Georgia is steadily progressing towards becoming a democratic state which shares the values of the European Union.
Its direction of travel is clear – and Westminster Foundation for Democracy stands ready to continue supporting its journey in the years ahead.
British expertise, shared through our work, is helping Georgia overcome the difficulties inherited from its Soviet past as it seeks to implement its National Human Rights Strategy and pursue its Association Agreement with the EU. Mistrust of civil society and a poor human rights record are being overcome by improving state institutions and brokering more effective relationships among those representing all parts of society.
WFD has played an important role in this process for some years. Our 2012-2014 EU-funded programme worked with CSOs to enable them to be effective players in Georgia’s political life – questioning and influencing policy over key EU integration issues such as human rights, judicial reform, education and the environment.
From 2014, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), WFD has provided support to the Georgian Parliament’s International Relations Department, helping strengthen its overseas links by sharing experience from regional parliaments and their committee systems. Such support to committees is essential for improved budgetary oversight, which in turn gives MPs effective mechanisms to scrutinise public spending.
Our current programme builds on these themes. We are working with CSOs to encourage greater oversight of the Government’s Human Rights Action Plan. And we are building committees’ understanding of the role they play in dealing with policy and legislation originating from the Association Agreement, as well as increasing the committee’s understanding of human rights issues and related international best practice. WFD is best placed to support on these issues as we draw on the UK’s extensive parliamentary experience in dealing with human rights policy and legislation.
Our work has also helped establish WFD as an important contributor to the parliament’s development. We have strong relationships with its leadership and are proud of our trusted status, which gives us the ambition to seek new opportunities for working with the Georgian Parliament. Going forwards, WFD wants to continue helping Georgia meet its commitments to human rights, democracy and the rule of law – and we are open to any new funding opportunities which can help us do so as they arise.