SALW ProliferaTion and its Impact on Social and Political Life in Kvemo Kartli13.08.2012

Date: September 2004 
Title: SALW Proliferation and its Impact on Social and Political Life in Kvemo Kartli
Author(s): Tamara PataraiaGhia Nodia – ed. (CIPDD)
Project and donor: The policy paper is based on the findings of a study conducted in the Gardabani and Marneuli Districts by the CIPDD with support from GTZ 
Languages: EnglishGeorgian
Pages: 16 (English), 24 (Georgian) 

The policy paper is based on the findings of a study conducted in the Gardabani and Marneuli Districts from April through September 2004 by the CIPDD with support from GTZ. Bridge, a union of intercultural cooperation, acted in the study as CIPDD’s partner. 
The study was preceded by a research conducted by CIPDD in cooperation with the above partners and the Georgian Union of Azeri Women in the spring and summer of 2003. The goal of the research was more general then - to assess conflict potential in the Kvemo Kartli Region, in particular, in the Gardabani and Marneuli districts. The findings of the study, which used both qualitative and quantitative methods, revealed that there were no immediate preconditions for a serious armed conflict in the region. However, certain alarming signs manifested themselves. These included the ethnic Azeri population’s low level of awareness of social and political developments in Georgia and their low integration in these developments; lack of trust towards the state among the population in general, and, namely, displeasure with the land distribution and personnel policies; alienation of various ethnic groups which against the backdrop of the existence of a multitude of ethnicity-based criminal gangs serves as the grounds for occasional local tensions; high level of unemployment (most acutely manifesting itself amongst the youth); ineffective border controls leading to a high turnover of illicit arms. This is compounded by the unfavorable social and political situation, widespread poverty and the deterioration of social infrastructure throughout Georgia.

All the above factors are providing fertile soil for conflict, and may cause a more serious tension if other (political or economic) problems aggravate. Because of this, there is a need for the authorities to urgently address the problems in the region and take decisive steps. The international community and Georgian NGOs also need to make more effort. It is too early to say how the situation has changed in the region following the change of government in November 2003. General information allows us to say that the effectiveness of the government’s action has significantly increased in certain areas (such as combating crime, tightening border controls and eradicating or reducing smuggling). Despite this, the majority of the above mentioned problems still need to be dealt with.

One of the main issues of concern that the 2003 study revealed was the wide proliferation of arms in the region. Therefore, a further study of this specific issue was initiated. The goal of the new research project was to study the SALW related situation in the region, to identify major tasks for addressing the SALW problem and to develop specific recommendations for action. It is obvious from the outset that the problem is complex by its nature and addressing it will require efforts of various actors. Therefore, many of the recommendations given below are general and their enforcement will require more specific action plans. The goal of the paper is to present a general overview of tasks and activities required for achieving progress in addressing the SALW problem.

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