FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance
FY 2008 Foreign Assistance Goals
Georgia has made dramatic progress on democratic and economic reform since the “Rose Revolution” in 2003, progressing from a nearly failed state towards a democratic, market-oriented country at the forefront of reform in the region and an important security partner of the United States. Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008 threatens to derail this progress. In addition to damage to Georgia’s infrastructure, the conflict resulted in an estimated 30,000 medium- to long-term internally displaced persons (IDPs) and threatens to push a much larger number of people into poverty as a result of the economic shock. Additionally, economic growth shrunk by 5.5 percent. In response, in October 2008, the U.S. Government (USG) pledged $1 billion over the next two years to aid Georgia’s recovery, including support to meet IDP needs, rebuild damaged infrastructure, and help Georgia’s economy weather the crisis. Of this amount, approximately $40 million in humanitarian assistance, constituting the USG’s response at the outset of the conflict, was provided during FY 2008. The $1 billion commitment is over and above the USG’s existing bilateral assistance budget for Georgia.
Prior to the conflict, peace and security goals were to improve the Georgian Government’s (GOG) anti-terrorism and law enforcement capacity , reduce WMD proliferation threats, as well as improve the NATO-interoperability of Georgia’s military forces and provide assistance in support of their deployment in coalition operations. In order to promote democracy, United States Government (USG) assistance was targeted to strengthen the independence and operation of the judiciary and justice system, foster transparent, accountable and participatory governing processes, strengthen political parties and promote democratic political processes, build the capacity of civil society and increase access to independent information. In the health sector, the objectives were to increase access to basic health care by improving delivery systems, prevent maternal and infant mortality, promote better family planning, and combat tuberculosis (TB) and a growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. To promote economic growth, assistance focused on implementing legal and regulatory reforms to increase private sector-led trade and investment. The goal of pre-existing USG humanitarian assistance was to alleviate suffering and provide basic medical and other necessities to the most vulnerable populations.
Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $63.81m*
(*Foreign Operations appropriated assistance, excluding Peace Corps funds, centrally managed Foreign Operations funds that are not budgeted for specific countries, and supplemental appropriations under Public Law 110-329. HA total does not include the value of donated humanitarian commodities transported by the U.S. Department of State, estimated at $43.63 million in FY 2008. Funds provided to Georgia in response to the August 2008 conflict and as part of the $1 billion commitment in support of Georgia’s recovery are not included in this total.)
Highlights of FY 2008 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Trained 49 Georgian law enforcement officials in counter-terrorism areas such as airport security management, crisis response and armored vehicle driving. USG assistance strengthened the borders of Georgia against the illicit flow of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), WMD delivery systems, and illegal weapons by providing equipment and training. Officials were trained in port security, maritime operations, dual-use commodity identification, border interdiction, export controls and the English language.
- Provided funding to the Georgian Research and Development Foundation (GRDF) to promote technological progress by offering competitive merit-based grants to teach scientists how to compete in a market-based economy. GRDF funded 15 proposals for graduate student travel to U.S. host laboratories, as well as for follow-on research. USG assistance organized a conference for scientists and local industries to present their ideas to a panel of U.S. business experts. Eight of the science/industry teams were selected to develop their technologies.
- Educated 26 Georgian civilian and military defense officials in U.S. professional military education institutions, resulting in an increase in professional leaders with first-hand knowledge of the U.S. practices and standards. The USG trained and equipped Georgia’s First Infantry Brigade (2,000 soldiers) in advance of their deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom (Georgia provided the third largest national troop contribution to the coalition prior to withdrawal due to the August conflict with Russia) as well as Georgia’s Fourth Infantry Brigade (2,132 soldiers), resulting in increased NATO interoperability in coalition counter-insurgency operations. The USG also trained and equipped the 1st battalion and staff of the Georgian Special Operations Group, resulting in a deployable counterterrorism capability and enabling them to participate in coalition operations.
- Established an English Language Center at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) Police Academy, graduating 54 police officers and enrolling an additional 87 officers, resulting in greater capacity to participate in U.S. police training and contribute to coalition and UN peacekeeping operations. The USG renovated the MOIA police canine facility and conducted training in horse-mounted police operations, resulting in the development of additional law enforcement capacity for community policing. The USG established three new Ministry of Justice (MOJ) regional forensic evidence collection centers, eliminating the need to transport sensitive forensic evidence to the capital and decreasing opportunities for tampering or damage of evidence.
