1. Cultural policy system
Last update: February, 2022
The principles of democratization and decentralization of culture, support for cultural diversity and preservation of the national identity, which forms the basis of contemporary cultural policy, trace back to the main objectives of the cultural sphere of the First Republic of Georgia (1918-1921).
In the process of regaining independence in the 1990s, Georgia declared the continuity of the ideas of the First Republic. The first attempts at a theoretical generalization of the cultural practices of 1991-2001 and the adoption of a homogenous cultural policy document were made in 2001.
After a strongly centralized cultural management system (2003-2011), with local interventionist and entrepreneurial experiments, the expert methods used in 2013 marked a turning point in the development of cultural policy: the Commission for Cultural Policy Development produced a cultural policy concept based on the 2005 UNESCO Convention (although the concept has not been formally adopted).
2015 – A stage of intensive and systematic development of cultural strategy started and the use of expert methods was intensified to reflect three types of activities required for setting the standard for a new cultural policy:
- Determination of cultural values, priorities and goals;
- Development and implementation of initiatives, actions and financing programmes;
- Policy monitoring.
Before the adoption of the “Culture Strategy 2025” only the second activity was prioritised. Despite the annual declaration of priorities and goals by the Ministry of Culture since 2004, systemising values and strategic vision has always been a weakness of the state, and monitoring has not been considered a significant part of the cultural policy.
With this background, under the Decree N 303 of the Government of Georgia, a modern and long-term document stating the Georgian national cultural policy, “Culture Strategy 2025”, was approved on July 1, 2016 and provided such a strategic document for the first time in Georgian state history.
The strategy is an attempt to select a cultural policy model that will aid its systematic and sustainable development. It consists of the following elements:
- Strategic long-term planning
- Integrated approaches
- Mobilizing resources
- Vision based on the balance of the global and local
The strategy development process was implemented in close cooperation with the European Union and was assessed positively by the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The Culture Strategy aims to define a long-term vision on the development of culture and the creative sector in order to underline their value for and importance to national identity, social unity and sustainable development of the country.
Based on the consultation, 8 main Strategic Goals were identified:
- Awareness Raising and Education
- Access to Culture and Cultural Diversity
- Culture and Other Key Areas
- Funding of Culture
- Cultural Infrastructure and New Technologies
- Creative Industries
- Internationalization of Culture
- Principles of the Governance of Culture
Achieving these goals will create an environment in which:
- The value of culture and creativity is recognized by society, and they are integrated into every level of education;
- Culture is accessible to every member of society, regardless of location, and cultural diversity is protected and maintained;
- Culture and creativity are seen as an integral part of the country's development, which creates additional innovative opportunities to strengthen other sectors and contributes to the sustainability and well-being of Georgia;
- Cultural employment is attractive and adequately valued;
- Cultural infrastructure meets people's needs and provides them with modern, high-quality products and services;
- Funding for culture is stable, and funding mechanisms are diverse and transparent;
- Cultural policy is research-based; an open and transparent political process involves professionals and a broad cross-section of society;
- Culture and creativity are important sources of jobs, economic growth, and innovation; contribute to a successful environment for individual creative expression.
1950-1960 - Georgia is one of the republics of the Soviet Union, which was formed after the Soviet Russia occupied and annexed the First Democratic Republic of Georgia (1918-1921).
1964 – 1981 – the so-called stagnation of the Brezhnev period is characterized by the development of cultural infrastructure and the building of professional human resources. While the grip of Stalin's totalitarian system (1929-1953) was loosening, conflict was brewing in Georgia between the communist system and supporters of Georgian national culture.
1974-1990 – the formation of a national liberation movement, which culminated in the violent suppression of anti-Soviet demonstrations by the Soviet army on April 9, 1989. During this period the national culture was redefined as the basis of national identity.
April 9, 1991 - the adoption of the Declaration of Independence of Georgia.
The post-Soviet period in the history and cultural development of Georgia is extremely complex:
The first stage (1991-1994) - a period of rebuilding an independent Georgian state characterized by contradictions and dramatic events. Changes were initiated in the framework of the persisting Soviet style system. The model of cultural policy chosen by the first national government was aimed at creating a separate Georgian policy for culture.
