Slovak diplomat: Georgia belongs to the European family
May 8, 2023 News

Slovak diplomat: Georgia belongs to the European family

Within the framework of the SlovakAid-funded environmental initiative, last week Caritas Czech Republic and Slovak NGO Sosna handed over an assenization vehicle to the Oni Municipality that will help them to set up the wastewater management infrastructure and manage water quality and resources. Following the handover ceremony, we had a chance to sit down with Zuzana Palošova, Development Diplomat of the Slovak Embassy in Georgia who shared her impressions about the results of our joint development cooperation activities.


Georgia is among the priority countries for the Slovak state to support. How do you see the ongoing partnership between the two countries?


Georgia is our priority country since 2009 and in 2019 it became a program country which is the highest level of development cooperation. There are only three program countries – Kenia, Moldova, and Georgia. Our partnership is deepening, and the good thing is that we could find specific areas where we can cooperate with Georgia, and where we can put our resources. Those fields are mostly waste- and water management, capacity-building of public institutions, and eco-tourism. So, we are trying to focus our resources and efforts on these three areas.


Why is environmental protection in particular so much important for Slovakia to support in Georgia?

There are lots of reasons for that. One of them which is the most important is that Georgia has a unique nature that must be protected somehow. The second reason is climate change, the most reasonable topic nowadays in the world to work on in any country – protecting nature everywhere is our common interest. And if there are countries and regions which cannot protect nature themselves, they must be supported by someone by all means. That is related either to capacity-building or to the needed financial resources. The atmosphere does not know the border and as such, it must be everyone’s goal to save it, we must put all our efforts to save our planet. Even when we cannot increase the quality of air, we can maintain the current conditions at least.


Today you participated in the handover ceremony of the assanization vehicle and had a chance to personally see the provided assistance as well as how Caritas Czech Republic works on the spot. What is your impression, how would you assess the results of our cooperation here, in the Racha-Lechkhumi Kvemo Svaneti region?

We are happy that we have found such a valuable and very handy partner such as Sosna, the very old and experienced Slovak NGO and we are very lucky to find you, Caritas Czech Republic in Georgia. Both of you are respected organizations with distinguished work results. The cooperation between these two parties, the project, and their implementation has very good results. But I think that the most important reason for having such good results is that the projects themselves are initiated here, in Georgia. Local partners from Oni municipality tell us what they need as they have good knowledge but just need a little bit of help from someone. I think the projects should be created like this, the ideas should come from beneficiaries who are in need. Because when we are carrying out the projects initiated from the other side, from the Slovak side, for example, without the intervention of the Georgian partner, usually it is just sort of guessing what the problem is and what can be the solution to it and as such, the results are not effective and well targeted. So, I am very proud and thankful to see such good results from our cooperation here, in Racha.


work results of you and us, as a donor and implementer or beneficiary. I would like to ask you about the potential of deepening the partnerships between Slovakia and Georgia in the future. How do you see the way for that?

When I arrived in Georgia three and a half years ago, I knew that we have some very good relationships with the Georgian side, but honestly, I could not see the real depth of those relationships. Now I can say that we know each other better, our cooperation is more targeted, more effective and we just know what we can expect from each other. This is good cooperation! But in the near future, we do wish to see Georgia as a country that does not need us as a development partner, we would like to have Georgia as a partner with whom we just share information and the results of joint work but the country which does not need our support anymore. And we will grow together, side by side.

Would you like to add anything?

Sure. I would like to say that Georgia is very close to Europe and its culture. Our values are the same and Georgia belongs to the European family. Slovakia was one of the last countries to join the European Union and the joining process was long and hard for us. But we just did that – it was not easy but now we are a member state of the EU and life is much better, safe and we do have more possibilities. So, we wish to have you there – yes, we are similar, but you are still different, and all we only can learn from each other’s differences.

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