Quizzing Georgia’s Youth on Parliamentary Democracy

Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Zviad Dzidziguri; Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia, Louisa Vinton; and Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Carlo Natale, presented awards to the winners of “What? Where? When?” — a quiz designed to test young people’s knowledge about the Parliament and its role in Georgian democracy. 

The winner of the game became the team of youth from Tbilisi State University, while the second and the third places were taken by the Tbilisi Medical University (II) and Tbilisi Free University (III).  

The quiz was part of a broader program aimed at raising awareness about Georgia’s Parliament and encouraging citizens to take an active part in the legislative process. Over 100 students from 18 Georgian universities tested their knowledge about the Georgian Parliament and parliaments other countries, including less-known historical facts and information about prominent parliamentarians.

The quiz was modelled on the popular trivia game “What? Where? When?” and was hosted by Giorgi Mosidze, a Member of Parliament and the President of the “What? Where? When?” Club in Georgia.

Irina Pruidze, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance, and Giorgi Kldiashvili, Executive Director of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), addressed the participants of the quiz with welcome remarks.

 The event was organized by the Parliament of Georgia, with the support of the European Union (EU) and UNDP in cooperation with IDFI.

“Youth involvement and awareness about the current legislative processes in the country is necessary. As part of the Open Parliament initiative, a number of new instruments and e-services were created by the Parliament of Georgia with the support from donors as well as local and international organizations, which will enable citizens to take an active part in parliamentary work. “- Giorgi Kldiashvili, Executive Director of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) pointed out in his welcome speech with the youth.

“Democracy is stronger if all voices in society are heard,” said Louisa Vinton, UNDP Head in Georgia.

“We’re confident that getting young people interested in parliamentary work will attract more talent and energy to the democratic process and give them a vehicle to realize their ambition to make the world a better place.”

Carlo Natale, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, stressed that citizen, especially youth, participation is vital for achieving a fully-fledged parliamentary democracy.

“The European Union greatly supports Georgia in reforming parliament and pays special attention to the increased participation of youth in the parliamentary work,” Carlo Natale said.

The “What? Where? When? about Parliament” quiz is part of a larger campaign “Parliamentary Day at Universities,” initiated and organized by the Parliament of Georgia with the support of the EU, UNDP and IDFI. The campaign is built around a series of discussions in over 15 educational institutions throughout Georgia covering the role and functions of the Parliament and Georgia’s achievements on the path to legislative openness.

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Parliamentary Openness Under Georgian Media Spotlight

Over 22 journalists from leading Georgian media organizations met with members of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance and its Consultative Group on March 16, 2019 to learn more about the openness related achievements of the Parliament of Georgia.

The meeting was organized by the Parliament of Georgia with support from the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

At the meeting, which was the first of its kind to bring together journalists and members of the Council and Working Group, Irina PRUIDZE, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance broadly informed the journalists about the role and the functions of the Council as an effective mechanism for ensuring parliamentary openness, elaborating the Open Parliament Action Planswithin the scope of Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGP) and monitoring their implementation process.

“Years ago, Georgia made an ambitious statement when itbecame one of the first countries in the world adopting the open governance on the Parliamentary level. As the result of implementing Open Parliament Action Plans, the respective legislative basis has been created and technological mechanisms introduced to foster greater transparency and citizen engagement in legislative processes as well as to make parliament more accountable to public. All these reforms would be impossible without excellent cooperation between the Parliament and Civil Society.”- noted Irina PRUIDZE, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance.

“Media is an invaluable tool for governments to examine their work and discover key areas for improvement. Media, together with civil society organizations, facilitate the dissemination and exchange of information between the government and the public, which ultimately is a necessary prerequisite for establishing informed societies and fully functional democracies.” – said Giorgi KLDIASHVILI, Executive Director of IDFI.

Open Parliament is part of Georgia’s efforts under the Open Government Partnership (OGP), international platform that unites more than 70 countries to help their governments become more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since 2015,the Parliament of Georgia has approved three Action Plans: 2015-2016, 2017 and 2018-2019.

The first two Action Plans consisted of 34 commitments in total, of which 15 were fully implemented and 14 were partially implemented. The current plan is composed of five ambitious commitments, including those related to strengthening effectiveness and transparency of the Parliament by introducing innovative technologies, and raising public awareness about parliamentary democracy in Georgia.

The Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance and its Consultative Group are Discussing 2018-2019 Open Parliament Action Plan & Parliament’s Strategy on SDGs

Open Parliament and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were the focus of a three-day discussion on 14-15 March 2019 organised by the Georgia’s Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance and its Consultative Group with the assistance from the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

Chairs of the parliamentary committees, representatives of civil society and international organizations have reviewed the implementation of the 2018-2019 Open Parliament Action Plan and discussed the development of the Georgian Parliament’s Strategy on SDGs.

