Open Government Partnership Representatives Meet with Open Government Georgia Stakeholders

_DXP9822On April 5, 2017, national stakeholders of the Open Government Georgia met with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Support Unit Deputy Director Joe Powel and Director for Civil Society Engagement Paul Maassen.

The workshop was to discuss Georgia’s vision, plans and expectations as the country assumes the chairmanship of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee in October 2017.

The meeting brought together key stakeholders involved in the OGP process in Georgia, including the Government of Georgia, Parliament of Georgia, Tbilisi City Hall, civil society and international organizations.

The event opened with welcoming remarks from Aleksandre Baramidze, Acting Minister of Justice of Georgia, and Irina Pruidze, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance.

“This event is of great importance and honor for a small country like Georgia. We plan to work more actively and improve our results in implementing OGP ideals in Georgia,” – Aleksandre Baramdize.

According to Irina Pruidze, “Georgia’s chairmanship of OGP greatly increases the responsibility of the Georgia and especially its Parliament. We have started working on the Open Parliament Action Plan and can already name the most important commitments that will be included in it. These commitments are: creating a code of ethics; drafting a concept of civil society development (to be implemented by a special working group); improving the content of explanatory notes; making the Parliament building and website accessible to people with disabilities.”  “In parallel to this, we work actively to raise the public’s awareness about OGP. In this process, I think, it is necessary to have good coordination among members of the Council as well as between fractions of Parliament. Finally, the Parliament and the Government should also cooperate  to implement OGP principles.”

Nina Khatiskatsi, Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, and Nino Lomjaria, First Deputy Auditor General, spoke of specific areas related to the OGP process.

This was followed by a discussion on strategic priorities for the chair year led by Joe Powel and Paul Maassen, which focused on good practices from the previous OGP chairs and the role of civil society in this process.  _DXP0280

During his presentation, Joe Powel stated that “it is a big opportunity and responsibility of Georgia as a country, not just for the government during the chair year of OGP. Georgia is the 8th chair of OGP, and the first non founding country, which is a great honer. Georgia won a competitive election against other countries to be selected.”

According to Joe Powel, there are a number of opportunities for Georgia as a chair of OGP. “This is a seventy-five-country organization, so, firstly, it is a political opportunity for Georgia to lead a big coalition of governments. The second opportunity is to showcase the best practice and results that Georgia has achieved in recent years. And the third is that there will be a huge international spotlight on Georgia. Georgia had a great success as a member of OGP. Therefore, we believe that the country understands its opportunities as a new Chair of this organization.“

The discussions were moderated by – Zurab Sanikidze, Head of the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Justice, and Giorgi Kldiashvili, Director of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

“We think that electing Georgia as chair of OGP is not only a big challenge but also a big achievement for our country. I want to thank all donor organizations whose involvement and partnership will help us to achieve great results,” – Giorgi Kldiashvili.

Georgia joined OGP in September 2011. Since then, the Georgian Government together with civil society organizations has implemented a number of initiatives to promote transparency, empower citizens, and combat corruption with the overall goal of strengthening good governance in the country. In April 2015, the Parliament of Georgia endorsed a Declaration on Parliamentary Openness and Memorandum with international and non-governmental organizations, thus making Georgia the first country in the region to promote legislative openness.

_DXP0195In May 2016, Georgia, together with France, became a Co-Chair of the OGP Steering Committee, an executive, decision-making body which develops, promotes and safeguards the values and principles of OGP as well as establishes ideas, policies and rules of the partnership and oversees its functioning. The Steering Committee consists of 22 members – 11 from government and 11 from civil society. As of October 2017, Georgia will assume the Open Government Partnership (OGP) chairmanship for a year.

The meeting was organised by the co-chairs of the Open Government Georgia Forum – the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), in cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia and with support from the European Union (EU) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Meeting of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and Consultative Group

DSCN9427.jpgOn March 14, 2017, in Hotel “Tbilisi Marriot”, IDFI organized meeting of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and the Consultative Group.  The aim of the meeting was to discuss the recommendations on commitments that shall be included in the Open Parliament Georgia 2017-2018 Action Plan.

Meeting was attended by the Council member MPs, Staff members of the Parliament, civil society representatives and international organizations.

The meeting was held within the scope of the Project titled Strengthening the System of Parliamentary Democracy in Georgia, which is funded by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and is implemented by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

Opening remarks were made by Irina Pruidze, the Chairperson of the Council, Sophie Huet-Guerriche, representative of the European Union Delegation in Georgia and Giorgi Kldiashvili, Director of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).

