On August 2, 2017, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) organized a meeting of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and its Consultative Group. The aim of the meeting was to define and approve new dates for implementation of commitments under the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018.
IDFI also presented draft amendments to the Order of the Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia on Standards for Proactive Disclosure and Electronical Request of the Public Information that was elaborated in cooperation with the representatitves of civil society and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Parliament of Georgia, including:
– Irina Pruidze – Chairperson of the Council
– Eka Beselia – Chairperson of the Legal Issues Committee of the Parliament
– Kakhaber Kutchava – Chairperson of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament
Representatives of civil society and international organizations were also presented at the meeting:
– United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
– Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
– GIZ Georgia
– Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
– Transparency International Georgia (TI)
Definition of new implementation dates for commitments under the Open Parliament Georgia 2017-2018 Action plan was requested by theOpen Government Partnership (OGP) and aims to include the parliamentary openness related commitments in the National Action Plan of Georgia and monitor and oversee activities carried out by the Government of Georgia within the scope of OGP.
According to Irina Pruidze, in order to make the Parliament of Georgia an integral part of Open Government, it is necessary to unify the Parliamentary Openness Action Plan with the National Action Plan of Georgia. She also stated that since implementation dates of various commitments do not correspond with the implementation dates of commitments defined by the National Action Plan, it is important to divide the Open Parliament Action Plan so that part of the commitments are due to be implemented in 2017, and the rest in 2018.
Parties present at the meeting unanimously agreed to start the elaboration of the Open Parliament Georgia 2018-2019 Action Plan. This Action Plan shall include commitments taken from the Action Plan 2017-2018, as well as new commitments that will be jointly elaborated by the Council and its Consultative Group.
The following commitments shall be implemented in 2018:
– Elaboration and testing of the petition system, as well as launch of the platform;
– Elaboration of electronic signature mechanism for the legislative initiatives on the website of the Parliament;
– Adaption of the rules and procedure for public consultation in legislative processes;
– Launch of feedback mechanism for comments left by citizens on draft laws available on the website of the Parliament;
– Piloting of the system for provision of people with disabilities with the services offered by the Parliament;
– Raising of public awareness about OGP;
– Review and adoption of the Civil Society Organizations Development Concept;
– Preparation and publication of the information on the annual parliamentary activities on the website of the Parliament;
– Visualization of amendments made to the initial version of draft laws and their publication on the website of the Parliament;
– Elaboration of the self-assessment tool of the Parliament and adoption of the relevant changes to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament;
– Implementation of the self-assessment tool of the Parliament;
– Technical elaboration of the concept on electronic submission and monitoring of December 10 Reports and provision of its availability on the website of the Parliament;
– Improvement of the voting results portal on the website of the Parliament;
– Elaboration of the updated structure of the website of the Parliament;
– Elaboration of new template of the website of the Parliament;
– Elaboration of unified system for management of the website of the Parliament.
Draft amendment to the Order of the Parliament Chairperson elaborated by IDFI aims to ensure implementation of Commitment 2.1 (“Expanding the list of public information proactively disclosed on the Parliamentary website”) and Commitment 2.4 (“Timely Disclosure of information related to Review of Reports and Committee Hearings of Individuals Elected by the Parliament, Preparation and Disclosure of Relevant Video Protocol on the Parliamentary Website”) of the Open Parliament Action Plan 2017-2018. Parties presented at the meeting reviewed the draft amendment and agreed to improve its content within the scope of parliamentary working groups.
In order to implement the commitments defined by the Open Parliament 2017-2018 Action Plan, working groups consisting of MPs and CSOs have been established. These working groups work towards elaborating relevant draft laws that are necessary for successful implementation of the commitments. For example, according to Irina Pruidze, the Code of Ethics working group had already held a number of meetings and elaborated the final draft of the Code that shall be presented to the Parliament in September 2017.
Parties presented at the meeting unanimously voted for the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia to become the member of the Consultative Group. According to Ekaterine Popkhadze, Parliamentary Secretary of the Public Defender’s Office, the Office will actively participate in elaboration and implementation of the Action Plan and will ensure establishment of Parlimentary openness and OGP principles in Georgia.
The meeting was held within the project “Strengthening the System of Parliamentary Democracy in Georgia” that is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in cooperation with IDFI.