Sweden supports Georgia’s efforts to strengthen its ties with the European Union through increased economic competitiveness, strengthened democracy and improved environmental performance.
In 2014, an Association Agreement was signed between the EU and Georgia, and hence also between Sweden and Georgia. The agreement strengthens the political and economic cooperation and promotes good governance and economic growth. Within the framework of the Association Agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) was created between Georgia and the EU. The agreement also places emphasis on human rights and sustainable development.
Sweden’s support to Georgia focuses on three areas:
- Enhanced economic integration with the EU and development of market economy
- Strengthened democracy, greater respect for human rights and a more fully developed state under the rule of law
- A better environment and reduced climate impact and enhanced resilience to environmental impact and climate change
Economic integration and market economy
Through the Association Agreement Georgia commits, among other things, to strengthen the capacity of its institutions in the area of trade. The competiveness of the business sector needs to improve for Georgia to be able to benefit from the opportunity to integrate into the internal market of the EU. Through Sida, Sweden supports reforms that help Georgia meet EU standards and guidelines in areas such as food security, statistics and waste management. This includes cooperation between Swedish government authorities such as the Board of Agriculture, Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Enforcement Authority and their Georgian counterparts.
Sida also supports the International School of Economics’ policy institute, which investigates and highlights the socio-economic aspects of the Association Agreement and Georgia’s choices in areas such as agriculture, economy and environment.
Information, debate and follow-up of the work of the Georgian authorities in their efforts towards closer EU integration are also strengthened through support to civil society by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation.
In cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, Sida is supporting a program for woman entrepreneurship. Women entrepreneurs are offered advice and loans, and participating banks are offered a guarantee covering the loans and training in new financial instruments for a customer base which they have so far not paid much attention to.
Democracy and Human Rights
To be able to integrate closer with the EU, Georgia needs to strengthen its public administration and improve the possibility for its citizens to demand accountability of their decision makers.
Through Sida, Sweden supports a number of Georgian authorities, such as the Bureau of Statistics (Geostat), the National Food Agency, the National Bureau of Enforcement, the National Agency for Property Registration, the Public Service Development Agency and the Solid Waste Company, in their efforts to better meet the needs of citizens.
In order to strengthen the interactions between politicians and voters Sida supports the implementation of regular opinion polls through the the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Sida's support is also used for training of journalists in how the results of the polls can be analyzed. NDI is also working with Sida's support to promote women politicians in all parties and increase women’s political participation.
Sida supports the promotion of gender equality in Georgia at several different levels, from policy work at the national level to grassroots initiatives. One example is the fight against gender-based violence, which is supported through the Swedish non-governmental organisation Kvinna till Kvinna's work with local organisations against gender-based violence. Sida also cooperates with UN Women to support shelters for abused women.
Civil society is a key partner for Sweden. Sida provides support to larger organizations such as Transparency International Georgia, and to smaller organizations through the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF). The EPF supports grassroots initiatives to increase political participation and create opportunities for citizens to hold decision makers accountable. This also includes support to media and information campaigns.
Environment and Climate
The management of emissions and waste in Georgia needs to be further improved. In cooperation with the EBRD and the World Bank, Sida supports the construction of waste disposal facilities and waste water treatment plants.
In 2014, Georgia adopted new legislation, placing greater responsibility on producers for taking care of and recycling waste. However, there is need for increased awareness of the negative effects of littering on people, nature and climate, and for the development of infrastructure for waste disposal, including recycling. Sida supports three Georgian environmental organizations working to increase understanding and raise awareness about environmentally sustainable waste management among children and youths, as well as among politicians.
Sida also supports energy efficiency at the municipal level through the regional program Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P).