1991 -1992- the control lost over the South-Ossetian Autonomous Territory; the Tbilisi War; overthrow of the government of Gamsakhurdia.
1992-1994 - Edward Shevardnadze came to power (March 1992). A period of war in Abkhazia and devastation when the entire state policy was aimed at struggling against centrifugal trends and could not pursue a target-oriented cultural policy;
After the fall of Sukhumi (27.09.1993) 300 000 Georgian refugees were expelled from Abkhazia, where even today the Georgian cultural heritage is being systematically destroyed and the right of the Georgian population to receive education in their native language is being violated.
The second stage (1994-2003):
1994 -99 - a period of formation of state structures in the territory controlled by the state with a neutrally homogenous policy; formation of a presidential republic, adoption of the Constitution (1995), cooperation with the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international organizations,
2000-2003 - a period anticipating the foundation of a decentralization policy. Support for the arts was the extent of the reach of state policies.
The third period (2003-2012):
23.11.2003 - Rose Revolution.
The third "revolutionary and post-revolutionary" (2003-2007) phase saw the recentralization of cultural policy development supported by legislative / constitutional changes and the extension and unification of the cultural infrastructure.
The period from 2008-2012 is marked by an intensification of centralized power, a weakening of self-governing institutions, self-censorship of the mass media and, consequently, a growth in the role of the state structures (Ministry of Culture and Cultural Heritage) in financing and administration of cultural policy.
August 2008 - The Russia-Georgia five-day war, which ended with the occupation of 20% of Georgian territory and the appearance of a new wave of refugees, provoked the use of culture as an image tool to demonstrate democratic values.
The fourth period (2012 - 2021):
2012-2014 - In the first period of the Georgian Dream’s ruling (the period of cohabitation of two political forces) the cultural policy was homogeneous.
In 2014, the EU-Georgia Association Agreement was signed.
2015-2017 - the first Culture Strategy 2025 was developed and adopted with EU participation.
2018-2020 -constitutional reforms and transition to a parliamentary republic, the sphere of culture was administered by a unified Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports.
2021 - The Georgian Dream government reorganized the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth.
Last update: February, 2022
Last update: February, 2022
Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic.
On October 15, 2010, a new Constitution of Georgia was adopted, which changed the system from a presidential state model to a mixed parliamentary-presidential model. In March 2018, amendments were passed approving the final transition to a parliamentary republic.
The system of administration includes the following branches of authority:
Parliament – the legislative power; the parliamentary committee for culture (established in 2020 after the Parliamentary Elections) is responsible for legislation and supervision of the executive power (Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia)
National government – the executive power; Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia (restored under this name in 2021)
The Ministry is responsible for the development of cultural policy.
The Ministry has undergone the following changes over the last 30 years:
- 1990-2003- Ministry of Culture
- 2004-2010 - Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports
- 2010-2017- Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection
- 2017-2018 - Ministry of Culture and Sport
- 2018-2020 – the Ministry of Culture and Sport was integrated with the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia.
The Ministry includes several agencies responsible for various areas of cultural policy:
The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia (http://heritagesites.ge/) was created in 2008.
Two Creative Europe desks - culture and media - were established at the Ministry in 2016.
In 2017, this new government organization Creative Georgia was created at the Ministry: Creative Georgia is a LEPL (Legal Entity of Public Law), that focuses on the commercialisation of the creative industries' sector and supporting its sustainable development. http://creativegeorgia.ge/
Advisory bodies or councils: In the Georgian system of cultural administration there is no institute or independent arts council. Advisory bodies – branch committees – were established at the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia. These committees are composed of freelance experts but remain largely inactive. Small grants are made available to ensure public participation in the implementation of cultural policy.
There are no special bodies such as councils, committees or working groups that facilitate the representation and participation of national and cultural minorities or groups of immigrants in the cultural processes. The only authority that indirectly addresses these issues (in the context of the protection of the general rights of minorities) is the Centre for Tolerance at the Office of the Ombudsman of Georgia.
