Challenges of the everyday
Evolving community security trends in Shida Kartli
Challenges of the Everyday is the third survey of community perceptions of security in Shida Kartli, a region adjacent to the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) with South Ossetia / Tskhinvali Region which was at the centre of hostilities during the August 2008 conflict. The survey, based on quantitative and qualitative data gathered by the Caucasus Research Resource Centres (CRRC) in December 2011, provides locally-informed insights on the factors that undermine the security and livelihoods of these conflict-affected communities and examines locally-appropriate ways of responding to the causes of insecurity. The report compares research conducted in December 2010-January 2011 and July-August 201, allowing changes in perceptions over time to be tracked and analysed.
The research shows that, four years after the conflict, communities perceive greater stability and physical security, and a gradual return to normality in many aspects of their lives. Security incidents are ever more infrequent, and those that do occur tend to be less violent in nature. However, socio-economic issues are becoming more urgent and critical. Continuing efforts to ‘patrol’ and ‘protect’ the ill-defined ABL have an increasingly profound impact on communities whose livelihoods depend on traditional sources of resources such as water and firewood. These resources have become more scarce as the ABL ‘hardens’ and international humanitarian assistance ends, leading to increased competition for them and undermining the sustainability of the communities themselves. According to many survey respondents, if these socio-economic challenges are not addressed, they could lead to deterioration of the security situation and may become triggers for increased tension or violence.
The report demonstrates the need for a comprehensive or ‘holistic’ approach to economic and human security issues in the region which involves a wide range of local, regional and international actors who see economic security as essential to physical security and are willing to work together with communities to address their needs. If these needs are not addressed in a timely manner, there is the danger that scarce resources will lead to not only to worsening living conditions for the local communities, but also resolution of the problems themselves will become more difficult and lead to increased tensions and greater insecurity.
“More people believed increased tensions may be caused by socio-economic problems, rather than security incidents.”Challenges of the Everyday: Evolving community security trends in Shida Kartli