Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
July 29, 2005
U.S. Assistance to Georgia -- Fiscal Year 2005
Democratic reforms remain a significant focus of U.S. programs in Georgia in FY 2005, especially following the 2003 Rose Revolution, presidential elections, and re-run parliamentary elections in early 2004. The immediate reforms initiated by the new government were instrumental in Georgia’s eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Account. The May 2005 visit of George W. Bush marked an important milestone in U.S.-Georgian relations.
In FY 2005, the estimated $138.9 million budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies for assistance programs in Georgia is allocated roughly as follows based on information available as of the date of this fact sheet:
Democracy programs in Georgia are realizing positive results; the peaceful Rose Revolution in late 2003 is a good example of the progress made in strengthening independent political parties and building a strong civil society in Georgia. U.S.-funded domestic monitoring, voter education, media, and political party strengthening programs helped lay a foundation for the Georgian peoples’ challenge of flawed parliamentary elections in November 2003, as well as for the conduct of presidential and re-run parliamentary elections that followed it. U.S. assistance programs also help Georgia enact and implement better laws and regulations in a transparent manner. The Georgian Parliament receives substantial support through a project that seeks to improve its transparency, strengthen the capacity of new Members of Parliament and forge a legislative body that exercises effective oversight. Other programs educate citizens about their rights through public services announcements, legal clinics, and street law programs and encourage them to take actions to enhance government accountability and reduce corruption.
The U.S. has increased its technical assistance to the new government’s ministries while continuing to emphasize a participatory and transparent dialogue between government and civil society. Support continues to Georgian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help them achieve financial sustainability, establish solid constituencies, and develop effective techniques to advocate on behalf of citizen interests. Small grant programs support indigenous NGOs that promote civil society, local government accountability, independent media, anti-corruption, and other pro-democracy initiatives.
Training and exchange programs give the next generation of Georgian leaders first-hand experience with the day-to-day functioning of a market-based, democratic system. In 2004, the U.S. Government sent approximately 250 Georgian citizens to the United States on academic and professional exchange programs. Since 1993, the U.S. has funded the travel of over 4,000 Georgian citizens to the United States on these programs in fields such as management, social service provision, and NGO development -- and many members of the new Georgian Government are U.S. exchange program participants, including President Saakashvili. Additional institutional support programs for the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies and the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs are also nurturing indigenous capacity to produce the next generation of leaders.U.S.-funded market reform programs in Georgia improve the environment for business development and private investment through tax, budget and debt reform, land privatization, banking supervision, access to credit for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and regulatory reform. U.S. assistance to Georgia’s crucial energy sector is laying the foundation for greater energy independence and security. The U.S. Government also provides technical assistance to the government's electricity regulators, the Ministry of Energy and the distribution company, helping the latter to improve collections with the aim of putting the energy companies on a solid commercial footing. In Georgia’s agricultural sector, U.S. assistance programs support the development of market-driven production and processing capability, which helps to enhance the competitiveness and production capacity of local firms.
U.S. security, nonproliferation, and law enforcement assistance aims to strengthen Georgia’s ability to protect its borders, reform its law enforcement and judicial sectors, fight narcotics trafficking, and assist in the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. security assistance funded the Georgia Train and Equip Program (GTEP) through 2004, creating four Coalition/NATO interoperable, light infantry battalions and a mechanized armor company that have served the Global War on Terrorism in Georgia and abroad. This capacity will continue to be improved through the Sustainment and Stability Operations Program (SSOP). Foreign Military Financing and International Military Education and Training are also used to enhance reforms of Georgian military along Western lines. In addition, the Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE) program enables the Border Guard, Coast Guard, Customs Service, and other security forces to be more effective at protecting Georgia’s land and sea borders.
The U.S. continues to provide nonproliferation assistance to Georgia, including funding to secure biological pathogens and to conduct peaceful joint research activities with biological and chemical scientists. The U.S. funds science centers, Bio-Chem Redirect, and BioIndustry Initiative programs and is working through the multilateral International Science and Technology Center in Moscow and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine to engage scientists from Georgia in transparent, sustainable, and cooperative civilian research projects. The U.S. also provides nonproliferation assistance to the Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF).
U.S.law enforcement programs focus on police reform, improvement in law enforcement capabilities, and support for legislation to fight money laundering and other crimes. The U.S. supports efforts to restructure the Ministry of Internal Affairs, establish a modern forensics laboratory, and improve Georgia’s police academy. U.S. Government assistance emphasizes the importance of anti-corruption efforts and reform of the procuracy and judiciary. Additionally, assistance to anti-trafficking programs, including assistance to prevent victimization and prosecute traffickers, is helping to raise the profile of this issue.
In 2005, the U.S. humanitarian program will ship and distribute to Georgia’s most needy humanitarian commodities valued at approximately $24 million. In addition, USAID will distribute food aid to vulnerable populations through the World Food Program's relief operations. The U.S. also supports three medical outpatient clinics, as well as Georgia’s national programs for child immunization, primary health care, and disease prevention for HIV, tuberculosis, and sexually-transmitted infections. In Fiscal Year 2005, community development programs will assist over 500 locally-based projects focusing on education, health, irrigation, drinking water, and road improvement. An educational program implemented by Catholic Relief Services, working through more than 200 school-based youth clubs, impacts over 8,000 young Georgians. The project aims to reinforce positive values among youth, improve their interpersonal and vocational skills, and increase ethnic understanding. Humanitarian demining operations continue in and around the Abkhazia region of Georgia.
Georgia hosts about 60 Peace Corps volunteers who teach English at the secondary and university level with a concentration on teaching methodology.