- Trained the Georgia Border Police and Georgia Revenue Service to perform risk assessments of transactions, identify suspect shipments, conduct thorough examinations of arriving and departing commercial conveyances, and detain/seize as appropriate, resulting in a 35 percent increase in inspections and a 20 percent increase in seizures of illicit materials.
- Cleared landmines and unexploded ordnance in Abkhazia at 25 minefields, locating and destroying 164 anti-personnel landmines, 98 anti-tank landmines and 14,471 items of unexploded ordnance, resulting in the return of 938,445 square meters of previously dangerous ground as safe to use for 25 communities.
- Provided assistance to combat trafficking in persons (TIP) through support to trafficking victim shelters, legal assistance, media outreach, monitoring, and youth involvement. A public awareness campaign focused on the dangers of TIP, during which, a documentary on labor trafficking was developed and shown at 150 meetings and discussions for youth in six regions of Georgia. Through legal aid hotlines, 135 legal consultations were provided to trafficking victims and people looking for employment abroad. In addition, legal assistance was provided to TIP victims in 14 criminal cases. A new trafficking victims’ shelter was established in Tbilisi while support continued to the shelter in Batumi. The USG monitored and provided recommendations to the Government for the State Action Plan on Combating TIP Crime for the years 2007-2008. With USG assistance, Georgia maintained Tier 1 status in the State Department’s TIP Report ranking in 2008.
- Reduced proliferation threats through cooperative engagement of scientists, technicians, and engineers with WMD and applicable expertise through USG assistance to the US Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), and the Science and Technology Center in Ukraine (STCU).
Governing Justly and Democratically
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Trained judges, magistrates, prosecutors, law students, and private lawyers including the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) in ethics, domestic violence, anti-narcotics distribution, anti-money laundering, election crimes, jury trials, continuing legal education, and advocacy skills. USG partners improved the law school curriculum needed for accreditation and provided practical legal training for students to serve as a building block for qualified judiciary and legal professions.
- Provided legal counseling and information to citizens on their election rights, published an election law manual, and represented victims of domestic violence in court.
- Promoted local government reform and improved governance. For example, with the support of USG assistance, 57 of Georgia’s 65 municipalities now implement program budgeting, 50 now implement service improvement programs, and 32 now implement economic development planning. As a result of USG training, the revenues of 50 municipalities increased due to billing and communal service fee collection software was installed. The USG trained over 850 NGO representatives to build their capacity to monitor local government decision making and activity.
- Helped Georgia hold presidential elections which, though revealing significant challenges, were deemed to be in essence consistent with most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards. The OSCE concluded that Georgia's parliamentary elections were "uneven and incomplete" in their adherence to international standards. For both elections, USG assistance trained 4,200 election officials at all levels to build capacity and familiarity with new regulations and responsibilities following electoral code reforms, provided technical assistance to the Central Election Commission to increase transparency in reporting voter turnout and results. USG programs worked with nine newspapers to educate citizens about voting procedures, provided information to ethnic minorities in their native language, and supported get-out-the-vote efforts.
Investing in People
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Provided technical assistance to the GOG to expand the subsidized health services program for the poor to about 800,000 beneficiaries countrywide. Assistance included training in calculating premium rates, monitoring private insurance company performance, establishing a health insurance mediation service, and strengthening private insurance companies’ quality control systems.
- Increased the use of modern family planning in rural areas and among the urban poor. Activities included training of medical personnel, ongoing supportive supervision, donated contraceptives, and logistics support, post-partum and post-abortion family planning counseling, community education, and social marketing. An additional 85 government-owned primary health care facilities were added as family planning sites, bringing the total number of sites to 420. USG-promoted procedures were used in 60 percent of the country’s births which reduced newborn mortality and saved women’s lives.
- Trained 359 health care workers in Directly Observed Treatment, Short Course (DOTS), the essentials of TB control, the elements of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB management, and reporting and recording for MDR patients. The HIV/AIDS program increased voluntary counseling and testing services and established user-friendly, confidential services for high-risk groups at several service-providing sites. USG assistance programs positively impacted Georgia’s commitment and performance related to HIV/AIDS through technical assistance that complemented and supported the $23.6 million Global Fund for Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and Malaria (GFTAM) grants for HIV. Georgia was among the first countries to offer free antiretroviral treatment for those eligible.
- Provided HIV/AIDS counseling and testing services to the breakaway region of Abkhazia for the first ten months of the year, benefiting 2,575 persons. This work was critically important as the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Abkhazia is almost four times that of the rest of Georgia.
