There are agreements in place between Georgia and international organisations such as UNESCO, ICROM (International Centre for Renovation and Maintenance (of Cultural Heritage Sites: affiliate of UNESCO), ICOM (International Council of Museums) and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
Georgia is included in HEREIN (European Heritage Network), and the Participation Programme (UNESCO). Georgia is also a member of the BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation) working group on culture and European Heritage Days (since 1999).
Since 2001, Georgia has cooperated with the project STAGE (EC Cultural Policy and Action Department, Directorate General IV – Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport (DGIV/CULT/STAGE (2003) 11)) (since 2005-2006, this project has been transformed into the Kyiv Initiative (Regional Programme: Black Sea and South Caucasus -The Kyiv Initiative is a regional and transversal programme of cultural co-operation between five countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova).
Georgia participates in the EU neighbourhood policy, which has a plan of actions with the following objectives:
- Georgia shall consider and promote cultural diversity as promoted by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Georgia joined the respective UNESCO Conventions (see chapter 4.2.1) http://mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=541&info_id=9752; and
- Georgia shall promote cooperation in culture within the framework of EU programmes.
From January 2015, Georgia became the first
Neighbourhood country to join the Creative Europe Programme. In 2015,
the organisations engaged in the Georgian cultural sphere will have an
opportunity to present their projects to the European public after
signing and ratification of the agreement between the EU and Georgia on
the 24 February 2014, in Brussels (http://www.enpi-info.eu/maineast.phpid_type=1&id=40047&lang_id=450&utm_source=Oempro&utm_medium=Email&
Regarding the transnational organisations which unite large geographical regions, Georgia has executed cultural agreements with the CIS (The creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States signalled the dissolution of the Soviet Union and, according to leaders of Russia, its purpose was to “allow a civilised divorce” between the Soviet Republics), GUAM and BSEC countries. The responsibility for the provision and monitoring of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, to which Georgia has acceded, is carried out by the National Committee of UNESCO, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The National Commission of Georgia for UNESCO consists of 12 members: the president, vice-president, Secretary-General and members of the commission. The members of the Commission are representatives of governmental authorities and organisations of Georgia, associations and non-governmental organisations, as well as independent experts. The President of the Commission is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Commission meets twice a year.
The Secretariat of the National Commission of Georgia for UNESCO, which consists of 2 members and is supervised by the Secretary-General, is the part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. Its main function is to deal with various issues initiated by UNESCO and / or Georgian National Commission for UNESCO and coordinate UNESCO’s projects and events (see chapter 4.2.1).
UNESCO documents are:
- “Memorandum on Cooperation between UNESCO and the Republic of Georgia“ from 1995,(http://mfagov.itdc.ge/files/541_9730_617862_memorandumi.pdf); and
- UNESCO Conventions(see chapter 4.2.1 and http://mfa.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=541&info_id=9752)
The most important event in the context of international programmes is the millennium anniversary of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (2010), which is under the aegis of UNESCO.
EU assistance for reforms in Georgia is fundamentally important and the opportunities provided by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Eastern Partnership Initiative are treated as vital both by civil society and the state.
The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia positively responded to the European Commission’s proposal, in order to develop the territorial cooperation, by establishing the Eastern Partners Regional Assembly and creating the Eastern Partnership territorial dimension.
On 15 July 2010 in Batumi, the EU – Georgia Association Agreement was signed, which extends EU activities related to the coordination of aid to Georgia.
On 14 April 2011 in Tbilisi a regional seminar on Culture of the Eastern Partnership was held. It was a good platform for the preparation of outlines, some of the key elements and components that should be a part of the Georgian policy of cultural dialogue.
Georgia is working with the EU Member States and the Eastern Partner Countries on various possible project proposals to be implemented within the Eastern Partnership’s multilateral framework.
The government of Georgia is ready to implement joint projects, especially in energy security, integrated border management, economic development, culture and education. In this regard, Georgia welcomes active involvement of EIB and EBRD (ad hoc participants of platforms II and III), other financial and business organisations as well as contributions from EU Member States and the private sector in the implementation of investment projects.
