Mr. Kakha Kaladze, President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia and Mayor of Tbilisi initiated to mark the 20th anniversary of Georgia’s membership in the Council of Europe, the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe and the 25th anniversary of the Congress with the ceremony.
A joint event organized by the Congress and the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) brought together representatives of Georgian central and local authorities, Congress and the international organizations. The ceremony took place in Tbilisi City Municipal Assembly.
Mr. Kakha Kaladze, Mr. Giorgi Tkemaladze and Ms. Tamar Taliashvili, Vice-Presidents of NALAG thanked the delegation of the congress for the support of Georgia and talked about the role of the Council of Europe in the development of local self-government.
“It is particularly noteworthy that the Congress, as the youngest institution in the Council of Europe, and Georgia as a young democracy, are an example of successful cooperation. This is reflected in support of Georgia for the successful decentralization reform process, the improvement of the legislative framework and the strengthening of local democracy.” – stated Mr. Kakha Kaladze and noted that many successful examples of development of local democracy will be created at the new stage of close partnership.
“Congress monitoring missions, evaluations and recommendations are very important to us. All recent missions point to significant improvements in local government empowerment, and our efforts are focused on ensuring that recommendations of the congress will be maximally incorporated into further local government reforms, "- noted Mr. Giorgi Tkemaladze.
Ms. Tamar Taliashvili spoke about the cooperation between the Council of Europe and Georgia, as well as the role of NALAG, she noted that the joint platform is fitted to the interests of citizens and focused on strengthening European values.
“Our country has been a full member of the Council of Europe for 20 years. It is also worth noting that Georgia will become a chairman of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers from November. It's a huge responsibility and recognition that Georgia has successfully implemented reforms. Georgia will use this platform as much as possible to support the development of our country." – stated Ms. Tamar Taliashvili.
Mr. Xavier Cadoret, Congress Vice-President and President of the Chamber of Local Authorities, Mr. Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General, wished Georgians luck on the forthcoming Georgian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.
Mr. Xavier Cadoret also emphasized the issue of Georgia's territorial integrity, noting that the Council of Europe would actively support Georgia's territorial integrity in the issue of strengthening democracy.
Ms. Maya Tskitishvili, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Ms. Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Mr. Zaza Gabunia, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Regional Policy and Self-Government, Mr. Vahag Muradian, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, Mr. Bryony Rudkin, Congress Spokesperson, Ms. Nino Kavtaradze – Member of the Executive Board of NALAG, Deputy Head of Kutaisi City Council and Ms. Lela Akiashvili, Head of UNDP Gender Projects also addressed the ceremony.
During the ceremony took place a conference entitled “The Role of the Council of Europe’s Local and Regional Congress on the Promotion of Local Democracy in Georgia” which focused on equal participation in strengthening local democracy.
The mayors of 4 Georgian municipalities – Rustavi, Kutaisi, Ozurgeti and Lagodekhi signed the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, according to which local governments are taking responsibility to take measures and cooperate to improve equality within their jurisdiction.
Mr. Kakha Kaladze, President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia and Mayor of Tbilisi invited a five-member delegation to visit Tbilisi.
The delegation held the meetings with the representatives of The National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia, Ministry of Regional Development and infrastructure of Georgia, Parliament's Committee on Regional Policy and Self-Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the City Hall. Participants discussed the agenda of the relations between the Council of Europe and Georgia, talked about the success achieved by the cooperation between Council of Europe and Georgia, decentralization strategy document, the reforms undertaken to strengthen self-government and more participation of women in this process.
During the meetings participants also discussed the forthcoming Georgian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers and future plans of cooperation.