Parliamentary openness, commitments implemented as part of the Open Parliament Action Plan (AP) and new ideas for Georgia’s third AP were the focus of an information campaign carried out over the months of March and April in six cities of Georgia.
The campaign, led by the Parliament of Georgia with support from the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), encompassed meetings with over 300 participants representing the local government, civil society, academia, private sector, youth and media in Telavi, Rustavi, Marneuli, Alkhaltsikhe, Kutaisi and Tbilisi.
Key speakers included Irina PRUIDZE, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance; Giorgi KLDIASHVILI and Levan Avalishvili from the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI); Guguli MAGRADZE, Member of Parliament; Kakhaber KUCHAVA, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection & Natural Resources.
“Like previous years, we pledge to deliver the Open Parliament Action Plan that includes tangible and measurable commitmentsundertaken by the Parliament to implement innovative reforms for our citizens. In this regard, the information campaign held with support from the European Union was essential for ensuring that ideas brought up by citizens from the regions of Georgia were heard and taken into account,” – Irina PRUIDZE, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance.
Ideas gathered as a result of public consultations include: raising youth awareness on parliamentary work by means of various information campaigns; enhancing the dialogue between Parliament representatives and the private sector and media; amending the law on lobbyism and public private partnerships; establishing a council of innovations within the Parliament of Georgia, etc. Meeting participants stressed the importance of such meetings as an opportunity to learn more about legislative processes and share their ideas to make the Parliament more open for its citizens.
Giorgi KLDIASHVILI, IDFI’s Executive Director stressed the importance of dialogue between public and Members of Parliament for ensuring open governance and sustainable development of the country.
“Public engagement, dialogue between the government and parliament from one side and civil society from the other is the cornerstone of OGP. This is why consultation is so much important in the process of OGP Action Plan elaboration. An inclusive, participatory, and collaborative development process leads to more effective policies and laws as well as promotes more inclusive decision-making at all stages of governance.” – said Giorgi Kldiashvili.
Citizen ideas along with over 35 draft commitments prepared by the members of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and its Consultative Group were broadly discussed at the two-day meeting in Borjomi (April 13-24, 2018).
Tamar ZODELAVA, Parliamentary Project Manager at GIZ said that “Like other civil society organizations, GIZ has also proposed some important initiatives, including the creation of an information center for citizen involvement, and development of forms and culture of reporting on the implementation of sectoral strategies and action plans for oversight purposes, which will facilitate the adoption of a unified policy planning framework in the country.”
“Our ideas include: raising public awareness on the work and achievements of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance, by creating and implementing a communications strategy and action plan; creating a dictionary on terminology used for parliamentary work and publishing it on the Parliament website, which will be really helpful for citizens to better understand the laws and procedures; and making majoritarian MP meetings with the public mandatory,” – stated Nino TSUKHISHVILI, lawyer at the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA).
The Georgian Parliament fully implemented 13 and partially implemented 11 of the 24 total commitments included in the Open Parliament Action Plan 2017. More meetings of the Council and its Consultative Group are planned to finalize the draft 2018-2019 AP and present it at the 5th Annual OGP Global Summit taking place in July 17-19 in Tbilisi, Georgia.