United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) started to implement the new project.
The project aims to carry out the parliamentary openness in Georgia within the “Open Government Partnership”.
The Project is being conducted with the partnership of the Parliament of Georgia within the European Union (EU) funded program “Strengthening the System of Parliamentary Democracy in Georgia”.
In 2012, Georgia among 65 OGP member countries was scored among the highest (15 out of 16 maximum) on budget transparency, access to information and asset disclosure. Nonetheless, Georgia received one of the lowest scores on citizen engagement, which highlights the need to strengthen its capacity to communicate with citizens and civil society.
In the beginning “Open Government Partnership” targeted the involvement, accountability, transparency and effectiveness of the member state’s governments. The involvement of the legislative branches became more and more important and necessary. Hence, Legislative Openness Working Group (LOWG) was created within the OGP.
Parliament, as a representative of the legislative branch of the democratic government, provides citizens with links to the policy-making process and controls the activities of the executive branch. Therefore, parliamentary openness is directly connected with the aims of the “Open Government Partnership”.
Commitments to advance parliamentary openness should demonstrate the openness and accountability of the Parliament and a respect for citizens’ right for participation in parliamentary activities.
Despite the advocacy of the civil society organization in Georgia, commitment of the Parliament of Georgia was not included in the National Action Plan 2014-2015, namely supporting the civic engagement in legislative processes through establishing citizens’ petitions system and a tool to enable citizens to comment on draft laws.
The United Nations Development Programs (UNDP) in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), within the project funded by European Union (EU), plans to actively collaborate with the Parliament of Georgia on increasing the Parliamentary Openness and Transparency and the citizens engagement in the legislative process. For achieving this aim, the project ensures drafting the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan, starting the implementation process of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan and raising the awareness of the Parliament of Georgia on the OGP and the Legislative Openness.
For the effective cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia, the project provides creating the Open Parliament Georgia Working Group which will be comprised of the Members of Parliament (MPs) and the representatives of the non-governmental and international organizations.
According to the Order of the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia (that was signed on the 12th of February, 2015) the Inter-Factional Group is created comprising of 11 MPs for ensuring the involvement of the Parliament of Georgia in OGP and for establishing the Open Parliament Principle. This Order will support the involvement of MPs in the Open Parliament Georgia Working Group. The Inter-Factional Group is chaired by MP Tinatin Khidasheli.
The named Order provides that the Inter-Factional Group should present before the Parliament the Open Georgia Parliament Action Plan. According to the Order the Inter-Factional Group will cooperate with the representatives of the civil society and non-governmental organizations.
The first meeting of the Inter-Factional Group is planned to be held in the beginning of April and the memorandum will be signed between the members of the Inter-Factional Group and the representatives of the civil society and non-governmental organizations to ensure the future cooperation within the scopes of the Open Parliament Georgia Working Group.