting in the survival of thousands of heads of livestock during winter of 2009. Wheat beneficiaries produced a harvest of approximately double the size of that typically obtained. The assistance also improved this year’s orchard harvest in Shida Kartli, estimated at 225,000 metric tons, making it the best harvest in the last ten years. Milk production increased by more than 30% over normal levels as a result of the use of improved animal feed. In total, crops worth approximately $44 million were expected to be harvested by these U.S. assistance beneficiaries.
- Increased farmers’ and agribusinesses’ revenues by $1.5 million, creating over 425 rural jobs. In partnership with the GOG, USG assistance helped Georgian wine-makers open new international markets, resulting in the export nearly 200,000 bottles of wine worth $638,000.
- Helped over 2,500 microenterprises improve their operations, creating 1,920 new full-time jobs from results such as establishing supply links between 140 tomato farmers and a local food-processing factory and directly assisting 440 dairy farmers.
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Leveraged contributions from partner NGOs and distributed donated medicine, food and supplies valued at over $26 million, helping to mitigate the impact of the August 2008 conflict. Healthcare services were provided to vulnerable populations and special needs children through mobile clinics. Sixteen public schools in the Shida Kartli region are being rehabilitated. USG assistance trained 500 individuals in construction skills, of which 153 were placed in jobs with construction companies.
- Worked to assure food security through emergency aid in the short term and to increase agricultural productivity in the longer term. Approximately 5,000 metric tons of food was procured and distributed to 100,000 conflict-affected individuals, and 26,000 IDPs received a monthly stipend through the winter of 2008 allowing them to purchase essential food commodities. The USG also provided 36,822 households (approximately 110,000 conflict-affected individuals) with assistance to reestablish agricultural crops. The USG supported the creation of a database of real properties abandoned by 4,150 IDP households on the occupied territories, and titled land parcels for over 800 IDP households who received lands from the GOG free of charge.