“The Parliament of Georgia has achieved significant progress in 2018 making its operation more open, transparent, inclusive and accountable,” – said Irina Pruidze, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance. “The third Open Parliament Action Plan, which covers 2018 and 2019, is the result of the wide public consultations and is shaping our further commitments – to design the new tools for citizen engagement and increase the Parliament’s role in achieving Georgia’s national Sustainable Development Goals.”

The overview of the Parliament’s progress in implementing its Open Parliament Action Plan 2018-2019 was followed by the discussion on the Parliament’s SDG strategy and action plan developed with the support from the Government of Sweden and UNDP. The group discussions, facilitated by Rusudan Tushuri, SDG Consultant at the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, focused on the key priorities and actions of the Parliament of Georgia aiming to foster the effective implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in the areas of law-making, oversight, budgetary processes and public outreach.

Meri Makharashvili, Communications Manager at IDFI, presented the Communication Strategy & Action Plan of the Parliamentary Council on Open Governance and the Social Media Communication Concept of the Parliament of Georgia, prepared with the support from the European Union and UNDP as part of the Open Parliament Action Plan.

The three-day discussion concluded on March 16th, with a workshop for the journalists which brought together representatives of twenty-two print, broadcasting and online media outlets from all over Georgia. The Council members informed the journalists about the country’s progress on the path to open governance and answered their questions about the achievements and remaining challenges.

Meeting with Private Sector Representatives

Members of the Working Group on Strengthening Efficiency and Transparency and Promoting Innovative Technologies under the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance met with private sector representatives. The purpose of the meeting was to receive feedback from and deepen cooperation with the private sector. The meeting was organized with support from the EUvand UNDP Georgia, in cooperation with IDFI.

The meeting was opened by Irina Pruidze, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance. Pruidze spoke about Georgia’s achievements in terms of legislative openness and the future plans of the Parliament of Georgia in this regard. She also highlighted the commitments under the Open Parliament Action Plan for 2018-2019, which aim to institutionalize the involvement of the private sector in parliamentary processes.

“The goal of our working group is to support the openness of the Parliament through dialogue with the private sector and to create formats for better communication with the private sector and its involvement in parliamentary processes and decision-making”, – Irina Pruidze.

“Much of the legislation adopted by the Parliament effects the private sector; because of this, based on the initiative of the American Chamber of Commerce, private sector related commitments were included in the open parliamentary action plan”, – Tamar Chugoshvili, First Deputy Chairperson of Parliament and Head of the Working Group on Strengthening Efficiency and Transparency and Promoting Innovative Technologies.

“The 3rd Open Parliament Action Plan includes a commitment to create a registry of stakeholders to be published on the Parliament website in order to ensure their involvement in legislative processes. This meeting is a good opportunity to build cooperation that will enable you to have more information and us to take your opinions into consideration”, – Tamar Chugoshvili. Another commitment in the action plan envisions creating a registry of lobbyist organizations that will be published on the Parliament website.

Meeting participants had a chance to offered their feedback. Members of the Permanent Council on Open Governance and private sector representatives agreed that cooperation would continue and that similar meetings will be held in the future as well.

Council and its Consultative Group Members Discussed Implementation of the Commitments under the 3rd OPAP

Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance and its Advisory Group discussed the implementation of the commitments under the third Open Parliament Action Plan. The meeting was held with support from the European Union (EU) and UNDP Georgia in cooperation with IDFI.

Participants were welcomed by Irina Pruidze – Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance, Sophie Huet-Guerriche – Governance Sector Coordinator at the EU Delegation to Georgia, Gigi Bregadze – UNDP Democratic Governance Team Leader, and Giorgi Kldiashvili – IDFI’s Executive Director.

“We actively started implementation of the new action plan. We have set up 4 working groups, which have already undertaken their activities. Today, we discussed two strategic documents that IDFI developed: draft Communication Strategy & Action Plan of the Council as well as the draft Social Media Communication Concept of the Parliament of Georgia”, – Irina Pruidze noted.

Chair of the Legal Issues Committee Eka Beselia spoke about the activities of the Working Group on creation of the Civic Engagement Center in the Parliament of Georgia.

“Creation of the Civic Engagement Center is an important reform and a new conceptual vision that can make the Parliament more attractive for citizens”, – Eka Beselia stated. According to Beselia, the Center tasked with an complex task and it needs to meet new challenges and satisfy new standards. Eka Beselia also spoke about the problems that were identified through the analysis of existing practice, and presented planned solutions.

Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance & its Consultative Group members also discussed the draft Communication Strategy & Action Plan of the Council as well as the draft Social Media Communication Concept of the Parliament of Georgia presented by IDFI’s Communications Manager Meri Makharashvili.

Implementation of the strategy documents prepared by IDFI with the support from European Union in Georgia & UNDP Georgia should increase civic participation in legislative activities, promote new technologies & innovative approaches of the Parliament to ensure parliamentary openness, as well as increase public awareness about utilizing these technologies.

The elaboration of both documents was part of the 2018-2019 Open Parliament Action Plan [5.1. & 5.4] to be implemented in 2019-2020.

See photos of the event here.