LEPL Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation was established in 2010 at the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia to develop the science, technology and innovation system. A small part of the fund is used for the implementation of scientific projects in the field of culture.
Last update: February, 2022
In line with Georgian legislation, the governments of Abkhazia and Ajaria Autonomous Republics have their own Ministries of Culture (which are responsible for programmes within their respective administrative borders). The Ministry of Education and Culture of Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Ministry of Education Culture and Sport of Ajaria Autonomous Republic 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 2008-2011 (from the early presidential elections on January 5th 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's policy.
Last update: February, 2022
Municipalities of Georgia represent the lower level administrative units in Georgia, where local self-government is exercised. As of 2020, there are 69 municipalities in Georgia, which are united in 9 provinces, which in turn are de facto units.
Five municipalities have been occupied by Russia since 2008 and it is not possible to implement the state cultural policy on their territory.
The local authorities of administration (municipalities) and self-government (sakrebulo – city or village councils) bear responsibility for cultural activity in the regions.
The structural units of local authorities are the departments of culture, cultural heritage and protection of monuments at the local governmental level.
Most of the institutions of culture (theatres, clubs, museums, libraries, centres and houses of culture, art and music schools) responsible to the local bodies of administration and self-government have legal NGO-status although they receive state-municipal financing.
Presidential power in the regions is realised through the institute of presidential "rtsmunebuli" (the governor / president's attorney). There are 10 rtsmunebulis throughout Georgia. The Governor's Office includes the committee for culture (institutions and programmes of regional importance. The Rtsmunebuli Office is financed from the central budget (the role of the rtsmunebuli - governor (the president's confidant in each region) is defined in the new Constitution of Georgia of 15 October 2010). In many respects, the President's institutes -"rtsmunebuli"- duplicate the functions of the bodies of local administration and self-government and due to a trend of centralisation in recent years the powers of the rtsmunebuli have been further reinforced.
In some cases there are conflicting priorities and approaches taken by the national cultural policy and by the policies of local self-government which can result in the lack of a coherent system for cultural support.
Due to the political and economic interests of the central authorities listed above, as well as demands from both local authorities and the public, the problems of delimitation of powers and reinforcement of centralisation have become very acute.
Following the amended Constitution of Georgia, the institute of presidential "rtsmunebuli" (plenipotentiary) has been changed and turned into the institute of governmental "rtsmunebuli". Now it is subordinate to the Government and not the President but maintains the same function of the centralised administration. Presidential power in the regions, realised through the institute of presidential "rtsmunebuli, is now being subsumed under government control in changes to the Constitution.
Local authorities lacking legislative and financial levers for implementation of their own cultural policy instead implement the cultural policy of the national government.
To further the centralisation of cultural management in the regions, so called centres of culture (with the legal status of LEPL) were created. Institutions of culture (theatres, clubs, museums, libraries, centres and houses of culture, art and music schools) subordinate to the local administrations and self-governments are united in the so called centres of culture – the umbrella organisations with specific status and state-municipal financing.
The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection promotes initiatives in cultural animation in the regions in the framework of the cultural support programme; the programme provides support for traditional folk holidays, restoration and popularisation of national holidays, and promotion of tourism.
Last update: February, 2022
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.
Last update: February, 2022
Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia and other ministries is determined by their participation in public cultural development. 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.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the development and implementation of a single foreign policy, including foreign cultural policy. 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 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 and Monument Protection is responsible for execution of the budget.
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 maintains the documents of cultural heritage value and ensures their inventory, identification and rehabilitation.
- The National Agency of Public Register is authorised to register the title to ownership for all immovable assets and among them cultural heritage monuments as well.
The Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources (the MoE) 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 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.
On the regional level, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia cooperates with the local authorities, the office of rtsmunebuli / governor 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.
On 21 November 2014, a working group for reviewing infrastructure needs was established by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, with the Minister as Chairman. The Interdepartmental Working Group is composed of representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Finance, Economy and Sustainable Development and Tbilisi City Hall.
In 2016, in the process of developing the Georgian Culture Strategy 2025, an interagency committee and a working group have been established aiming to involve all government agencies in the development of the culture strategy document and its implementation.
