On November 18th, 2015, Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016 was discussed at the building of Samtredia Municipality. Member of Georgian Parliament – Giorgi Kakhiani and representatives of Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) – Davit Maisuradze and Davit Uchadze attended the meeting. Participants of the discussion included representatives of Samtredia Municipality, as well as individuals employed at the spheres of education, culture and healthcare, representatives of media and NGOs. Specifically, Head of Samtredia Municipality with other representatives of Municipality, Directors of public schools of Samtredia were among the attendees. In addition to discussing an Open Parliament Action Plan, participants talked about civic engagement in the region and the dynamics of local self-government reform in the area of public information.
Davit Maisuradze discussed the Open Government Partnership initiative and the process of elaboration of the Action Plan. The Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan responds to four principal values of OGP, these challenges are: Citizen Engagement, Access on Information, Implementation of Innovations and Technologies, and Increasing Accountability of the Parliament to people.
Davit Maisuradze talked about cooperation of the Inter-Factional Group of the Parliament of Georgia and Open Parliament Working Group – reviewing cooperation between the representatives of non-governmental and international organizations and MPs of the Parliament of Georgia.
Worldwide acknowledgement of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016 was also highlighted at the meeting. Notably, conference of the Open Government Partnership’s Legislative Openness Working Group held on September 14-15th, 2015 in Tbilisi, Georgia and the Global OGP Mexico Summit 2015 held on October 27-29th, confirmed an international significance of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016. On October 27th, at the OGP Civil Society Day, Inter-Factional Group of the Parliament of Georgia was awarded with the OGP Champions’ Award due to an ideal co-creation practice between the parliament and civil society while elaborating the National Action Plan.
Member of the Parliament Giorgi Khakiani talked about commitments and responsibilities laid out in the Action Plan. In particular, he discussed “Allowing comment on draft legislation (electronically and/or in writing) ,” “Submitting Legislative Proposals and Initiatives Electronically to the Parliament of Georgia and Implementing its Support Mechanism through the Official Website of the Parliament of Georgia”, “Empowering Citizens to Engage in the Legislative Process”, “Establishing Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance” and other commitments. Giorgi Kakhiani mentioned that commitments set out in the Action Plan must be implemented in the years of 2015-2016. “Recently, the Parliament elaborated and adopted the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016, which considers engagement of citizens in parliamentary activities. The goal of the current meeting is to introduce citizens with this plan. Certainly, this topic will be covered by the media and information about the Action Plan will be widely disseminated. According to this Action Plan, Georgia is one of the successful countries. For us, more civic engagement and public awareness is important.” – claimed the MP.
At the meeting, Head of Samtredia Municipality – Koba Dzidziguri spoke about the dynamic of civic involvement and disclosure of public information after the local government reform. Director of Center of Information at the Samtredia Municipality – Sophio Kirtadze introduced attendees with the active mechanism for communication and citizen engagement at the Municipality. It was noted that an official web-page of Municipality – www.samtredia.com.ge – is a source from which the citizens can quickly and conveniently attain the information about the current processes of the Municipality.
The meeting at the Samtredia Municipality was held within the scopes of the project “Supporting Involvement of the Parliament of Georgia in Open Government Partnership”. Financed by the EU and the UNDP, the project is being implemented by the IDFI since 2014. The goal of the project is to ensure openness and transparency of the Parliament of Georgia and support civic engagement in the legislative processes.
It is the first time that the Open Parliament Action Plan Georgia 2015-2016 was discussed with the Municipality. IDFI plans to organize similar informational meetings in other regions of Georgia as well.