In her opening speech Sophie Huet-Guerriche reaffirmed that European Union welcomes establishment of parliamentary openness within the framework of the Open Government Partnership initiative and underlined that election of Georgia as a chair of the Open Government Partnership represents big challenge for Georgia. Ms. Huet-Guerriche confirmed that European Union supports the Parliament of Georgia and the Permanent Council on Open and Transparent Governance in development of parliamentary openness in Georgia.

During the meeting, the Consultative Group member organizations presented recommendations concerning Open Parliament Georgia 2017-2018 Action Plan. Transparency International – Georgia presented the following recommendations: Commitment to indicate causes of honorable absence of the plenary and committee sessions by the MPs on the website of the Parliament of Georgia, commitment to post stenographic records of committee hearings and other. 

Georgia’s Young Lawyers Association presented 7 commitments. The aim of the aforementioned commitments is to increase transparency of the Parliament, provide citizens with more information and raise public awareness.

The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) presented the following recommendations: Elaboration of feedback mechanism for comments left on draft laws,elaboration of a public information reports (so called “10 December Report”) monitoring system, elaboration of a public petition system and other.  Levan Avalishvili, the Chairperson of IDFI, underlined the importance of placement of stenographic records on the website of the Parliament and cited as an example the website of the Parliament of Canada, which is discussed in the Research prepared by IDFI.

As for the feedback mechanism for comments left on draft laws, the attendees of the meeting agreed that the comments left by citizens on draft laws shall be processed by the Staff of the Parliament and then submitted to the Members of the Parliament. Furthermore, the participants of the meeting agreed that it is desirable to conduct a research on best international practices in order to develop the feedback mechanism.

At the meeting of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and the Consultative Group the issues related to adaptation and improvement of accessibility of services of the Parliamentary building (Tbilisi) for people with disabilities were discussed. Moreover, Rusudan Tushuri, the representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), cited an example of the National Agency of Public Registry, which is already working on adaptation of its services for the needs of people with disabilities. Consideration of the aforementioned example will significantly contribute to fulfillment of the commitments undertaken by the Parliament of Georgia.

The attendees of the meeting also agreed that the commitments and their indicators that shall be included in the Open Parliament Georgia 2017-2018 Action Plan will be presented by the members of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance and the Consultative Group not later than March 28, 2017.

IDFI’s Recommendations on Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2016-2017

ogp_logoIDFI as the member of the Open Parliament Georgia Working Group and the Chair of the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance is actively involved in the process of elaboration of the Open Parliament Georgia 2017-2018 Action Plan.

In February 2017, the Institute presented the recommendations on elaboration of the Open Parliament Georgia 2017-2018 Action Plan to the Parliament of Georgia. These recommendations included the following topics:

  1. Elaboration of a Feedback Mechanism for Comments Left on Draft Laws

Current Situation: As of today, individuals are able to leave comments on draft laws on the website of the Georgian Parliament. This commitment was initiated by IDFI and was included in the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016.

However, given the fact that there is no mechanism for providing feedback to these comments, one-way submission of comments cannot guarantee proper engagement of citizens in lawmaking processes; as of today, MPs are not obligated to consider or provide feedback to citizen comments.

According to best international practice, in order to ensure the engagement of citizens and stakeholders in lawmaking processes, it is necessary to receive comments as well as to implement feedback mechanisms.

IDFI Recommendation: In 2016, IDFI presented a concept of electronic system for public consultations on draft laws, which was approved by the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance. This concept included implementation of a feedback mechanism and its legal regulations. We believe that this commitment to elaborate a feedback mechanism for comments should be included in the new action plan.

2. Elaboration of a Public Information Module and Simplification of Access to Information on Parliamentary Activities

Current Situation: The Order of the Chairperson of Parliament of Georgia N132/3, dated December 31, 2013, on Approval of Procedure for Proactive Disclosure of Public Information and Standards for Electronic Request of Public Information sets a list of information that shall be published on the Parliament website. However, the Order does not include an obligation to publish information in open data format. The published information is also not structured, which complicates its search and subsequent use.

The Order also does not provide modern standards for electronic request of public information. Meanwhile, in accordance with Commitment 3.1 (posting documents on the Parliament website in an editable format) of the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016, it is necessary to post documents on the Parliament website in user friendly, easily editable formats (for example: HTML/MS Word) and minimize publication of PDF documents.

