Proactive Disclosure in Georgia – A Bright Spot for OGP

The Open Government Partnership annual summit was held on 31 October-1 November in London, UK, gathering more than 1000 representatives from the member countries of the initiative: members of the governments, representatives of the CSOs and businesses, to share and discuss their experiences, progress, ambitions and plans towards more transparent, open and accountable governments.

The Civil Society of Georgia was represented by Giorgi Kldiashvili, the Director of Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), so was one of the speakers during the summit and talked about Georgia’s recently adopted legislation of proactive disclosure of public information. As mentioned in his presentation, such legislation may not be new for many of the developed countries, but Georgia, with its legacy of secrecy that came with the Soviet Union, has opened up and made efforts towards greater transparency and accountability only in recently. For Georgia, compared to the situation before, this was already a very huge step forward. Proactive disclosure of public information has been the most important development for Georgia in the last few years in terms of freedom of information and transparency.

This is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that this project of the Government of Georgia, developed largely in cooperation with the civil society, was one of the seven projects of the member countries shortlisted for the Bright Spots prize. The OGP Bright Spots Competition was created to identify examples of real people finding creative ways to open up governments to solve real problems, and to show how governments in Open Government Partnership countries are working with citizens for open governance, to harness new technologies to increase public participation, and increase government accountability.

After Giorgi Kldiashvili, along with the six other presenters for the Bright Spots Competition, spoke about the main achievement of their respective countries within the frameworks of OGP, the general public was invited to vote for the winner. The Bright Spots prize went to Philippines, but the fact that the legislation of proactive publishing of Georgia was recognized as one of the bright spots and a story likely to inspire others to follow its example is already a big achievement for a small country that only recently has opened up after decades of secrecy and lack of transparency and accountability.

The Initiative of Georgia for Open Government Partnership in 2014

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At the conclusion of the Open Government Partnership annual summit in London, UK, thirty-seven members of the international initiative revealed the plans for the further development of transparency, accountability and openness in their respective countries. The new initiatives cover a wide range of topics: new open data legislation, government integrity, fiscal transparency, management of natural resources and empowering the citizens.

Georgia was one of the thirty-seven countries that stated their plans for Open Government Partnership in the following years. On October 8th, 2013, Tea Tsulukiani, the Minister of Justice of Georgia, was asked by Francis Maude, the Minister of the Cabinet Office, UK, to send a short summary of the planned announcement at the end of the summit. In the summary, the main focus was the further development of public information legislation and electronic requests for public information, which was an important part of the 2012-2013 action plan of Georgia but, regrettably, could not be implemented in time. Continue reading