It has to be mentioned that the allocation of additional financing is essential in order to ensure the implementation of all relevant joint and ambitious projects defined within the Eastern Partnership. There should be clearer approaches related to financing, including submission of projects, selection criteria, available sources, and links with European and international financial institutions.
Certain steps were made to create the Parliamentary format of cooperation within the Eastern Partnership – EURONEAST: on 18 May 2009, Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan signed a joint Statement about Parliamentary Cooperation within the Eastern Partnership; on 20-21 October 2009 in Sweden, during consultations among representatives of the European Parliament, Member State National Parliaments and the EaP Countries, a working group was created to elaborate a vision for a Parliamentary Assembly formation within the EaP format.
The government of Georgia is actively cooperating with the Civil Society in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and foresees the non-governmental sector as a permanent partner in the on-going activities. 22 non-governmental organisations from Georgia take part in the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. The Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration has launched regular dialogue with NGOs involved in the Civil Society Forum in all four directions with participation of the Line Ministries. Georgia supported participation of representatives of the Civil Society Forum at the platform meetings for the purpose of presentation of their recommendations and findings.
Georgia actively participated in the Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels on 13 December 2010.
Europe Day in Georgia
On 4-16 May 2010 different activities dedicated to Europe Day were held in Georgia. Of particular note were the official reception on behalf of the EU Delegation (11.05.2010); the celebration of Europe Day in the Georgian-European Policy and Advice Centre (GEPLAC) with representatives of the governmental structures (06.05.2010); a student conference on “Social and Economic Aspects of the Eastern Partnership”; debates on European Issues organised by the House of Europe on 15-16 May 2010, as well as various exhibitions and public lectures, with the purpose to raise public awareness of the European Union.
On 3 December 2010, the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia signed a cooperation memorandum on Cultural issues with Portugal.
On 11 May 2010, the European Landscape Convention was signed by Georgia. The Convention was ratified on 15 September 2010 and came into force in January 2011.
Georgia signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. It will be ratified in 2011.
In 2010, Georgia commenced Consultations toward the Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. Georgia expressed readiness to join the Agreement.
In 4 October 2010, the Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia signed a Co-operation Agreement on Cultural issues with the Ministry of Culture of the Bulgarian Republic for 2010-2012.
The Georgian government signed an Education, Science and Cultural Co-operation Agreement with the government of Republic of Malta, which came into force on 21 May 2010.
Events dedicated to the promotion of Georgian Culture were held in France (May-June) and in Italy (April and November) 2010.
Overview of the EU Assistance Programmes
The main activities related to EU assistance coordination in Georgia were mainly focused on the implementation of the EU pledge announced at the Brussels Donor Conference of 22 October 2008. A 500 Million EUR comprehensive assistance package, covering the period 2008 – 2010, will assist the resettlement of internally displaced persons; economic rehabilitation and recovery; and macro-financial stabilisation and support to Georgia’s infrastructure.
The biggest part of the assistance has already been allocated for the recovery of the Georgian economy after the Russian aggression and has also fostered resilience in the days of the global financial crisis. Mindful of the public interest towards this pledge and its implementation, the government has ensured a high level of transparency. This was done through regular outreach vis-à-vis donors, civil society and all other stakeholders. The Donor Coordination Workshop organised in Tbilisi on 13 December 2010 showed what has been accomplished so far and devised future steps. It was also a good opportunity to discuss national and sector-specific donor mapping developments.
In the framework of the National Indicative Programme 2007-2010 (NIP), the Georgian government’s efforts were mainly focused on the utilisation of new Instruments. All priorities of the NIP 2007-2010 were agreed with the EC and most of the programmes are being implemented.
The Financing Agreement for the new National Indicative Programme 2011-2013 was officially signed by the Vice Prime-Minister, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia – Mr. Giorgi Baramidze and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy – Mr. Štefan Füle on 8 April 2010. The overall indicative budget for bilateral EU–Georgia assistance under the NIP 2011 – 2013 is EUR 180.29 million. This includes additional allocations from the Eastern Partnership of EUR 30.86 million for the Comprehensive Institution Building programme (CIB) and EUR 7.43 million for the Eastern Partnership Pilot regional development programme (will start in 2012 based on the document – “Vademecum on Financing in the framework of the Eastern partnership”).
