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UNDP research reveals sobering economic statics in Georgia

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, March 26
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented research assessing Economic and Social Vulnerability in Georgia 2012, referring to well-being, structural poverty, access to goods and resources on March 22. A wide range of national and international experts worked on the research and the National Statistics Office of Georgia provided the necessary statistical information. The research sample exceeds 4, 000 households across Georgia.

“The research examines the sources of most prevalent vulnerabilities in Georgia and compares the status of disadvantaged groups with the average situation in the country. It reveals that over 70 per cent of Georgians are vulnerable in one way or another, and calls for diverse policy measures to respond to their needs."

The report paper states from the very beginning that, “despite the impressive economic growth in recent years, a substantial part of Georgia’s population is still living in poverty.” The UNDP studied different groups of people and concluded that some groups of the population are particularly “disadvantaged regarding access to assets and basic services, and have fewer opportunities to engage socially and politically.”

According to the report Georgia currently has 258, 595 IDPs and 129, 599 persons with disabilities. 10% of the population lives on the edge of extreme poverty and live 45% below the poverty line. The UNDP research reveals that 70% of the population is economically and socially vulnerable, which does not mean that all these people live in poverty today. However, in case they appear in poverty or their financial or social conditions become worse in anyway, individuals will not be able to handle the situation. Also, the majority of the population does not have stable income and 61% are unable to save money.

IDPs represent one of the most vulnerable groups. Inadequate housing conditions and a high level of unemployment remain the major problems for IDPS. Around 60% of IDPs do not own any property, land, livestock or a house. The absolute majority of people living high up in the mountains does not have access to water resources and live in unhealthy sanitary conditions.

The research also shows the existing troublesome situation with healthcare. Around 45% of families in Georgia have at least one member suffering from chronic illness.

The overall social situation in the country can be assessed as troublesome, requiring urgent steps to be taken in order to improve the living condition of the citizens. “The Government of Georgia has recognized that more needs to be done in order for reforms to improve the lives of all sectors of the population and that greater care should be provided to those in need.” The UNDP expect the authorities to consider the results of the research while identifying social priorities and establishing the new social policy in the country.