“In 2020, despite the challenge of COVID-19, the US Embassy continued to deepen our partnership with Georgia across a range of areas. We continue to work together towards a prosperous, stable, and democratic Georgia integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions. In particular, the dedicated team of professionals at the embassy worked to partner with Georgia on COVID-19 response, health, justice and law enforcement, development, economic growth, defense, cultural preservation, and education issues,” US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said when summarizing the year of 2020 in terms of the collaboration and partnership between the two countries.
The Ambassador discussed some of the most important directions in the US-Georgia partnership, and pointed out the US’ strong support towards Georgia in various fields:
COVID-19 Response and Health
The US assistance topped $20 million in Georgia’s COVID-19 response, which was distributed across the country. The assistance combined efforts from USAID, Centers for Disease Control, Department of Defense, and the Department of State.
Justice and Law Enforcement
The US Drug Enforcement Agency, in cooperation with Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, seized $1 million worth of heroin.
In addition, the Embassy’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) held the Ninth Annual Women in Policing Conference, which brought together women law enforcement officials from around the world. To date, more than 1,100 women have graduated the program.
The Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor taught Georgian law enforcement partners skills, techniques, and best practices on how to prosecute online child sexual exploitation, cybercrime, and to provide victim services to child victims. This resulted in the bust of a child pornography ring.
Development and Economic Growth
In 2020, USAID programs trained over 150,000 individuals, transferred agricultural technologies to 46,000 smallholders, facilitated $20 million in new sales, created over 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs, benefited more than 40,000 micro-enterprises, and leveraged $5.5 million in new private sector investments.
Currently, USAID has 35 programs in Georgia with a total value of over $242 million. Through these programs, the United States supports Georgia’s transition to a free and prosperous democracy, including initiatives designed to strengthen economic security, improve the business enabling environment, and reduce the risk of conflict.
Over the last year, the Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation has worked with Georgian partners to complete 12 projects worth $2.5 million dollars.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has partnered with Georgian agencies to implement $500,000 worth of projects, from COVID response to border security, and Cyber Crime prevention.
The Export Control and Border Security Office helped modernize Georgia’s Coast Guard English Learning Labs with new technology equipment and course materials. The main lab is now housed in the newly opened Vocational Training Center of the Batumi State Maritime Academy in Poti and will offer state-of-the-art English Language Training for Coast Guard personnel.
The US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration contributed more than $3 million to assist refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, vulnerable stranded migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and conflict-affected populations.
Cultural Preservation and Education
Through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, the Embassy awarded $600,000 to refurbish and preserve over 1200 meters of Jvari Monastery’s façade.
Since 2011, the Embassy has provided more than $2 million to organize professional study and reporting tours, and short-term internships for Georgian print and broadcast journalists as well as for media educators. More than 200 media professionals have participated, helping to enhance the business and journalism skills of independent Georgian media outlets to improve their sustainability and professionalism, and to ensure they continue to play a positive role in informing their fellow citizens.