At a glance
The OSCE-led Economic Rehabilitation Programme (ERP) for the zone of conflict and surrounding areas has been a unique initiative aiming to help pave the way for peaceful resolution of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.
Twenty-one donor states have been funding a large-scale programme which directly benefited all communities in the zone of conflict.
The first milestone in the process to develop the programme came in November 2005, when the Mission launched a major new initiative - a Needs Assessment Study, which yielded a list of urgent projects for socio-economic infrastructure in the zone of conflict and surrounding areas. The international community responded to this initiative by funding the study, and by pledging - at a specially convened conference in Brussels in June 2006 - some 8 million Euros for implementation of the projects the sides agreed upon.
When launching the Needs Assessment Study for the ERP, the sides of the conflict settlement process were unanimous in the opinion that implementation of projects for economic rehabilitation of the zone of conflict and adjacent areas is an effective mechanism for confidence-building and, ultimately, for the full-scale resolution of the conflict. It was also understood that economic rehabilitation had the possibility to create opportunities for developing regional trade and transit using the potential of the Trans-Caucasian Highway (TRANSCAM); improve the investment climate; and have an important impact on strengthening peace and security in the whole region.
Projects aimed at developing small businesses and agriculture, as well as improving infrastructure for water supply, schools and medical facilities.
All projects and the process of implementation were designed to benefit directly and bring together communities, and encourage the sides to make joint decisions on issues relating to the programme. Also taking part in the process were the donors and the OSCE Mission, the latter having managed all aspects of the programme.
Georgian and Ossetian contractors - winners of the tenders - worked on the projects, sometimes side by side. International as well as local experts contributed to the programme. Exchanges of both experience and study visits were an important part of the economic development and confidence-building process.
The projects were wide-ranging. They included practical and theoretical business trainings offering the opportunity for individuals from both communities to share experiences and benefit from expert input. Small grants were offered for small business and agriculture development.
Potable water supplies were improved after completion of projects to build local reservoirs, to collect and channel spring water, and to renovate existing systems. School children throughout the zone of conflict benefited from renovated facilities after the completion of projects which, like all other ERP projects, were agreed upon by the Steering Committee.
Between December 2006 and August 2008, the ERP successfully finalized a total of 34 projects and sub-projects.
In order to help create a more favourable context for peaceful resolution of the conflict, the Mission supported projects involving Ossetian and Georgian communities to promote human rights and to strengthen civil society.
Within the Mission's portfolio of activities to assist the development of the non-governmental sector in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, it created the Small Grants Programme to fund projects which entered the most successful bids. Since 2004, the programme aimed at increasing the ability of NGOs to effectively meet the needs of the local communities and had a positive impact on building the capacity of existing NGOs and the emergence of new ones.
The range of projects supported by the Small Grants Programme was diverse. It included projects on inter-community dialogue; improving education through universal approaches and sharing experiences; raising awareness of the concepts of democratic development; focusing on women's participation in civil society; inclusion for people with disabilities; and young people, especially the vulnerable.
Funding was given to NGO initiatives benefiting vulnerable groups, or young people. Some of those projects benefiting children and teenagers directly included:
Not only children benefited from the Small Grants Programme. Projects helped people including university students, the elderly, the disabled, and women's groups.
All grants were awarded after open invitations for applications. They were co-ordinated in the OSCE Tskhinvali field office and head office in Tbilisi, and were for a maximum of 2,500 Euros each.