Assistance Opportunities under the Eastern Partnership Initiative (EaP):
The government of Georgia continues active cooperation with the EU Delegation regarding the EaP supporting measures. A good example of this cooperation is the EaP Culture Programme, TAM / BAS programmes, as well as The EAST-invest Programme. In this connection, it is important that the budget for EaP countries and the main directions for the further distribution of funds have already been identified, but it should also be mentioned that the procedures for Georgian involvement in the above programmes still needs further clarification.
Consultations with the Delegation of the EU in Georgia are underway regarding the procedural aspects of partnership aiming to start negotiations with the above and other EU agencies.
Following the Warsaw Summit of 29-30 September 2011, Georgia intends to increase the pace of work in the field of culture. European Integration will harmonise the cultural identity with the globalisation process and will facilitate the crystallisation of European values in the state cultural policy of Georgia.
Since 2012 two very important projects started. The projects are funded by the EU Eastern Partnership Culture programme (European Neighborhood Partnership Instrument):
- “Regional Co-operation for Cultural Heritage Development” (ICOMOS Georgia) http://www.rcchd.icomos.org.ge
- “Strengthening Creative Industries in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Heritage Crafts – Common Platform for Development” (Georgian Arts & Culture Centre (GACC)).
Georgia Joins Creative Europe EU program
On February 24th 2015, in Brussels, the Georgian Minister of Culture and Monument Protection and the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Issues signed an agreement, making Georgia a member state of EU program “Creative Europe”. The signing ceremony was held at the office of the Commission. Georgia is the first Eastern Partnership country to become a member of this program.
Joining Creative Europe will provide new opportunities for Georgia, help it to create jobs, aid the human and economic development, increase the presence of Georgian artists and help them in creating contacts.
Becoming a member of the Creative Europe program is a step forward for Georgia in the process of implementing the commitments formulated under the Association Agreement.
Membership of the program allows Georgian cultural organizations to submit their creative projects within Creative Europe’s Culture and Media sub-programs and receive financing for implementing their ideas in cooperation with European partners.
Two Georgian cultural organisations have been awarded financial support within a Europe-wide program for creative projects after winning two separate contests. Tbilisi’s Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre and CineDOC-Tbilisi Documentary Film Festival will have the financial backing of the Creative Europe program after they were announced among the winners of cultural contests within the project.
Creative Europe announced the Marjanishvili Theatre as winner of Creative Europe’s Culture sub-program contest after their project European Theatre Laboratory: Theatre Meets Digital, presented in partnership with five other European venues, won the category. The project will bring together theatres and scientists in a bid to enrich theatre language and transfer it to digital space via new technology. The Marjanishvili Theatre developed the project as part of the European Theatre Convention (ETC), a collaboration that includes the Theatre de la Manufacture from France and Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe from Germany.
The Tbilisi venue joined the ETC – a partnership of more than 40 leading European theatres – in April 2015.
The Media sub-program contest of Creative Europe also selected a Georgian organisation as its winner. The CineDOC-Tbilisi Documentary Film Festival became the first Georgian film festival to be selected in the Creative Europe program after it was awarded a € 27.000 financing prize for development.
Implemented in 2016:
- Memorandum of Cooperation with the Brussels Center for Fine Art (BOZAR)
- Regional Conference of the joint Council of Europe/European Union Program “Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns” (COMUS).
- Presentation of the Eastern Partnership Culture Program II
- Official presentation of the program “Creative Europe” by the European Commission representatives
- The Ministry became the member of ENCATC – the European network on cultural management and policy.
- The public service twinning program “Twinning” is underway
In accordance with the Internationalization Priority of the 2017-2018 Action Plan for Implementation of the Culture Strategy:
By 2017, Georgia became a member of the following international organizations
- International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies (IFACCA)
- Pan-European Federation for Cultural Heritage (EUROPA NOSTRA)
- Bureau of the Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape
- Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (the EPA)
In 2017, the cultural routes website – www.culturalroutes.gov.ge and on it the following routes were created:
- “European Route of Jewish Heritage”
- “European Route of Historical Thermal Towns”
- “Prehistoric Rock Painting”
In 2017, Georgia hosted the International Summer School of Eastern Partnership countries for the first time.