ECMI provides training for Local Government on Integration of Minorities in Georgia

Under the auspices of the Georgian Office of the State Minister for Reintegration and the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure a three days conference on “The Local Self-Government and the Integration of Minorities” took place in Tbilisi 14-17 December 2010.

The conference gathered representatives of the nine provinces, 73 districts and 6 cities with a separate municipal status. Many of the regions and districts are ethnically diverse either with various but small minority groups or with large compactly settled minorities such as Armenians or Azeris, who constitute the majority in the regions of Samtskhe Javakheti or Kvemo Kartli. The local self-government after initiation of the decentralization reform has taken over a number of tasks, earlier managed by the central government.

In order to equip them better with skills necessary for accommodating this diversity according to European standards, European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) Flensburg and Georgia supported the conference as part of the Danida-Council of Europe-ECMI 2nd Joint Programme on “Promotion of Judicial Reform, Human and Minority Rights 2010-2013.” The programme of the conference included meetings at the Presidential palace, Parliament, and the Supreme Court to learn how these institutions work and how they can be directly accessed, an opportunity not available before.

The key session was devoted to the training of the local government representatives in minority protection standards, in particular the responsibility of the local government in enhancing linguistic and cultural diversity. The training delivered by ECMI Deputy Director Ewa Chylinski, heading the ECMI Training and Technical Assistance Unit (TTA) was centered around Georgia’s adherence to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the first State Report and the modalities of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as well as the European Charter for Local Self-Government. The training raised many concrete questions and issues, how to address minority languages, cultural needs and visibility in the daily work of local administrations. Although initial steps have been taken to produce information in major minority languages, there is much room for improvement. It was agreed that further trainings are essential at the local level, allowing for a larger number of local government employees and the local minority organizations to participate.

Further ECMI resources on Georgia: http://www.ecmicaucasus.org/

Place and Date: Tbilisi, 14-17 December 2010
For further information, please contact:
Ewa Chylinski, chylinski@ecmi.de

ECMI founders:

The German Federal GovernmentThe German
Federal Government
The Danish GovernmentThe Danish
The Federal State Schleswig-HolsteinThe Federal State