UN system representatives discuss the Immediate Housing Needs of the IDPs in Georgia amid COVID-19 Pandemic with the Government of Georgia

Date: Thursday, February 18, 2021

The participants of the meeting discuss the immediate housing needs of the IDPs in Georgia amid COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: UN Women
The participants of the meeting discuss the immediate housing needs of the IDPs in Georgia amid COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: UN Women

Each year UN Women, in cooperation with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and UN system representatives, organizes the Open Day on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) in Georgia.

The 2020 Open Day on WPS, convened virtually, served as a platform for exchange between UN system representatives and women’s civil society organizations, internally displaced and conflict-affected women focusing on the key problems and challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Key issues raised were the poor conditions in IDP collective centers and the immediate housing challenges for those who continue to live in critically sub-standard accommodation, increasing the risks of contracting COVID-19. IDPs also lack access to primary health care and other basic services; have limited to no access to the Internet and mobile connection; and are experiencing a worse socio-economic situation in light of the pandemic.

On February 18, 2021, UN Women - in cooperation with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) - organized a follow up meeting with the representatives of the Ministry of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia and the LEPL on IDPs, Eco-migrants and Livelihood Agency as a follow up to the 2020 Open Day recommendations raised by women. The meeting enabled a frank discussion on the current state of housing for the IDPs, achievements and remaining gaps and challenges, including funding gaps and opportunities where UN system and development partners can assist the Government of Georgia to provide housing solutions for IDPs in the collective centers with the worst conditions.

UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Sabine Machl opened the meeting by noting that “today’s meeting serves the purpose of opening dialogue on the immediate housing needs of the IDP population and beginning to search for solutions to move IDPs from the collapsing collective centers.”

Mr. Besarion Simonishvili, the Director of the LEPL on IDPs, Eco-migrants and Livelihood Agency, noted that although the Government of Georgia has striven to provide housing solution for all IDPs, and managed to close 36 collapsing collective centers in 2020, still “it will not be possible to close all the collective centers in the short period of time without the support of the international partners and donors.”

As a result of the meeting, participants agreed to continue their work within the framework of the joint coordination group of development partners under the Ministry, where the information will be shared, and respective interventions will be coordinated for the purpose of responding to the immediate needs of the IDPs in Georgia.

This event was organized within the framework of the UN Women project “Accelerating Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Georgia”, generously funded by the UK Government, the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.