The 2017-2018 Interagency Action Plan for Implementation of the Culture Strategy was developed as well.
The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia newly restored in 2021 has not yet announced the development of this action plan.
Last update: February, 2022
According to Georgian legislation, cultural organisations (as for other organisations) may have three types of legal status – state, private commercial legal entities and non-profit making (non-state) organisations.
The higher art schools, cultural heritage sites, archives, libraries, museums, most theatres (only a few are NNLEs), symphony orchestras, 3 folk ensembles and the centre, the Writers’ House, and the Cinema Centre are subordinated to the state (central and municipal authorities.).
Architecture, design, fashion, handicrafts, art galleries, TV and radio (except 2 public broadcasters), film studios, publishing houses, production and advertising firms, gaming, audio and video, multimedia and club industries, contemporary and electronic music fields are privately owned.
The nongovernmental sector more or less covers the areas of cultural heritage and cultural industry. Most of the intellectual resources are concentrated in this sector, but in terms of infrastructure it is still quite weak.
Cultural infrastructure was severely damaged during the hostilities of the 1990s and the economic crisis. Uncontrolled privatization in the 2000s destroyed many cultural heritage sites and disrupted the integrity of the historical city network. At the same time, the restoration and renovation of facilities of national importance (state theatres, higher art schools, churches, etc.) was carried out in cooperation with the state, international donors and the private sector. Often the share of the private sector far exceeded that of public investment.
Today, the issue of cultural infrastructure is still acute and budget funds cannot cover its needs.
"The cultural infrastructure dissemination in Georgia according to the CDIS survey is 0.312. This final result of 0.312 is low for the average indicator of spaces designed for museums, libraries, exhibitions and performing arts in Georgia” (Source: UNESCO “Culture for Development Indicators (CDIS) Georgia”, 2017; EU-Eastern Partnership Culture and Creativity Programme).
Therefore, in the Culture Strategy 2025 approved in 2016, this issue is given a strategic role: "Cultural Infrastructure and New Technologies."
Objective: The development and effective management of the cultural infrastructure contributes to producing and disseminating high-quality cultural products and services, preserving cultural properties and improving the working environment in accordance with international standards."
Last update: February, 2022
Table 1: Cultural institutions, by sector and domain
|Domain||Cultural institutions (subdomains)||Public sector||Private sector|
|Number (2020)||Trend last 5 years (In %)||Number (2020)||Trend last 5 years (In %)|
|Cultural heritage||Cultural heritage sites (recognised)||7 915||-|
|Complex monuments of national and world value||15||+6.6%||-|
|Visual arts||Public art galleries / exhibition halls||1***||not available|
|Performing arts||Performance and stable spaces for theatre||29||23||+15%|
|Dance and ballet companies||5||1||+100%|
|Broadcasting organisations||2||not available|
|Interdisciplinary||Socio-cultural centres / cultural houses||2||not available|
|Other (please explain)||Child musical, art and painting schools||10||not available|
|Higher education institutions||5|
Source(s): State Department for Statistics,
* 12 museums and 4 house-museums are part of the Georgian National Museum
** Archives are under the Ministry of Justice
*** The National Gallery is part of the Georgian National Museum up to 2021
**** 2 opera and ballet theaters and 3 state folk song and dance ensembles subordinate to the state
***** "Tbilisi Modern Ballet" subordinates to Tbilisi Municipality
**** The National Library is under of the Parliament of Georgia.
***** From 2009, the information about other libraries is no longer available from administrative sources
There is no data on private cultural institutions, only incomplete and fragmented information. For example, there is data on private broadcasters, and some on museums and galleries.
However, statistics on the private sector of the other domains shown in the table are mostly unavailable.
The Ministry of Culture Sports and Youth controls 18 state museums (including the National Museum of Georgia, which includes 12 museums, 4 house museums, 1 National Gallery and 2 research centres), 29 theatres, 5 concert halls, 14 educational institutions (of which 4 are higher institutions and 10 colleges and schools of art, ballet, music and fine art), LEPL Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Centre for Georgian Art History and Monument Protection, Films, Folklore, Theatres, Classical Music Centres, National Music Centre, Writers’ House, LEPL Circassian (Adyghe) Cultural Centre; LEPL- Tbilisi State Chamber Orchestra; and LEPL Gori Women’s Chamber Choir.
