Public Forum: Responding to the Challenges of Environmental Migration: Resettlement as a Short-Term Strategy
On February 1, 2017, Europe Foundation (EPF) will be hosting the fourth public forum Responding to the Challenges of Environmental Migration: Resettlement as a Short-Term Strategy. The event will take place within the framework of the EU-funded project Advocating for the Rights of Eco-Migrants funded by the European Union through Institute of Democracy.
The forum aims at continuing discussions on environmental migration in Georgia, this time with focus on resettlement as a short-term strategy of addressing the needs of the victims of ecological disasters. While the focus on more immediate disaster response actions is commendable, it would serve both the state and citizens well, if public authorities take a longer-term view and develop a comprehensive resettlement strategy together with its implementation action plan and budget.
Indeed, the Government of Georgia (GoG) has taken steps to alleviate the plight of the country’s environmental migrants. However, there has to be a more holistic approach to their resettlement, not the least because of the many difficulties that the eco-migrant families face with respect to integration in the host communities. The needs assessment conducted by EPF has confirmed that eco-migrants have faced tremendous hurdles in integrating into their host communities, with most of them still not considered as “locals” despite their decades-long residence in new areas. The assessments conducted by civil society organizations and the Office of the Public Defender demonstrate the need to target both the eco-migrant and host-community populations, so that both groups are prepared for cultural, social, economic, and environmental changes that await them during the resettlement process. CSOs also point at the necessity to review the effectiveness of the post-2013 approach to eco-migration, so as to identify successes and obstacles in implementation.
During the event, which will start with welcoming remarks from Ms. Ketevan Vashakidze, President of Europe Foundation, the guests will hear about the current activities and future plans of the GoG from Mr. Gogi Patsatsia, Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees. Presentations that will shed light to the existing situation and the lessons learned to date will be made by Mr. Archil Khakhutaishvili, Executive Director of the Institute of Democracy, Mr. Kote Razmadze, Head of Department of Eco-migrants Issues in the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, and Mr. David Guchua, Program manager, Livelihood and Economic Development Program, Charity Humanitarian Centre „Abkhazeti“ (CHCA).
The event will take place on February 1 during 12:30-16:15 at Holiday Inn Hotel, Adjara Conference Hall, (Address: 26 May Square, Tbilisi).