On February 12, 2015 Biological Farming Association ELKANA conducted internal workshop - Eastern Partnership Civil Society Georgian National Platform (EaP CSF GNP) as a tool for enhancing the advocacy activities of the EU funded project - „Improving regional Food Security through national strategies and small holders’ production in the South Caucasus”.
Besides ELKANA project team Ms. Mariam Jorjadze, ELKANA director, Elene Shatberashvili, Head of Projects Division, Benoit Trudel, Oxfam GB Regional Food Security Programme Manager and Ms. Nino Edilashvili, Oxfam GB Food Security Program Officer were also present at the meeting. The meeting was attended by the coordinators of WG2 of EaP Civil Society Forum National Platform: Ms. Nino Elizbarashvili (Association "Women in Business" (GAWB)) and Mr. Oleg Shatberashvili (Association “European Studies for Innovative Development of Georgia (ESIDG)”) as well.
The purpose of the meeting was to conduct discussion how to effectively use Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform, as a tool under the auspices and support of the European Commission uniting more than 140 organizations, for the mainstreaming of food security problems of Georgia addressed by the EU funded project - „Improving regional Food Security through national strategies and small holders’ production in the South Caucasus” and render the GAARD decisions on the international level.
The meeting was opened by ELKANA director, Mariam Jorjadze. Information about the Eastern Partnership Initiative and EaP CSF Georgian National Platform presented by ELKANA advocacy officer, Manana Tsulaia. The short overview of the FS project activities was made by Dani Tabukashvili, FS project ELKANA manager.
Following the presentations the discussion how to effectively use the EaP CSF National Platform opportunities for mainstreaming project activities, was held.
Discussion touched the following opportunities provided by the Platform:
· Recommendations / initiatives developed in the frame of the project can be discussed and mainstreamed though Working Group 2: Economic integration and convergence with EU policies, as well as its Sub-Group on Agriculture. It is possible to integrate food security related problematic in the action plan/agenda of the groups. Besides this, some of documents based on their importance, may be of interest not only for one particular group, but also for whole Platform. Therefore, consideration of such type of documents at the Platform level is very important.
According to Mariam Jorjadze, it would be important to organize a joint working meeting with participation of the EaP CSF NP WG2 and GAARD members on food security problems. The working meeting could issue an appeal to the relevant authorities and general public in the name of the Platform (the theme of the working meeting could be for e.g. emerging agricultural action plan document). It is also possible to prepare/disseminate the policy papers - the opportunity offered by the Platform.
· GNP Platform, as a European integration civil mechanism, cooperates with Governmental bodies in a dialogue mode. In some cases, the Government refers to the National Platform for recommendations. For example, the Ministry of European Integration appealed to the platform with request (in the Ministry established an Advisory Board which is mainly compiled by the platform members) to provide recommendations to Georgia -EU Action Plan, which are currently developed. Thus, FS project recommendations amendments on Georgia – EU Action Plan could be elaborated and submitted to the Ministry of European Integration though GNP as well.
· There are questions to which the Platform draws attention of the European institutions. That should be an important public policy issues, for example food security 80 -20% indicators is a public policy matter.
Mr. Oleg Shatberashvili noted that the European institutions attach great importance to the EaP countries civil society opinion on such policy issues. The Cabinets of High Representative/Vice President Federica MogheriniI and Commissioner Johannes Hahn (European Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations) consider absolutely necessary to build the future prospects of the European Neighborhood Policy in conjunction with feedbacks from the civil society.
The meeting agreed to continue discussions on how to build the FS project and the EaP NP Platform relations on a nearest WG2 meeting, at where drawing up of the working group Action Plan for this year is envisaged.