November 17th, 2013, marked the inauguration of the new President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, who was elected as a result of peaceful, democratic elections on October 27th, 2013. The day was also marked by a large number of statements released from various foreign leaders, who congratulated Giorgi Margvelashvili. Among these was Barack Obama, the president of the United States, who in his statement talked about the significant progress Georgia has undergone in the recent years. Among the achievements he listed the participation of Georgia in the Open Government Partnership (OGP): “Georgia is making significant progress in consolidating democratic institutions, including through its commitments under the Open Government Partnership and its promotion of women’s participation in public life, and is moving forward on the path to fulfilling its Euro-Atlantic aspirations”.
OGP was initiated by Barack Obama himself, when in his 23rd September 2010 address to the United Nations General Assembly he called for “specific commitments to promote transparency” and invited other government leaders to join him in his effort to increase the level of openness of democratic governments, fight corruption and increase civil engagement. In the statement, Obama calls on the political leaders of Georgia to continue working with the civil society to build on the previous achievements and further develop transparency, accountability and openness.
The civil society of Georgia has indeed been very actively involved in the processes related to Open Government Partnership. IDFI, with the support of the Good Governance in Georgia (G-3) program of United States International Development Agency (USAID), has collaborated with other CSOs and the Ministry of Justice in creating and revising the action plan, developing recommendations and helping the government implement then, which led Georgia to the success it has shown within the OGP initiative.
The best illustration of Georgia’s success was the fact that the recently adopted legislation for proactive disclosure of public information was shortlisted in the OGP annual summit in London, UK, held on October 31-November 1, for the Bright Spots Prize among six other countries. Giorgi Kldiashvili, the Director of IDFI, presented the project during the summit and talked about the success of Georgia so far within the frameworks of the international initiative.
To read the full statement by President Obama, follow the link.