Donbass SOS. Coordinator, Alexander Gorbatko, took part in a discussion on the relevance of Georgian experience in tackling internally displaced persons (IDPs) issue and tax reform for Ukraine. The event was held by the World Politics Institute and the Caucasian House on 27 January.
Georgian expert on IDPs, Julia Kharashvili, elaborated on the challenges Georgia had faced at the time:
1. With the first wave of displaced people, we immediately identified four priority areas of assistance: legal, social, economic and resettlement.
2. The Committee for displaced people was established. It was joined by all Ministries’ representatives, public activists, international organizations and donors. Subsequently, the Committee grew into a Ministry.
3. The strategy was elaborated in close cooperation with international organizations.
4. The Committee participated in legislative initiatives, fundraising and was working with the civil society.
5. New housing for IDPs was built not far from the conflict line.
6. Allocation of a plot of land for agriculture and handing over the housing ownership rights to resettles became positive factors.
7. In Georgia, 729 places of compact settlement were created. Every settlement had an assigned coordinator, who during the day collected the following information: number of settlers, their needs and expectations. Every evening coordinators sent data to the Committee, which would update its data base and present the latest statistics to donors in the morning. Thus, donors knew about the actual needs.
8. The Ministry’s legislative initiative included bills, which equalized rights of IDPs, living in compact settlements and those who lived separately; developed employment mechanism for IDPs and others.
9. The creation of thematic expert commissions to address ad hoc problems proved its efficiency. Experts on certain issues gather to see a problem in details, discuss a mechanism for its solution, identify source of financing and executors of the agreed steps.
10. Telephone hotline, public reception and psychological assistance were launched by the Ministry.
11. World Bank, European Union and USAID became main projects’ donors.
On a separate note, it should be noted that all IDPs in Georgia experienced psychological shock. Each of them suffered its own way. Until now it seriously affects their health. A large percentage suffer from chronic diseases, cardiovascular and oncology. Sometimes, even recovery from cold takes longer than usual.
Photos from event you can see here: http://iwp.org.ua/eng/public/1374.html