The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia under the Ministry of Culture and Youth Affairs deals with cultural and historical monuments and archaeological sites.
Some institutions are managed by other state institutions, e.g. the Ministry of Justice manages the archive institutions, the Parliament of Georgia manages the National Library, and 14 state reserves are managed by the Agency of Protected Areas under the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources.
Libraries, culture houses, some theatres, museums and music schools have been transferred to municipalities.
According to data from 2008, there were 824 libraries in Georgia (without data from the Republic of Adjara). Since 2009, information about libraries is no longer available from administrative sources.
Last update: February, 2022
Since 1999, in compliance with the Law on Legal Entities under the Public Law, the main institutions of culture have been re-registered and established as legal entities.
In 2021, 77 cultural institutions subordinate to the new Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia. Some state institutions – libraries, archives, and some museums fall under the responsibility of the Parliament, Ministry of Justice and municipalities.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020, under the consolidated Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, the funding for culture was reduced in the development programmes and free projects.
After the re-establishment of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia in 2021, some state associations have undergone changes (for example 4 museums have been excluded from the structure of the National Museum and now subordinate directly to the Ministry).
There is an example of transition from private to public ownership - the Black Sea Arena was handed over to the state by the Cartu Foundation.
State-run foundations do not exist in Georgia. Despite the urgent need for public foundations to accumulate funds for the development and support of culture and the constant debates on this issue, there has been no adequate legislative activity in this area. All private donations go through foundations with the status of non-governmental, non-profit organizations.
All private donations for the public organizations and institutions – legal persons under the public law subordinated to the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia of Georgia - go through the foundations with the status of non-governmental non-profit organizations.
The long-term cooperation between public institutions of culture and private sponsors is somewhat irregular and unofficial. One of the few sponsors regularly cooperating with key organizations of national importance is the Georgian foundation Cartu which has financed large projects such as the rehabilitation of several theatres of national importance and institutions of higher cultural education.
Other important examples of cooperation between the state and international foundations are the Soros Foundation, the British Council in Georgia, the U.S. Ambassadors' Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), etc. These initiatives often encourage participation of NGOs and cultural societies to cooperate in projects with central or local authorities as a third partner.
Successful examples of public-private partnerships or collaborations (involving state, municipalities and NGOs) are the traditional international film festival "Prometheus", Theatre Festival Gift, Tbilisi Jazz Festival, and other international events, which attract many visitors and sponsors.
A special mention should be given to the Fund for Preservation and Rescue of Georgian Historical Monuments, which is the only privately funded donor organization active in the cultural heritage field since 2004. The Fund has the biggest share in financing the restoration, inventory and rehabilitation of listed properties. In 2004-2009, the Fund financed more than 430 projects all over the country, including 390 Orthodox churches (after the restoration most of these churches reopened). The archaeological works have been implemented on the most important sites in Georgia and abroad (e.g. Ghalia Monastery in Cyprus). The Fund also provided financing to equip conservation research laboratories at the Restoration Faculty of the Academy of Fine Arts and the Nokalakevi museum-reserve. The Fund actively cooperates with the MoC, the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation and the Patriarchate of Georgia to define the priorities and agree to the annual list of monuments for rehabilitation.
Last update: February, 2022
Since regaining independence, Georgia has been active in working with international organizations and is a member of the UN, UNESCO, Council of Europe, European Union, World Tourism Organization, ICCROM, and GUAM.
Georgia has signed various agreements in the sphere of culture with EU countries, CIS countries (Commonwealth of Independent States), USA, China, Israel, India, etc. (100 countries).
The Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia (in all its modifications) has developed and implemented bilateral and multilateral foreign cultural policies.
In the Culture Strategy 2025 the seventh strategic goal is "Internationalization of Culture”.
7.1. Objective: The internationalization of the cultural sector helps the development of culture, increases the nation’s export capacity and empowers its image.