IDFI Recommendation: IDFI recommends creating an integrated module on the Parliament website, where the information defined by the Order of the Chairperson will be published in user friendly (including open data) format, and where the module for electronic request of information will be implemented.

In addition, the Permanent Parliamentary Council on Open and Transparent Governance should be given the authority to annually define the list of additional information and databases that may become accessible by means of this module (e.g., registry of petitions received during the year, registry of draft laws, registry of sessions missed by MPs, database of Parliament visitors, registry of MP expenditures during international visits and so forth).

This module should also include a mechanism for receiving public feedback through opinion polls. This mechanism will help the Council define the information that is important for citizens.

3. Elaboration of a Public Information Reports Monitoring System

Current Situation: In accordance with Chapter 3 of the General Administrative Code of Georgia, each year, on December 10, all public institutions are obligated to submit the so called “December 10 Report” – Public Information Report to the Parliament, the President and the Prime Minister and publish it in the Legislative Herald of Georgia. Submission of this report makes it easier for the government (Parliament, President, and Prime Minister) and the civil society to control the accessibility of public information and the transparency and accountability of public institutions.

Unfortunately, research conducted by IDFI and other non-governmental organizations revealed that year after year only the number of information requests changes in these reports, without improvement of existing flaws. In most cases, data included in the reports is incomplete, does not comply with the requirements of the General Administrative Code of Georgia and, therefore, does not reflect the real situation regarding freedom of information. Submission of these reports is only formal in nature and neither legislative nor executive bodies generalize, study, monitor or supervise the data included in these reports.

IDFI Recommendation: IDFI suggests elaborating a parliamentary oversight mechanism that will facilitate monitoring of the reports submitted by public institutions. A platform where public institutions will post their data in accordance with the requirements of the December 10 reports will give the Parliament an opportunity to simplify the processing and generalization of this data, produce and publish relevant statistics and prepare a report.

At the same time, citizens and stakeholders will be able to detect irregularities or discrepancies in the submitted reports and request clarification, correction of the data or, in case of intentional falsification of information, request the use of relevant sanctions. This platform will become an important preventive mechanism in terms of increasing the effectiveness of public information reports and carrying out parliamentary oversight activities.

4. Elaboration of a Public Petitions System

Current Situation: Petition is a written request of a group of individuals, which concerns state or general problems and is submitted to the Chairperson of the Parliament. Upon submission, a petition is registered in a special registration journal. It is forwarded to a relevant committee or interim commission for consideration, which makes one of the following decisions: 1. Reviews the petition at the plenary session of the Parliament; 2. Forwards the petition to the relevant ministry, agency; 3. Deems it unreasonable to discuss the petition.

In order to discuss the petition at the plenary session of the Parliament, relevant committee or interim commission presents a conclusion on petition to the Bureau of the Parliament. In the event the petition is sent to the ministry or other relevant agency, within one month, the latter introduces the decision to the author of petition or relevant committee or interim commission. After review of the petition, the Parliament adopts a decree, resolution or other decision.

According to the official data, from December 20, 2012 until July 12, 2016, only 19 petitions were registered in the name of the Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia. This number points to a significant lack of trust and awareness of the society in relation to this important mechanism of civil participation and parliamentary oversight.

Recommendation: IDFI suggests creating an electronic mechanism for submission and tracking of petitions Based on best international practice (e.g., New Zealand, Germany, UK).

 

 

 

Georgia’s Chairmanship of OGP: Advancing the Global, Regional and National Open Government Agenda

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Author: Giorgi Kldiashvili

In May 2016, Georgia was elected as a co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee before taking over as a Lead Chair in 2017. The fact that 18 of the Steering Committee member countries supported Georgia was a clear expression of appreciation of Georgia’s achievements and reforms initiated and implemented as an OGP member as well as its future plans.

Georgia has adopted its third OGP Action Plan. One of the main factors that determined the successful involvement of Georgia in the Open Government Partnership was collaboration between the government and civil society. To be more precise, a permanent dialogue mechanism was created, where both public institutions and civil society organizations have equal opportunity to address the issues facing OGP. Today, the Open Government Georgia Forum is a mechanism of co-creation and oversight that enables all stakeholders to share the responsibility of fulfilling the OGP agenda. Georgia has been successfully developing legislative openness in the framework of OGP since 2015. As a result of active and fruitful cooperation of the Parliament and civil society in co-creating the Legislative Openness Georgia was awarded with the OGP Government Champions Award at the OGP Global Summit in Mexico in 2015.

