Georgia joined the global initiative of Open Government Partnership in September of 2011. Within almost three years Georgia managed to adopt and implement the first Action Plan (2012-13), participate in the OGP Steering Committee elections and adopt the second Action Plan (2014-15).
It is notable that the 2014-15 Action Plan was elaborated with the close cooperation of the government, NGOs and the civil society. The representatives of Government and NGOs had been cooperating through the national coordination mechanism – forum. With the aim of engaging the society in these processes, intensive public consultations had been conducted throughout Georgia. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) played significant role in elaborating the action plan. Regional consultations had been taking place in the (together with Public Centers) Civil Engagement Centers, supported by USAID. Consultations covered 15 towns of Georgia and more than 700 persons participated in it.
Considering that the first action plan had not been backed by normative acts and the national coordination mechanism did not exist, the government degree #775 of July 9, 2013 on “the Necessary Measures for Implementing the Open Government Partnership” obliged the Anti-Corruption Council to coordinate the issues connected to the Open Government Partnership.
The 2014-15 action plan was elaborated through 2 round table meetings, 4 forum meetings and 2 ad hoc meetings, as well as individual meetings and intensive consultations with the secretariat, responsible agencies and civil society; furthermore, Anti-Corruption Council meeting where the first draft of the action plan had been discussed.
The primary version of the 2014-15 Action Plan was presented to the OGP secretariat on May 2, 2014. Afterwards, NGOs presented the recommendations to the OGP Georgia secretariat. The final discussion of the recommendations and the Action Plan took place on the forum meeting on June 6, 2014. The Forum meeting discussed the OGP secretariat remarks and comments on the primary version of the action plan, together with the recommendations. The final version of the Action Plan was elaborated on the very same meeting.
Four out of sic recommendations of the NGOs had been put in the Action Plan: creating the citizen portal ichange.ge, improving the legislation on the surveillance/proactive transparency, improving the accessibility of the statistical data from Ministry of Internal Affairs and transparency of archives (the idea of NGOs covered the creation of e-archives, providing transparency and creating e-catalogue; all these three categories are used as separate commitments in the action plan).
Creating the e-participation platform had been considered in the first Action Plan, but due to some reasons, government was unable to implement this commitment. Considering the huge importance of this platform in civic engagement, this initiative was put under the second action plan. Government of Georgia is responsible for implementing this commitment. The three-level engagement concept had been elaborated by IDFI. On the initial stage, government agreed to implement the first stage only – e-petitions to the government. ichange.ge will be launched on Spring of 2015.
Considering the problems that Georgia nowadays faces in regards of surveillance, NGOs included the committeemen of improving the legislation on surveillance and proactive transparency in their recommendations. The Supreme Court of Georgia is the responsible agency for implementing this commitment through proactively disclosing the court statistics on surveillance. As according to the article 7 of the law on operative-investigative activities, surveillance of telephone conversations is only eligible through the order of the judge, the court is able to obtain and proactively disclose the statistics. After September 2014 the Supreme Court of Georgia will be disclosing the quarterly and after 2015 – annual statistics.
The next commitment is connected to the creating the safe environment challenge. Simultaneously, this commitment will support the accessibility of information and proactive disclosure. MIA will provide the disclosure of crime statistics and creation of the online crime map.
As for the fourth commitment, it considers the issue of transparency of state-managed archives. This commitment was divided in three separate commitments; in particular, creating the e-archive system, transparency of national archive and creating the e-catalogue of documents preserved at the archive of the MIA. Due to the uniqueness of the materials kept in the archive and their importance in studying the history, NGOs recommend to open them for researchers and stakeholders. Furthermore, documents must be digitalized and be accessible in a digital form. LELP National Archive of Georgia, LEPL Data Exchange Agency, Ministry of Justice of Georgia and the Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are responsible for implementing this commitment.
OGP Georgia 2014-15 Action Plan encompasses 26 commitments and 16 responsible agencies. The commitments meet the 4 challenges of OGP: public service, increase of public participation, improved management of public resources and creating safe environment.