- To ensure harmonization of cultural sector legislation with ratified international norms and its approximation to EU legislation;
- To strengthen cooperation between Georgia and other countries through bilateral/multilateral agreements and/or joint programmes;
- To support the internationalization of Georgia's cultural sector and intensify efforts to establish it in the European and international markets.
- To strengthen international cooperation to support the efforts of creative industries to join international online platforms, export their products and increase the public accessibility of international online platforms;
- To take into account the importance of cultural and creative resources in terms of foreign trade policy, international relations and diplomacy.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has a responsibility for international cultural cooperation which is administered by its Department for Foreign Economic and Humanitarian Relations. This Department is responsible for some aspects of cultural policy and the protection of Georgian cultural heritage abroad. After 2008, the cultural policy of the separatist governments in the breakaway "independent" republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has been openly nationalistic and anti-Georgian. In particular, this relates to the immovable monuments of cultural heritage and teaching and use of the Georgian language. The Georgian state has opposed this policy using legal measures (Law on Occupied Territories, and financial tools (financing of programmes for reintegration and integration, promotion of culture of national minorities).
In the joint strategic priorities of the Ministries of Culture and Monument Protection and Internal Affairs of Georgia for 2011-2014, special attention was paid to the active involvement of UNESCO in the problems of protection of cultural heritage and the education sphere in the Georgian territories occupied by Russia.
The Ministry of Culture (in all its modifications) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperate closely on Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia and the European Union signed the Association Agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA), on June 27th 2014 in the margins of the European Council meeting in Brussels. Chapter 17 of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement is devoted to cooperation in the cultural field and is concretely mentioned in Article 362 and 363:
Article 362: " The Parties will promote cultural cooperation taking duly into account the principles enshrined in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions of 2005. The Parties will seek a regular policy dialogue in areas of mutual interest, including the development of cultural industries in the EU and Georgia. Cooperation between the Parties will foster intercultural dialogue, including through the participation of the cultural sector and civil society from the EU and Georgia".
Article 363: "The Parties shall concentrate their cooperation in a number of fields:
- Cultural cooperation and cultural exchanges;
- Mobility of art and artists and strengthening of the capacity of the cultural sector;
- Intercultural dialogue;
- Dialogue on cultural policy; and
- Cooperation in international fora such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, inter alia, in order to foster cultural diversity, and preserve and valorize cultural and historical heritage."
Significant financing and support of international cultural cooperation was implemented through the international funds and institutions, such as the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), South Caucasus Regional Office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the British Council Georgia Office, the Alexander Dumas Centre of French Culture, the French Institute, the Goethe Institute, and USAID. Each of the listed funds contributes to the development of public participation and cultural diplomacy according to their priorities.
In 2007 - 2011 the "Georgian Seasons" programme was organized and financed from the presidential and governmental reserve funds at the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection. The state undertook liability for the regular participation in such prestigious international events as the Venice Biennale, Prague International Festival, Frankfurt Book Fair, Berlinale, Istanbul Biennale, Edinburgh Festival and others.
Since 2012, the programme has evolved into the Strategic Goal "Internationalization of Culture", which is funded by the Ministry of Culture.
Before the pandemic, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, through the International Education Centre established in 2014, actively promoted the participation of young people in international exchange programmes, including in the field of culture.
Last update: February, 2022
There are agreements in place between Georgia and international organizations such as UNESCO (since 1995), ICROM, ICOM and ICOMOS. Georgia is included in HEREIN, the Participation Programme and the Creative Cities Network (UNESCO). Georgia is also a member of the BSEC (Black Sea Economic Cooperation) working group on culture and European Heritage Days (since 1999). Regarding the transnational organizations, Georgia has executed cultural agreements with the CIS, GUAM and BSEC countries.
Since 2001, Georgia has cooperated with the project STAGE (since 2005-2006, this project has been transformed into the Kyiv Initiative) and since 2005 has participated in the CoE / ERICarts comparative research project "Cultural Policy in Europe: a Compendium of Key Facts and Trends."
Responsibility for the provision and monitoring of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (ratified in 2008)is carried out by the National Committee of UNESCO, under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Georgia participates in the EU Neighborhood Policy. The Twinning Project was implemented within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme.
