Moving beyond insecurity

A survey of community security in Shida Kartli

The Shida Kartli region sits on the administrative boundary line (ABL) with South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region. It was at the centre of hostilities during the August 2008 war. Three years on from the violence, all indicators point to increased stability in the conflict-affected communities along the ABL.

As such, there is no greater opportunity to test ways of increasing mutually-beneficial contact and interaction across the ABL; and for the parties to the conflicts to develop processes for consultation between affected communities and security providers on security issues. Such processes would provide information on security issues and clearer ‘rules of the game’ for communities living along the ABL, on issues from maintaining water sources to trading across the ABL. They would also entail greater opportunity for affected communities to raise issues of concern to them in relevant formats, not least the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism

There is a danger that if processes for consultation on security issues are not established, the lives of affected communities could become more difficult over the coming year. Indeed, while security incidents have become less frequent, competition over the ABL and its status is becoming more of an issue. That is, attempts to ‘patrol’ and ‘protect’ the ill-defined boundary line are having an ever greater impact on communities whose livelihoods involve movement and working in this ‘grey zone’. At the same time, without such processes, it will be harder to address reoccurring seasonal issues, such as access to irrigation water in the summer and firewood in the winter.

To inform thinking on such processes, this report summarises research conducted in December 2010/January 2011 regarding the needs of communities living along the ABL according to four different research areas. The results from this study are further compared with a previous study conducted in July/August 2010, allowing us to track changes in community perspectives.