Together with immense opportunities that might follow the co-chairmanship, the position comes with a huge a responsibility to move the OGP agenda forward, make the global goals part of national and regional policy and engage/support the membership of new counties in OGP. The responsibility of advancing the OGP agenda must be shared equally among the government and civil society. In a way, the civil society is often a more flexible and effective change agent, which in most cases creates mutually beneficial outcomes.

Even though the Government of Georgia recognizes its role as a co-chair and has started taking some steps, there has been no clear expression or declaration of the actions that Georgia will take as a co-chair that will lead towards bigger goals and reforms, making chairmanship of Georgia valuable and productive in 2017. In addition, civil society organizations that are active in OGP have also not yet issued a joint declaration or statement on how they see their role and intend to support the co-chairmanship and chairmanship of Georgia.

In order to make its chairmanship efficient and attach global importance to its endeavors, there are several national, regional and global issues that need to be addressed by the Government of Georgia and the civil society. With this in view, there are specific challenges identified for the Government of Georgia as the OGP co-chair that will be outlined below.

1. Keeping in mind the importance of implementation of global agenda, and in line with the Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Government of Georgia should make the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) an integral part of the Open Government Georgia’s (OGG) process and policies. The third National Action Plan of the OGG does not include the commitments of state agencies that could serve as an effective tool to promote the implementation of SDGs. The secretariat of OGG should start taking steps for engaging relevant government agencies to commit to implementing SDGs. In other words, SDGs should become a very important part of OGG work and basis for future National Action Plans. Furthermore, in addition to focus and harmonize SDGs into national policies the Secretariat should start engaging with the countries in the region to make implementation of SDGs not only country but also a regional priority.

2. Georgia has been combating corruption in its law enforcement, education, health sector, civil registries and other government services for years. As a result, Georgia is now a leading county in the region in this area. This has been confirmed by international indexes: According to the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2016, Georgia holds the 1st place in the dimension of absence of corruption in Eastern European and Central Asian countries; According to the Global Corruption Barometer, Georgia takes fourth place after Germany, Sweden and Switzerland with only 12% of population perceiving corruption as one of the biggest problems; Corruption Perception Index ranks Georgia 44th out of 176 countries, leaving Central Asian countries far behind. Furthermore, Georgia, together with the United Kingdom and Brazil, is one of the Co-Anchors of Open Government Partnership Anti-Corruption Working Group. Along with the anti-corruption reform process, efficient delivery of public services has been the priority for the Government of Georgia. In this regard, the Public Service Hall is an example of innovative, fast and transparent service delivery in big cities, followed by Community Centers in smaller regions of Georgia to make services accessible for all. This important role of Georgia should be put forward throughout the time of Georgia’s chairmanship, meaning that Georgia should take the lead in the region to share its experience in combating corruption, putting forward anti-corruption agenda and share its lessons learned and the most significant challenges in this immensely difficult process.

3. While working with existing members of OGP is highly important, the Government of Georgia should aim to bring new countries into the Partnership. Special emphasis should be given to the countries of the post-Soviet region and especially Central Asia. Looking at the OGP map, a huge gap is clearly visible in this region. There are only Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and neighboring Turkey represented in OGP, with two of them being inactive members of the Partnership. There are many more countries left that through the membership of OGP would gain huge experience from its member countries. Similarly, Georgian civil society organizations should reach out to the non-governmental sectors of those countries and try to engage them in the OGP community; therefore, establishing a knowledge-sharing instrument among CSOs is also a critical challenge.

 4. Georgia has had significant results with respect to legislative openness. Since February 2016, the Georgian Parliament has a Permanent Council on Parliamentary Openness and Transparency, which is composed of representatives of parliamentary committees, factions and other members of the Parliament. In addition, the Council has a Consultative Group composed of civil society and international organizations. The Council elaborated its 2015-2016 Open Parliament Action Plan, which was afterwards adopted by the Bureau of the Parliament. The 2015-2016 Open Parliament Action Plan included wide-ranging commitments from developing an electronic citizen engagement tool to creating a mandatory code of ethics for Members of the Parliament. It is important to share Georgian experience on parliamentary openness with OGP countries in the region and beyond. Linking legislative openness to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is another interesting challenge that should be faced by the Parliament of Georgian in the nearest future. In particular, it is important to elaborate a mechanism that would utilize the Open Parliament platform for effective oversight over the implementation of SDGs.