In 2010, Georgia ratified the European Landscape Convention and in 2011 - the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. In 2011 Georgia joined Eurimage.
From January 2015, Georgia became the first Neighborhood country to join the Creative Europe Programme. In 2016 Georgia joined the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes project and the Ministry became a member of ENCATC.
By 2017, Georgia had become a member of the following international organizations: IFACCA, EUROPA NOSTRA, Bureau of the Steering Committee for Culture, and Heritage and Landscape.
In 2021 Georgia's capital Tbilisi and the seaside city of Batumi joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. In 2021 Tbilisi became the World Book Capital within the framework of the UNESCO World Book Capital programme.
Last update: February, 2022
The government of Georgia actively cooperates with civil society within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and in the process of development and implementation of the Culture Strategy 2025. Accordingly, it considers the nongovernmental sector as a permanent partner in ongoing activities.
One of the objectives (3.2.) of Strategic Goal 3. "Culture and Other Key Areas" of the Culture Strategy 2025 is Regular cooperation among cultural professionals, public, civil and private sectors, which is reflected in the following:
- Promoting public-private partnerships, creative approaches and interdisciplinary cooperation in the cultural sector to solve problems in various fields;
- Developing flexible and attractive funding mechanisms to facilitate cooperation between the representatives of the cultural sector on the one hand, and cooperation of cultural and other sectors, on the other hand.
This results in direct professional and transnational cooperation between NGOs, the public sector and municipalities in Georgia, especially for implementation of large projects.
However, most of the interesting and successful projects are initiated by individuals and NGOs or through the bilateral relations of various public and private organizations which have been initiated by personal contacts rather than as a matter of state policy.
Thus almost all international festivals (architecture, theatre, film, contemporary art, craftsmanship, books and publishing, and contemporary dance) have been initiated and organized by various NGOs with the support of central and local authorities and international donors. Examples are: Artisterium, Georgian International Festival of Arts–"Gift", Tbilisi International Summit ETHNOFEST, Tbilisi International Film Festival, Tbilisi International Jazz Festival, Black Sea Jazz in Batumi, International Folk Festival "Chveneburebi", South Caucasus Contemporary Dance & Experimental Art Festival in Tbilisi, Tbilisi International Book Festival, International Animation Film Festival Nikozi, Batumi International Art-House Film Festival, Tbilisi Biennale of Stage Design, Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, etc.
Promoting transnational cooperation is also described in Objective 7.1. “The internationalization of the cultural sector helps the development of culture, increases the nation’s export capacity and empowers its image” of Strategic Goal “Internationalization of Culture” of Culture Strategy 2025, which is divided into the following tasks:
To help the creative industries in creating co-funding opportunities and developing co-production through international programmes, such as Creative Europe, Eurimage, the Eastern Partnership Culture Programme, Creative Cities Network - UNESCO, etc.;
To elaborate and introduce a more comprehensive concept for Georgia’s cultural days abroad (e.g. in addition to cultural heritage, demonstrate contemporary achievements, initiatives, successful creative businesses and investments, public facilitation programmes and etc. and create integrated promotion policy);
In order to promote Georgian culture abroad, to facilitate public-private partnerships and the implementation of joint projects (e.g.: organize exhibitions, present Georgia at international fairs, festivals and other events, support the integrated representation of business, tourism, agricultural and cultural resources, etc.);
The state supports the promotion of Georgian culture on such important international platforms as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Biennale, the Prague Quadrennial, the Frankfurt Book Fair, etc., in which the NNLs of the respective fields are actively involved.
Most of the intellectual resources are concentrated in the nongovernmental sector of the cultural field. As usual, the international networks (for example ICOM, ICOMOS, OISTAT, European Theatre Convention "ETC", ASSITEJ, New European Theaters Association "NETA" UNIMA, Blue Shield, etc.) are represented in Georgia by the organizations of this sector.
Nongovernmental cultural institutions actively cooperate with international partners around the world, have active contacts in relevant fields (cultural heritage, professional arts, cultural industries and cultural tourism) and carry out joint projects, research, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, competitions and more.