OGP Georgia Action Plan for 2014-2015 – Completed and Unfulfilled Commitments

Georgia has recently started working on its third Open Government Action Plan, while it has yet to complete the main commitments of the second one. The study presents the reasons why second Action Plan commitments were not met, possible consequences and recommendations to be considered in the future.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international initiative that was launched in 2011 and currently includes 69 states. OGP member states develop annual action plans and voluntarily take on commitments to promote open government principles of transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and technology and innovation. Georgia joined the OGP in 2011. The action plan development process is coordinated by the Open Government Georgia Forum (Forum), which unites representatives of government, international and non-governmental organizations, and is co-chaired by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

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Discussion of Commitments Under the Open Parliament Georgian Action Plan

The Consultative Group of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance held a workshop on April 11. The group presented and discussed the amendments to the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure required for fulfilling the commitments of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan.
The opening speakers were:
1. Sophie Huet-Guerriche – program manager of the EU Delegation to Georgia; 
2. Gigi Bregadze – head of the Democratic Governance Team at UNDP Tbilisi Office; 
3. Levan Avalishvili – board chairman of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).
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Letter of IDFI to Prime Minister of Georgia

29 March, 2016
Prime Minister of Georgia
Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili

Dear Prime Minister,

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the efforts of the Georgian government and you personally in promoting the development of open governance, accountability, transparency, and citizen participation.

It is apparent to us that open governance and effective public administration are a priority for the Georgian government. This is recognized not only domestically, but also at the international level by a number of important indices and rankings. However, it is also apparent that more effort and political will is required to implement the necessary reforms.

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Another Monthly Meeting of OGG Forum Discussed Oversight Mechanism of the National Action Plan Implementation

10176139_756493341097456_9099372480840238715_nOpen Government Georgia’s Forum was held on November 7 at the Ministry of Justice of Georgia.

The head of the analitycal department of Ministry of Justice of Georgia and co-chairman of the Forum Ms. Mikhelidze suggested to the Forum members a new mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Action Plan.

OGP receives information about implementation process quarterly. A special chart was developed, which should be filled by the Forum members who are responsible for implementing the commitments and indicate that commitment has been fully implemented or not. The report will be attached with rates from Civil Society representatives and the Secretariat. Despite filling the chart, the agencies are responsible for reporting information about progress of implementation of the commitment. It was decided that there will be 4 speakers from 16 government agencies responsible in the framework of the Action Plan reporting the progress at the forum meetings.

In addition to progress monitoring report, the agencies which are responsible for commitments of the action plan, will present a report in secretariat. The report will be sent to Forum for assessment. As a result, the Secretariat will prepare implementation report and will submit it to the Anti-Corruption Council and OGP’s secretariat.

Despite progress monitoring mechanism, the representative from Ministry of Internal Affairs spoke about the progress report related to commitments of the Ministry. According to the report, new crime-mapping system will be created from January, 2015.

At the end of the forum, Co-Chairmen of the Forum and director of IDFI, Giorgi Kldiashvili, presented auditing of the progress of commitments which should be implemented by the end of 2014. According to him, there are only two obligations which have already been implemented -the Supreme Court published a surveillance statistics and the State Audit Office started publishing financial reports of political parties in machine readable format.

Giorgi Kldiashvili also talked about public awareness campaign on OGP that was supported by the USAID Good Governance in Georgia (G-3) Program and implemented by IDFI.

The Number of Motions on Secret Surveillance Has Decreased

The Supreme Court of Georgia has fulfilled the obligations taken under Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan 2014-15 and has proactively published on its official website unprecedented statistics on surveillance. According to the published data, the Court of First Instance has already examined 952 motions related to telephone surveillance in 9 month period (January – September, 2014) and 819 of them were satisfied.

The above-mentioned information is published on the website of Supreme Court of Georgia and is available in the category of Statistical Data (9 months of 2014), sub-category of “Data about Securing Measures”. Unfortunately, this information is not detailed and statistical data does not show which public institutions made these motions in the Supreme Court (Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Investigation Service of Ministry of Finance). There is also no indication whether the motions concerned on telephone surveillance or the given statistics also includes other methods of surveillance (e.g. removing and fixation of the information from telecommunications channel or computer system).

Institute for Development of Freedom of information (IDFI) is continuously observing the process of openness and access to this information. We have published a number of studies on the statistics of telephone surveillance:

E.g. see: Statistical data about Openness of Surveillance Information – IDFI Experience
See also: Statistical Information on the Surveillance Conducted by the Prosecutors Office

Thus, based on the information received by IDFI as well as that published by The Supreme Court we can conclude that in 2014, as compared to previous years, the number of motions made to courts on secret surveillance has significantly decreased.

For instance, only in case of Tbilisi Prosecutor’s Office Tbilisi City Court received 1795 motions on telephone surveillance in 2011, 5951 – in 2012 and 1400 motions in the first 5 months of 2013. However, Tbilisi City Court received only 952 motions from all the investigative entities during 9 months in 2014. The statistics also reveal that the percentage of granted motions has decreased, while 99.86% of motions were granted in 2011, the courts satisfied only 86.03% of the motions in 2014.

IDFI welcomes fulfillment of the obligation taken by the Supreme Court of Georgia in the framework of OGP action plan 2014-15. This statistics give citizens an opportunity to monitor decrease and increase dynamics of surveillance, as well as number of motions satisfied by the court. Openness of this information will promote improving watchdog mechanisms, and will contribute to establishing standards of transparency and open governance in our country.

Here we would like to give further recommendations to the Supreme Court of Georgia and call to publishing more detailed information about surveillance. In particular:

• The data should be published according to the applicant public institutions;
• The data about surveillance via other telecommunication channels should be published;
• The data should be published quarterly and by months;
• The data should be given according to the courts;
• The data should be published in a more easy to access for ordinary users, apart from information on securing measures.