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Italy’s support to an OSCE water management project in Georgia

Italy has financially supported an OSCE project for the construction of a water infrastructure for the supply and distribution of drinking water in the Georgian village of Tsitsagiaantkari, in the Shida Kartli region, near the Administrative Demarcation Line (ABL) with South Ossetia.

The rehabilitation of the drinking water system in the village of Tsitsagiaantkari is one of the water management projects promoted by the OSCE in the area, with the aim of building confidence among the conflict-affected communities and promoting post-conflict economic rehabilitation.

The project, which began during the Italian Presidency in 2018, was implemented by the OSCE’s Centre for Conflict Prevention – CPC, in cooperation with the Municipality of Gori and Zrda, as part of a broader USAID initiative to support the economic development of conflict-affected areas.

Due to the 2008 conflict, water sources and distribution networks are located on opposite sides of the ABL and are poorly maintained. The majority of Tsitsagiaantkari villagers therefore had no access to drinking water and had to travel to neighbouring villages to stock up on it. The OSCE project funded by Italy enabled 343 village residents (144 families) to have access to drinking water directly in their homes, with clear benefits both in terms of improved living conditions and local economic development opportunities.

The construction of the water infrastructure in Tsitsagiaantkari took place between July 2020 and April 2021 and was inaugurated on 14 June 2021 by the Secretary General of the OSCE, Helga Maria Schmid. The ceremony was also attended by the Ambassador of Italy in Tblisi, Enrico Valvo, US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan, Georgian Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Tea Akhvlediani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Mzia Giorgobiani, State Representative in Shida Kartli Valerian Mchedlidzee, Mayor of the Municipality of Gori Konstantine Tavzarashvili and representatives of the local population.

In March 2022, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office for the South Caucasus, Viorel Moșanu, and the CPC official responsible for the South Caucasus, Siegfried Wöber, carried out a final monitoring mission of the project to confirm the proper functioning of the infrastructure.

Access to water resources by people affected by the conflict is a priority element of the Geneva International Talks, which bring together all stakeholders and are jointly chaired by the OSCE, the European Union and the United Nations. It is also a regular topic at the meetings of the Mechanism for the Prevention and Management of Incidents in Ergneti, chaired by the OSCE and the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM).