On May 16, 2017, the Parliament of Georgia approved the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018. The Action Plan consists of 25 Commitments that aim to increase accountability and transparency of parliamentary activities and ensure citizen participation in lawmaking processes.
The Commitments were collectively elaborated by the representatives of:
– Parliament of Georgia
– Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
– Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
– Transparency International Georgia (TIG)
– United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
– National Democratic Institute (NDI)
– Civil Society Institute (CSI)
– GIZ Georgia
– JumpStart Georgia
– USAID Good Governance Initiative (GGI)
All of the Commitments included in the Action Plan derive from the fundamental principles of Open Government Partnership (OGP): 1. citizen involvement, 2. accessibility to information, 3. accountability and transparency, and 4. technologies and innovations.
The Commitments are also in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a topic explored in detail in a study prepared by IDFI.
The following Commitments of the Action Plan are worth highlighting:
- Commitment 1.1. – Elaboration of an Electronic Petition System – implementation of this Commitment will significantly increase citizen participation in lawmaking processes and ensure their trust towards legislative authorities. The Parliament also plans to improve procedures of review of electronic petitions in accordance with best international standards.
- Commitment 2.3. – Proactive Disclosure of Information on Activities Carried out by Majoritarian MPs – not all information about majoritarian MPs is available on the Parliament website– http://www.parliament.ge, e.g. addresses of regional MP offices. The main objective of this Commitment is to proactively disclose information on activities carried out by MPs and make it easier for voters to contact and organize meetings with them.
- Commitment 2.5. – Elaboration and Proactive Disclosure of Action Plans by Parliamentary Committees – Each year, during the spring session of Parliament, Committees will be obligated to elaborate and publish one or two year actions plans. As a result, all stakeholders will have timely information on planned legislative processes.
- Commitment 4.2. – Elaboration of a Monitoring System of Public Information Reports (also known as “December 10 Reports”) – Each year, the Parliament of Georgia receives public information reports from public entities, however, the Georgian legislation does not determine any particular procedure for submitting these reports, which has become a formality. The Commitment is aimed atintroducing a review procedure and effective response mechanisms related to public information reports through the Rules of Procedures of the Parliament of Georgia.
- Commitment 4.6. – Supervision/Monitoring of Activities Carried out by the Government of Georgia within the Framework of OGP – As of today, the Parliament of Georgia does not supervise/monitor activities carried out by the Government of Georgia within the framework of OGP. The Commitment aims to strengthen the supervision/monitoring function of the Parliament and improve coordination between different branches of the Government.
Elaboration and adoption of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018 is a result of meetings and long negotiations between the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and its Consultative Group. Various opinion polls and public consultations were also held during the elaboration process. For example, on April 19, 2017, IDFI used Facebook to organize an opinion poll in relation to the newly elaborated commitments. Participants had the opportunity to choose issues of most interest to them. The results of the poll can be viewed here.
The whole process of elaboration of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018 (including public consultations, polls and meetings) was carried within the scope of the Project titled Strengthening the System of Parliamentary Democracy in Georgia, which is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).
In order to elaborate the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018, three meetings were held:
Members of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and its Consultative Group were actively involved in the meetings.
A working group consisting of MPs and CSOs will also be created in the near future, in order to implement the Commitments of the action plan.
The Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018 is the second action plan that was elabotated within the framework of OGP in Georgia. The first Open Parliament Action Plan of Georgia was adopted on July 17, 2015 and included 18 Commitments.