In the broad range of Georgian public organizations, the share of the nongovernmental sector in the field of culture is rather small, generally due to the low level of financing of culture and non-diversified sources. This has resulted in a dependence on the financial support of the state. On the background of a stable fall in international funding of culture and possible termination of state financing, some organizations have been abolished or reorganized. This process intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The “Cultural Strategy 2025” includes general issues regarding cooperation with NGOs; however, the state in addition to the programmes supporting thematic competitions and free projects, does not make adequate steps in the direction of creating the necessary environment for institutional development of the NGO sector. This is especially related to the lack of proper regulation of benefits and financing diversification issues.
The 2015 Memorandum (the practice of cooperation of 36 NGOs with the Ministry) has institutionalized civil society participation in the field of culture and creation of the policies set out by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection to promote, create, distribute and provide access to cultural goods and services. However, the Cultural Action Plan for the 2017-2018 does not specifically describe the projects for cooperation with non-governmental sectors.
The creative unions established during the Soviet period have lost most of their assets and influence, and trade unions have few resources. Only some of them (the Union of Architects, Union of Cinematographers and Georgian Copyright Association (GCA)) continue to be leaders in their fields. The most influential are NGOs that collaborate with international donors and networks and play an advisory or lobbying role in the area of culture. These include the Georgian Arts & Culture Centre (GACC), CCA – Centre of Contemporary Art – Tbilisi, Propaganda network, Georgian Craft Association, Artisterium Association, ICOM Georgian National Committee, ICOMOS Georgian National Committee, YTA UNION – OISTAT Georgian National Center, Culture and Management Laboratory, Georgian Museums Association, NNLE “Gift”, Georgian Libraries Association, Platform for Change, Georgian Blue Shield, “Hamkar”, Publishers Association, Prometheus-Cinema Centre, Caucasian House-Centre for Cultural Relations, etc.