- Trained 122 physicians and nurses of the Emergency and Outpatient Departments of the Kipshidze Central University Hospital (KCUH) in emergency medicine, stroke, cardiology, and infection control and trauma management, thereby decreasing the burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries and reducing case fatality through better management of trauma and major chronic illnesses. During FY 2008, these two departments served 63,283 patients, and the quality of clinical care improved significantly through the establishment of an emergency medicine learning center. Trained KCUH staff demonstrated tremendous competence during the August Georgia-Russia conflict when more than 600 patients transferred to KCUH from the conflict affected regions.
- Supported leading regional educational resource centers to improve schools’ institutional development and strategic planning, build capacities in school management and finance, and refurbished sites in north-western Georgia. Approximately 295 personnel received training and they then trained members of 1,500 school boards. USG assistance strengthened the National Education Accreditation Center and trained 70 site-visitors responsible for evaluating universities for accreditation.
- Trained 225 social workers and provided services to over 1,400 at-risk children. Sixty community workers, teachers, coordinators, and priests were trained in drug abuse and warning signs which mainstreamed anti-drug messages through outreach efforts of social institutions. Five healthy lifestyle-promoting public service announcements on national TVs reached a target audience of 192,900 and drug abuse awareness brochures were distributed to 2,100 schools.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Helped the GOG streamline regulatory frameworks and improve operational procedures for tax and fiscal administration. Progress was made on increasing voluntary tax compliance and enhancing taxpayer services by expanding e-filing of tax returns. USG programs helped conform Georgia’s fiscal systems to international standards and simplified tax return forms and tax appeals procedures to reduce taxpayer compliance burdens. Tax revenues as a percentage of GDP grew from 22 percent in 2007 to 26 percent in 2008.
- Introduced a customs risk management system that reduced the average customs clearance time from two to three days to two hours. The cost of establishing private customs warehouses and the number of documents required for import and export were also significantly reduced.
- Provided technical assistance and grants to support the rehabilitation of small hydropower plants (SHPs). Two SHPs were completed, adding 1.75 MW electricity generation capacity to the system. Amendments to the Electricity Market Rules improved the policy environment for investment in Georgia’s hydropower. About 390 investors, entrepreneurs, bankers, policy-makers, teachers and SHP businesses were trained in SHP financing, and energy policy and regulatory practices.
- Supported agribusinesses to identify buyers in key export markets and facilitate export sales for a total value of $9 million. The USG helped establish two model agribusinesses, improved five fruit and vegetable varieties, helped one plant obtain certification, and linked buyers with small farmers. A total of 959 agricultural enterprises and 299 business associations and community based organizations were assisted, benefiting nearly 12,014 rural households.
- Helped the GOG make significant progress in improving Georgia’s business environment. Broad reforms underlie Georgia’s rise on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index over the past three years, moving Georgia from 112th to 15th. In FY 2008, USG programs developed property laws, construction, secured transactions, contract enforcement and corporate governance; streamlined business registration; and established a web-based collateral registry to increase access to credit. The USG also helped draft regulations to streamline the issuance of construction, financial services and land-use permits.
- Built institutional capacity of business support organizations that provide services to micro- and small-enterprises and promote a culture of entrepreneurship in Georgia. By providing consultations in taxation, accounting, business planning, registration, and access to credit, the USG improved operations and productivity of a total of 3,739 micro-enterprises.
In FY 2008, USG assistance:
- Provided aid to vulnerable populations in Georgia, including the elderly, orphaned children, and IDPs. With a budget of only $1.8 million, the DOS Humanitarian program leveraged significant contributions from partner NGOs, distributing donated medicine, food, and supplies with a total value of almost $45 million.
USG Responds to August Conflict – The immediate consequences of the Russian-Georgian conflict necessitated rapid delivery of emergency and life-saving supplies. Within 48 hours of the start of the conflict, USG assistance began to be disbursed; by the end of FY 2008, the USG had provided approximately $40 million in humanitarian assistance to the Georgian people via the DOS Humanitarian program, contributions to UN agencies, the Department of Defense, and USAID. As part of this coordinated effort, the USG delivered fourteen planeloads of cargo from the DOS Humanitarian program warehouse in Germany and supplied an additional $2.3 million for a “Humanitarian Air Bridge” operation during the first days of the conflict -- averting a humanitarian catastrophe. In addition to this direct assistance, the USG provided funding to the World Food Program to purchase emergency food commodities and contributed to the UN Flash Appeal, which supported UNICEF and UN Food and Agriculture Organization efforts to distribute emergency supplies and conduct agriculture and food security needs assessments.