Situation Analysis of Civil Society in Georgia
On December 5, 2016, Europe Foundation (EPF) hosted a presentation of a report Situation Analysis of Civil Society in Georgia. The report was prepared based on the stocktaking exercise commissioned by EPF, so as to have a fresh view of the environment in which civil society organizations (CSOs) operate in Georgia and to ascertain both incentives and disincentives for CSO operations on both national and local levels. The findings and recommendations of this study were drawn from the analysis of comprehensive documentary evidence and sixty semi-structured interviews with representatives of state institutions, political parties, development partners, civil society organizations, and other key informants undertaken at the end of 2015.
Ms. Ketevan Vashakidze, President of Europe Foundation and Ms. Molly Lien, Head of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) welcomed the attendees of the event. In her opening remarks, Ms. Lien stressed the role of civil society, as an integral and fundamental part of democracy and the importance of the findings of the stocktaking exercise: “…this report, although it doesn’t necessarily represent the views of Sida, is an excellent opportunity to discuss the situation of civil society in Georgia and the environment in which civil society actors operate; and development partners and agencies like Sida, we also need to be part of the discussion and make sure that our supporting cooperation, in fact, promotes long term and sustainable development of the civil society, which will promote people’s engagement and contribute to the development of society taking the local context efficiently into account.”
After opening remarks the floor was given to Ms. Gemma Pinyol Piug, the author of the study. In her presentation Ms. Piug talked about the enabling and disabling factors of CSO participation in policy-making process, reviewed social and political attitudes and also, coordination and cooperation between various stakeholders that enable/hamper participation of CSOs. Ms. Pinyol Piug underlined the lack of cooperation between different types of CSOs and the division within civil society landscape, between the agendas of Human Rights (HHRR) and governance CSOs that mainly play a ‘watchdog’ role and those CSOs that work in social sectors and combine roles of citizens’ awareness, service provision, and advocacy. She also underscored the role of so-called “Infrastructure” CSOs, well-resourced and institutionally strong organizations with international roots, which implement their core activities to support the development of civil society in Georgia, to facilitate connection of these agendas. Another important issue highlighted during the presentation was that CSOs face issues of applying change and managing for change. She also noted that due to the lack of theoretical and context-adapted notion of civil society, CSOs have a limited space to define their own vision and long-term objectives and roles and to find their unique “niches” of work.
The presentation was followed by Q&A session, when the guests of the event had an opportunity to ask questions and provide their comments. They thanked the author and Europe Foundation for preparing the report. The event was attended by the representatives of civil society organizations, embassies and international donors.
Full report as well summary of findings and recommendations can be found here: