Parliament of Georgia Finalizes its Third Open Parliament Action Plan

The Parliament of Georgia has finalized the elaboration of its commitments for the 2018-2019 Open Parliament Action Plan, which include: supporting the implementation and monitoring of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, increasing accountability before the citizens, developing deeper awareness of the public on parliamentary democracy, and strengthening its oversight of the transparency of Government activities.  

On 7 June, seven commitments for the third Open Parliament Action Plan (2018-2019) were discussed by the members of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance and its Consultative Group. The event was supported by the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

Participants were welcomed by Irina Pruidze – Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open Governance, Sophie Huet-Guerriche – Governance Sector coordinator at the EU Delegation to Georgia, Gigi Bregadze –UNDP Democratic Governance Team Leader, and Giorgi Kldiashvili – IDFI’s Executive Director.

“Similar to the previous Action Plans, the third document is the result of a co-creation and participatory process involving Members of Parliament, local government, civil society, academia, and youth representatives. The new plan consists of seven ambitious commitments, each employing a large number of tasks that the Parliament has to accomplish in the course of the next two years. As usual, the key focus is laid on making the Georgian Parliament more open and accountability to its citizens,” – said Irina Pruidze.

Governance Sector coordinator  at the EU Delegation to Georgia Sophie Huet-Guerriche reiterated the support of the European Union to the Parliament of Georgia in its efforts to exercise its representative role and become more open to citizens.

“Engagement of citizens in policy and legislative making is crucial in democratic societies. Greater openness of the legislative process enables citizens to engage more effectively in policymaking by providing access to information about the laws under consideration, as well as opportunities to influence legislative agenda” – stated Sophie Huet-Guerriche.

Ideas and suggestions for the Open Parliament Action Plan 2018-2019 were collected during the public consultations in eight cities of Georgia – Telavi, Rustavi, Marneuli, Akhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Batumi and Tbilisi – held throughout March-April 2018. The new Action Plan also includes commitments initiated by local municipalities, private sector and youth (through the contest – Your Idea for Open Parliament).

Public consultations as well as today’s workshop is organized by the Parliament with assistance from the EU, UNDP and IDFI.

Advertisements

Georgian Youth for Parliamentary Openness in Georgia

Winners of the Youth Contest – Your Idea for Open Parliament have been revealed. Ideas submitted by Rusudan Mgeladze, Kalenike Uridia and Shalva Dekanozishvili were approved by the Permanent Council on Open and Transparent Governance and will be reviewed during elaboration process of the third Open Parliament Action Plan for the years of 2018-2019.

Ideas submitted by Rusudan Mgeladze and Kalenike Uridia are related to submission of electronic petitions and aim to increase citizen involvement in legislative processes by means of technologies and innovation.

 “I thought a lot about what would be important and result oriented for our society. Since we live in a technology age, I decided to concentrate on issues related thereto. My idea is to add a comment section, as well as public poll and voting function to the online application of the Parliament of Georgia.” – says Kalenike Uridia, 11th grade student at Public School #31.

“Generally speaking, plebiscite is a widely approved method and I think that it is a unique opportunity for our society to learn more about, as well as express opinions on draft laws.” – says Rusudan Mgeladze, second year student studying Public Administration and Politics at Grigol Robakidze University.

Improvement of the mobile application of the Parliament of Georgia is an idea of the third winner of the Contest, Shalva Dekanozishvili, who is in his fourth year of the Faculty of Law at Tbilisi State University. He believes that “it would be great if an alert function was added to the mobile application – GeoParliament. Furthermore, taking into account the needs of minorities living in Georgia, information presented in the application should be available in several languages.”

“I think that by means of the application, citizens should have an opportunity to contact their majority deputies presented in the Legislative Entity. For this purpose, the application should be provided with a “create your account” function and users should be sorted by their legal address.” – says Shalva Dekanozishvili.

“Open Government is crucial for a democratic state; it provides society’s maximum participation in the governance system of the country. For this reason, I believe that involvement of youth (as one of the most important parts of our society) in development of Open Government is of great importance. This Contest enabled youth to think and share their ideas on what the Parliament of Georgia needs in order to become more open for the society.” – says Levan Avalishvili, Programs Director at IDFI.

The winners of the Contest have already presented their ideas to the Permanent Council on Open and Transparent Governance and its Consultative Group. Moreover, authors of the ideas will be able to attend the Open Government Partnership Global Summit that will be held on 17-19 of July in Tbilisi and will gather more than 3000 representatives from 70 states.

Youth Contest – Your Idea for the Open Parliament was held by the Parliament of Georgia, with the support from the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI). It aimed to raise youth awareness and present ideas elaborated and selected for the Open Parliament Georgia 2018-2019 Action Plan.

Promoting Citizen Involvement in Parliamentary Openness: Information Campaign for Elaborating the 2018-2019 Action Plan has Ended

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.

 

 

Parliament of Georgia and Private Sector Discussed Commitments for Parliamentary Openness in Georgia

60 representatives of business companies met members of the Georgian Parliament on 2 April 2018 to discuss how legislative openness affects business environment and offer some practical suggestions for Georgia’s third, 2018-2019 Open Parliament Action Plan. The meeting was organized by the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance with the support from the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

Georgia has achieved significant progress over the past few years in opening up the parliamentary work to the public. Cooperation with the wide circles of the Georgian society, including the private sector, is the key to move forward and develop an effective action plan that will guide our work in the next two years,” – said Irina Pruidze, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance.

Kakha Kuchava, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection & Natural Resources, noted the role of the private sector in strengthening parliamentary transparency through the effective use of technology and innovation.

The meeting participants discussed Georgia’s progress to legislative openness since 2015 and the challenges that will be addressed in the new Open Parliament Action Plan.

The European Union supports the Parliament of Georgia in its efforts to open up a discussion space with the private sector. This process benefits both law-makers and entrepreneurs, especially considering Parliament’s crucial role in promoting investment climate and creating enabling business environment in the country,” – said Sophie Huet Guerriche, Coordinator for the Governance Sector at the EU Delegation to Georgia.

Members of Parliament received information about the ideas and suggestions for the Open Parliament Action Plan 2018-2019, collected at the public consultations in eight cities of Georgia (Telavi, Rustavi, Marneuli, Alkhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Batumi and Tbilisi). The information campaign was organised by the Parliament with assistance from the EU, UNDP and IDFI. Levan Avalishvili, IDFI’s Programs Director, presented a summary of these public discussions and opened floor for new comments and suggestion from business representatives.

Gigi Bregadze, UNDP Democratic Governance Team Leader in Georgia, stressed the importance of collaboration and partnership for achieving legislative openness.

Open Governance connects citizens to policy makers through the variety of platforms and resources. Government, Parliament, local authorities, non-governmental and private sectors, academic circles and other national stakeholders – are all important players in achieving effective, accountable and transparent governance,” he said.

Open Parliament is part of Georgia’s efforts under the Open Government Partnership (OGP), international platform that unites 75 countries to help their governments become more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Georgia is chairing the OGP this year and will be hosting the 5th annual OGP summit in July 2018. The European Union and UNDP are supporting Open Parliament in Georgia under their wider programme for str

Digital Technologies for Open Parliament in Georgia

Citizens of Georgia can now access public information, keep track of the legislative work and send electronic requests to their Parliament via the new Public Information Module and Mobile Application, developed with the assistance of the European Union and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

The new technology was presented to the MPs, civil society and international organizations on 13 March 2018.

“Electronic tools ease public access to the parliamentary information and promote citizen engagement into legislative process. This is an important step forward to enhancing legislative openness and introducing e-Parliament in Georgia,” said Irina Pruidze, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance.

She also noted that the new electronic tools are part of the Parliament’s commitments under its 2017 Open Parliament Action Plan.

Vincent Rey, Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, stressed the importance of the Parliament’s cooperation with civil society and the public. “Democracy is one of the core values of the EU and a common commitment between the EU and Georgia.  This new system, is an example of the support we provide to the Parliament, and we hope that it will make the legislative process more open and accessible to Georgian citizens,” Vincent Rey said.

The participants of the event were also addressed by Gigi Bregadze, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative a.i., and Levan Avalishvili, IDFI Programs Director, who introduced the new electronic tools and their unique functions for promoting Open Parliament principles in Georgia.

“The GeoParliament App allows citizens to follow the parliamentary work on their mobile phones, comment on draft laws and keep track of the Parliament’s agenda, including the dates of parliamentary sessions, committee hearings, bureau sittings and discussions on the new pieces of legislation. The Public Information Module eases access to the public information, such as the Constitution of Georgia, Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, bureau decisions, and orders and decrees of the Parliament Speaker. In addition, citizens will be able to electronically request information about the Parliament’s budget, expenditures and procurement,” Levan Avalishvili said.

Open Parliament is part of Georgia’s efforts under the Open Government Partnership (OGP), international platform that unites 75 countries to help their governments become more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Georgia is chairing the OGP this year and will be hosting the 5th annual OGP summit in July 2018.

The European Union and UNDP are supporting Open Parliament in Georgia under their wider progra