3.3 Inter-ministerial or intergovernmental co-operation
Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport of Georgia and other ministries is determined by their participation in public cultural development. There are no special inter-ministerial agreements; co-operation is regulated under the Law on Structure and Procedures of Executive Power.
The ministries responsible for some aspects of regulation / management of culture are:
The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for the implementation of reforms in higher, vocational and secondary education, including legislative reform, and accordingly is responsible for education policies. The ministry also implements the state policy on the official Georgian language and undertakes to provide equal access to learning Georgian, especially in the regions with a high density of ethnic minorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the development and implementation of a single foreign policy, including the foreign cultural policy. The Ministry provides coordination with foreign countries and international organisations. The National Committee of UNESCO at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia coordinates the ministries, institutions and agencies engaged in the sphere of culture. The Secretariat of the Committee is also established under this Ministry.
The Centre for the Protection of Georgian Cultural Heritage Abroad, which was established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2004, was abolished in 2006. It was replaced by a new Department for Foreign Economic and Humanitarian Relations, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This department took over the responsibilities of the Centre for the Protection of Georgian Cultural Heritage Abroad and the Department for Foreign Economic Relations. It also includes a section responsible for Cultural Heritage. Following parliamentary elections (21.05.2008), a new position was created – the State Minister for Georgian Diasporas - with a budget of 888 400 GEL.
The Ministry of Economic Development (Departments for Tourism, Construction and Privatisation) is responsible for the strategy on privatisation and attraction of subsidies (including for the cultural sector); for tourism development (including cultural tourism), creation of a favourable investment environment for cultural industries and provision of the official system for the preservation of cultural heritage in the areas of construction, spatial planning and cultural landscaping.
The Ministry of Finance, like the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport is responsible for execution of the budget and for regulation of the United Fund of the National Lottery.
The President's Administration cooperates with the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport in the planning, financing and arrangement of all major public cultural events inside and outside Georgia.
The functions of the Ministry of Justice regarding the cultural and natural heritage are limited to the activities of its subordinate entities of public law – the National Archive and the National Agency of Public Register.
The Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources (the MoE) is the chief coordinating authority in the field of natural heritage protection. The Ministry defines the state policy, strategies and priorities for planning and utilisation of natural resources; elaborates and implements the ecological safety policy, etc. The Ministry manages the territories of environmental value, which apart from valuable natural resources contain historic monuments and sites. More importantly, according to environmental legislation, the World Natural Heritage sites and Protected Landscapes are part of the legislative system of the nature protection, therefore they fall under the direct management of the MoE. Thus the MoE is involved in the protection of cultural heritage, although this is not its direct responsibility.
The Agency of Protected Areas is a legal entity of public law established by the Ministry for the implementation of management of protected areas (The legislation distinguishes the following types of protected areas: Strict Nature Reserve, National Park, Natural Monument, Managed Nature Reserve and Protected Landscape).
On the regional level, the Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport cooperates with the local authorities, the office of rtsmunebuli / governor / President's attorney and municipal authorities in the form of methodological consultations, concrete projects or in the context of collaboration in respect of a budget-funded institution or monument of culture. Until 2003, the Ministry of Culture had coordinators in the regions through which it provided supervision on its cultural policies and supported its powers with budgetary funds.
The Ministries of Culture of Abkhazia and Ajaria Autonomous Republics are under dual subordination – they are accountable to local governments and to the central authority. However, in view of the war and the 12-year conflict, the de-facto Abkhazian authorities independently control the cultural policy in the territory of Abkhazia. Similarly, the Ministry of Culture of the Ajaria Autonomous Republic pursues the cultural policy, in the context of the decentralisation policy, declared by the Georgian government within its administrative borders.
The period 2008-2010 (from the early presidential elections on 05 January 2008 until now) is marked by intensification of centralisation and a weakening of self-governing institutions – e.g. the Ajara Autonomous Republic's cultural policy is the embodiment of the central authority policy. The most serious issue is the preservation of the urban heritage, e.g. reconstruction of the city of Batumi – amateurish architectural injections in the urban landscape, loss of harmony, proportionality, autochthony of historical buildings and, consequently, the loss of the city's uniqueness and its cultural diversity (see also chapter 4.2.2). Source: ICOMOS Georgian National Centre's experts and other free professionals.