Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
May 12, 2006
U.S. Assistance to Georgia -- Fiscal Year 2006
Democratic reform has been a significant aspect of U.S. programs in Georgia. The Saakashvili Administration’s commitment to improvement in governance, supported by U.S. assistance, has led to widespread structural and legislative reform. Decentralization of power has begun. U.S. assistance will continue to support these efforts. The immediate reforms initiated by the new government following the Rose revolution were instrumental in Georgia’s eligibility for the Millennium Challenge Account.
In September 2005, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a compact with Georgia. This compact totaling $295 million over a five year period will focus on rehabilitating regional infrastructure and promoting private sector development.
In FY 2006, the estimated $85.7 million budgeted by all U.S. Government agencies (not including MCC) 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 improve public sector transparency and accountability at both the national and local levels; advance the rule of law; ensure broad public participation in political life; and promote national integration and peace building. To increase the executive branch’s efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability, democracy assistance will support civil service reform and enhance the effectiveness of selected public sector institutions. Assistance to the parliament will focus on key policy issues, strengthened committee operations to allow for broad public input and oversight, and outreach capacity to promote executive branch accountability.
Democracy assistance will also include political party strengthening and support for youth and women’s programs to encourage greater political participation. Rule of Law efforts will focus on the judiciary to increase independence. Local government programs will support the 20 largest municipalities in the implementation of newly adopted laws. U.S. assistance will support the development of a national strategy and action plan to promote national integration and tolerance will include support for democracy, confidence, and peace building efforts, including support to civil society and an independent media. U.S. assistance will also be provided for programs aimed at fostering the peaceful resolution of the separatist regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia within Georgia.
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. Since 1993, the U.S. has funded the travel of over 4,440 Georgian citizens to the United States on these programs in fields such as management, social service provision, and NGO development. Many members of the new Georgian Government were U.S. exchange program participants, including President Saaskashvili. 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, customs, budget, and debt reform, licensing and business registration, 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. Growing energy independence was seen in January 2006, when flanked the Georgian Government was able for the first time in over a decade to solve an energy crisis with little U.S. assistance. The U.S. Government also provides technical assistance to the government's electricity regulators, the Ministry of Energy, and a distribution company, helping the latter to improve collections with an aim toward 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 of local firms.
U.S. security, law enforcement, and nonproliferation 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. Georgia’s capacity to contribute infantry battalions for stability operations in Iraq and elsewhere will continue to be improved through the ongoing 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 and increase NATO interoperability. In addition, the Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE) and Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance (EXBS) programs enable the Border Guard, Coast Guard, Customs Service, and other security forces to be more effective at protecting Georgia’s land and sea borders. Beginning in FY 2006, the EXBS program will initiate a number of export control assistance activities to supplement and expand those that have been carried out in this general area under the FREEDOM Support Act-funded (FSA) Georgia Border Security and Law Enforcement (GBSLE) assistance program.
The United States continues to provide nonproliferation assistance to Georgia, including funding to secure biological pathogens and to conduct joint research activities with scientists that have weapons expertise. 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 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). In addition, the U.S. provides assistance to Georgia through the Biological Threat Reduction Program of the Department of Defense for biosafety, biosecurity, threat agent detection and response, and cooperative biological research
U.S. law enforcement programs focus on restructuring and improving the capabilities of law enforcement agencies and assisting reforms in the procuracy and courts. The United States supports efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, establish a modern forensics laboratory, implement a comprehensive anti-corruption action plan, and improve police training. U.S. Government assistance is improving the curriculum and facilities of the Police Academy, provides other specialized police training. Assistance also supports development of the Patrol Police, community outreach efforts, and new police communications systems. U.S. programs in Georgia are helping to implement a new criminal procedure code and train criminal defense lawyers. Additionally, assistance to anti-trafficking programs, including assistance on prevention and prosecution, is helping to raise the profile of this issue, with an aim toward reducing the occurrence of trafficking in persons.
In 2006, the U.S. humanitarian program will ship and distribute humanitarian commodities valued at approximately $25 million to Georgia’s most needy. Under a new humanitarian initiative, the Department of State will complete six Small Reconstruction Projects (SRP) in Georgia. These projects will improve the conditions in beneficiary institutions such as schools, clinics, orphanages, and elderly homes. In addition, the United States will distribute food aid to vulnerable populations through the World Food Program's relief operations. The U.S. also supports Georgia’s national program for child immunization, primary health care, and disease prevention for HIV, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted infections. In addition, USAID will improve the Government’s health care financing system, support reproductive health and family planning policy development, strengthen national level health institutions, and encourage a national policy on National Health Accounts. In FY 2006, USAID will support over 250 projects in approximately 200 communities focusing on economic infrastructure, employment generation, irrigation, and drinking water. Humanitarian demining operations continue in and around the Abkhazia separatist region of Georgia.
Georgia hosts 90 Peace Corps Volunteers who work in English Language Education and NGO Development. The program is expanding and by August of 2006, there will be approximately 80 Volunteers.