In the aftermath of the local elections in Georgia, UNDP opens a new chapter of cooperation with municipal authorities and local communities. Its multi-sectorial support covers technical assistance to local administrations, fosters good governance and economic development, and promotes initiatives that boost citizen participation and civic activism, create equal opportunities for women and youth and reduce the threats posed by climate-induced disasters.
UNDP support for Georgia’s regions draws on the resources provided by a range of donors, including Austria, Denmark, the European Union, the Green Climate Fund, Sweden and Switzerland.
On 16 December, UNDP Head Nick Beresford and Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Mzia Giorgobiani visited the Dusheti Municipality to discuss local needs with Mayor Manana Narimanidze, one of three women mayors who took office in 2021. Beresford and Giorgobiani met with the authorities and citizens and attended a vaccination session organised by UNDP and the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health as part of the ongoing ‘Vaccines4Life’ campaign.
“Public opinion surveys show that increasing the number of women in political positions has overwhelming popular support. Mayor Narimanidze is one of three women who won mayoral positions this year. UNDP is offering support, including the ICT equipment and training and education to local youth, in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, the European Union and other partners. We also took the opportunity to help prevent COVID with a local vaccination drive,” Beresford said.
Dusheti is one of 48 Georgian municipalities that joined the EU-supported regional network ‘Mayors for Economic Growth’ (M4EG). Drawing on the resources of this joint EU-UNDP initiative, UNDP will help local authorities and communities to discover and explore innovative approaches to local governance and benefit from funding opportunities available for municipalities of the Eastern Partnership countries.
To enhance digitalization at the local level, UNDP donated the ICT equipment to the Dusheti Mayor’s office, including laptops, portable scanners and multifunctional printers. UNDP will also pilot a new initiative to promote digital services for local communities and increase the engagement of women and youth in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). UNDP support will focus on advancing gender equality in governance, education and other areas, and on closing the digital gap faced by rural girls living in highlands.
The Dusheti Municipality, where 95 percent of settlements are located in high-mountainous areas, will continue benefitting from UNDP’s regional and local development programme funded by the governments of Austria and Switzerland, and from the decentralization initiatives funded by Denmark.
In the coming months, UNDP Head will visit municipalities across Georgia to meet with local authorities and communities and discuss UNDP support for addressing socio-economic challenges and discovering new development prospects.