CSO SUSTAINABILITY: 4.2
Georgia experienced both major triumphs and challenges in 2012. Parliamentary elections in October 2012 resulted in the first peaceful transfer of power in the history of democratic Georgia. Although it was too early to determine the new government’s attitude towards civil society before 2012 drew to a close, the new political reality and thriving political competition during the campaign period seemed to give Georgian CSOs more opportunities to engage in national discourse and advocate for their core issues. Local CSOs also received substantial media exposure, improving public image and recognition.
Georgia continues to face major economic challenges. Forecasted GDP growth for 2012 is 6.1 percent, down sharply from 12.3 percent before the war in 2008. According to 2011 data, Georgians continue to struggle with an unemployment rate of over 15 percent and low average monthly wages of just 636 Georgian lari (about $400).
CSOs remain largely donor-driven, threatening their financial sustainability. Local legislation does not provide sufficient incentives to encourage local philanthropy, and a highly competitive labor market makes it difficult for CSOs to retain the qualified labor they need to develop effective strategies to market their services. In addition, as the new government took office in October 2012, it recruited civil society professionals to fill vacancies, further destabilizing the sector.
On May 17, a small group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists marched on Tbilisi’s central avenue for the first time, ending in a scuffle with an Orthodox Christian group. CSOs condemned the incident and criticized the police both for their negligence in preventing violence and their decision to detain the LGBT activists to secure their safety. The police, however, provided effective security for an impromptu procession the next day against violence and homophobia.
A total of 17,217 CSOs were registered in 2012, but only a small portion of these organizations are operational.
Last updated: July 11, 2013