Relevance of the Project
During the period of project implementation the project environment changed in the following way:
1.Mediation nowadays is becoming more actual and fast-developing issue in all partner countries on the national level.
2.System of education is also undergoing changes, either legislative, structural in all partner countries.
These changes transformed project goals into the following:
1 To develop and implement Master's degree program "Mediation" – for Ukraine and Azerbaijan, Module in Mediation – for Georgia.
In accordance with the Georgian legislation along with the accreditation requirements, a separate master’s program in mediation cannot be completed in Georgia as the qualification of the mediator is not recognized by the national qualification framework. Therefore, ISU and BSU teams are working on creating a mediation module.
2. Establishing of the sustainable Mediation Federation is eligible for Ukraine; Georgia and Azerbaijan will cooperate with newly established governmental Mediation Structures.
Given that, at the beginning of the project there was no legal framework regarding mediation in Georgia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan, the project original proposal envisaged the establishment of a Mediation Federation as an NGO. However, in Georgia it is actually redundant since the Ministry of Justice of Georgia with the assistance of international experts drafted the law of Georgia on Mediation which was later endorsed by the Government and it finally enacted on September 19, 2019. Law on Mediation envisages the establishment of Association of Mediators of Georgia as a membership-based legal person of public law. It officially registered on 14th of December, 2019. The Association is vested the power of enacting the statute of the federation, approval of certificate program for mediators, common ethical standards and rules of disciplinary proceedings against mediators, planning and implementing the trainings and educational programs. The association will also keep a register of mediators.
Based on legislative changes, ISU and BSU will help the newly established Association and contribute to its development instead of creating a new MF. For this purpose, within the MEDIATS project, ISU and BSU teams were actively involved in negotiations with the Mediators Association. It should be noted that the interest in developing and promoting the mediation institute is bilateral. ISU and BSU already started formal cooperation with Mediation Association of Georgia.
On June 17, 2020 Irakli Porchkhidze, Dean of the School of Law, represented Ilia State University and Irakli Kandashvili, Chairman of the Georgian Mediators' Association signed the memorandum.
The aim of the memorandum is to cooperate in current matters in the field of common interests of the parties, implement joint activities, projects, and initiatives for the development and promotion of the Institute of Mediation.
On 23 July BSU also signed memorandum of understanding with Georgian Association of Mediators. The signatories of the memorandum are Irakli Kandashvili, Chairman of the Georgian Mediators Association and Merab Khalvashi, Rector of BSU. The purpose of the memorandum is to cooperate on topical issues in the field of common interests of the parties, to implement joint events, projects and initiatives for the development and popularization of the institution of mediation. In the future, it is planned to establish BSU as the main mediation center in the Adjara region in the format of cooperation.
After the project started, there has been a positive development in Azerbaijan in terms of the application of mediation. In March 2019, the Parliament passed a Law on Mediation as part of the Strategic Road Map approved by the President which regulates and promotes mediation activities.
According to current legislation, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the responsible body to prepare the proposal on establishing a Mediation Council and submit it to the President. Currently, the Cabinet of Ministers is working on the proposal and the final proposal is yet to be completed. Mediation will be applied to disputes regarding/arising from civil law and economic cases (including with foreign elements), family relationships, labor relationships, and administrative law relationships. The law also specifies that mediation organizations will be created and trainings will be provided in order to have specialized mediators. With that in mind, we can say that there will be a need in the labor market and current project and its objectives are very relevant in case of Azerbaijan.
Mediation Federation created by the Government and successful partnership has been established between the Federation and both GSU and Khazar Universities.
3. To promote mediation values within the society in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine – the goal remains the same.
In comparison to the original proposal, the relevance of the project has only increased, the project fully complies with the national context of the countries involved, the fundamental needs of societies in the development of mediation as alternative way of dispute resolution, contributes to the development of a culture and values of mediation, including the need for an effective, fast and accessible mechanism to resolve existing and future conflicts.
Moreover due to development of the mediation processes on the state level, the profession of mediator is becoming more popular and in demand, that is favourable to the project, as it will be one of preconditions for enrollment of students to Program in Mediation and as a result will contribute to sustainability of the project.
Constraints of the project:
1. Due to the delay of the project financing all project activities are implemented with the delay. The new project timeline was prepared. The consortium plans to apply for project extension for 6 months, though National Erasmus Offices and EACEA expressed hope that the project activities will be implemented during 3 years without extension.
2.At the partner countries national currency undergoes fluctuations, in Ukraine UAH became stable for 9 month, that results in 15% of loss of Ukrainian HEIs amount spent at that period of time.
3.Due to the COVID 19/Coronavirus global pandemic, already has and may have more negative influence on the project, either in the postponing of the project activities or economic effects (currency drop, change in salaries of staff). Some of project activities are postponed, some will be organized online.
4. Legislative constraints on the national level, described above, that changed the project trajectory.
Added Value, Impact
Added value and impact for the countries involved include the following:
1) Activation of changes and capacity building of HEIs through the development of new mediation training programs and implementation of European experience - widening access to new knowledge;
2) Increasing qualification of academic staff through comprehensive training programmes from European partners;
3) Expansion of mediation initiatives and formation the group of experts and stakeholders;
4) Increasing public awareness of the possibility of faster and more effective conflict resolution (through project presentations and seminars for the target groups and other stakeholders);
5) The formation of stable communication network in the sphere of mediation has also started;
6) Almost all partner HEIs signed the Mobility Agreement for KA 107 with the EU HEIs;
7) Mediation Association of Georgia is about to sign the Memorandum of Cooperation with Mediation Association of Netherlands;
8) All partner HEIs will join International Mediation Association, the issue is now under discussion.
At the university level, the impact and added value of the project are as follows:
1) Representatives of the academic community of the University have significantly improved their mediation skills, acquired hands-on experience of
conducting mediation(s) during trainings with the participation of European partners had the opportunity to gain knowledge about the development of mediation as a form of ADR as well as mediation associations in different countries - in the future this will provide preparation of highly qualified mediation specialists;
2) Expanding the experience of international cooperation in the field of education;
3) Teachers and academic staff of the University have gained experience in preparing a Master's program in mediation that meets European requirements, academic staff now is able to work in this field as well as to pass this knowledge/skills to students and other groups;
4) The University has the opportunity to become a hub for the training of qualified mediators in the region;
5)Another value is linked with the engagement of main stakeholders – e.g. high-level representatives of the community (Mediators Association, UNDP), governmental institutions, NGOs, which helps us to increase visibility, dissemination and sustainability.
Added value on the international level, beyond the project borders:
1.Coordinator (NLBA) is active in promotion of the program, the master en the development in the countries by performances on international Mediation conferences in:
Minsk (March 30th 2018)
Skopje (April 17th 2019)
Astana (August 28th 2020)
Odessa (September 20th 2020)
Lithuania (September 24th 2020)
2.Coordinator (NLBA) managed to have a connected project in promotion of mediation and the Master in Mediation In North Macedonia in cooperation with the courts and the Chamber of Mediators. This project is paid by the Dutch government (€ 150,000).
3.Coordinator (NLBA) is already spreading the results by involving other universities. Until now the following universities want to join in:
Language University Baku (Azerbaijan)
Skopje Economic University (North Macedonia)
Lev Gumilev and Karaganda State (Kazakhstan)
We started connecting the Federations of Mediators in several countries:
MOU of Dutch Mediation Federation and Georgian association
MOU of Dutch Mediation federation and Chamber of mediators North Macedonia