 5. The 2016-2017 Co-Chair Declaration of OGP touches upon engaging a wider range of interested constituencies. Among subnational governments and national parliaments, the Declaration also focuses on the private sector. Hence, it is vital to increase efforts of involving the private sector in the implementation of the OGP agenda. Despite the current efforts to engage the private sector, a bigger emphasis should be placed on increasing the awareness of private companies about OGP and finding an effective mechanism that will facilitate permanent involvement of the private sector in OGP.

 6. While discussing future plans the past experience of the Government of Georgia as a member of OGP should be given thorough consideration. Despite the fact that Georgia has been chosen as a co-chair of OGP based on its success achieved as a member of OGP, evaluation of Georgia’s Second National Action Plan is important. In this regard, the Government of Georgia had two highly important commitments taken in the Second Action Plan – elaboration of the Freedom of Information Act and launching the E-petitions portal. Although neither of these two commitments were fulfilled, Georgia, as a co-chair of OGP, should become an example for other members and non-member countries in successful implementation of its action-plan. With this in view, Georgia should maximize its efforts to be fully compliant with commitments of the action-plans. Fortunately, the existence of this problem has been identified and an efficient solution should be suggested at the time of Georgia’s co-chairmanship, until the country takes over as a lead chair.

Georgia’s role as a co-chair and chair country of facilitating implementation of SDGs, strengthening international cooperation, continuing anti-corruption endeavors and advocating these processes in the region needs higher level of coordination then the Ministry of Justice. Since the responsibility for falling short of the global OGP or OGG agenda will fall on the Government of Georgia as a whole, moving the function of coordination of OGG to the Office of the Prime Minister of Georgia will make the OGG processes more efficient and will make state agencies feel more responsibility on their commitments. At the same time, the head of the Government, the Prime Minister of Georgia, will be personally involved in the local as well as international processes that will take place in the scope of OGP that will guarantee higher performance of the country, smooth decision-making processes and country’s important role as a co-chair.

Since freedom of information is one of the most important aspects of open government, the performance of the Ministry of Justice should be evaluated. According to IDFI’s report on Access to Public Information in Georgia– 2016,the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, together with its 12 subordinate bodies, left IDFI’s freedom of information requests unanswered, thus ranking as the least open institution. Furthermore, in February 7, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia issued a recommendation for the Ministry of Justice and its 11 LEPLs to disclose public information. Coordinating the body of OGP on the one hand and being declared the least open public institution on the other is highly incompatible. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice should strengthen its efforts to eliminate those shortcomings.

In order to achieve tangible results throughout the Georgian co-chairmanship and chairmanship of OGP, it is important to develop a specific action document that would include input from civil society organizations. A joint and coordinated effort between the government and the civil society will once again prove that Georgia is a leading member of the OGP community. The action document should focus on the global context that exists with regard to open government, transparency, public engagement and anticorruption. For this particular reason, the Government of Georgia should consider commitments of the 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit and the 2016 OGP Global Summit and should largely rely upon the general trends that were set during these important events.

Comments of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information on the 2014-2015 National Action Plan Final Self-Assessment Report of the Open Government Partnership Georgia

ogp_logoThe Open Government Partnership (OGP) Georgia’s National Action Plan (NAP) 2014-2015 was created through intense cooperation between the government of Georgia and the civil society. The NAP included 27 Commitments (29 actions) that were distributed among 16 responsible institutions. IDFI was actively involved in monitoring of the action plan commitments and provided the OGP Forum Secretariat with regular assessments about the progress of activities.

In 2016, IDFI has published its Assessment of the Completed and Unfulfilled Commitments of the OGP 2014-2015 National Action Plan. According to the Assessment, out of 29 action, IDFI evaluated 20 as completed and 9 actions as unfulfilled. Developing and launching of the E-Petitions Portal (I-CHANGE.GE), drafting and adoption of a new Law on Freedom of Information and developing an Interactive Criminal Statistics map were some of the most important commitments that were not fulfilled in the 2014-2015 NAP.

The final Self-Assessment Report covers the commitments that were not marked as “Fully Completed” during the previous monitoring round.

Comments of IDFI on Commitments of the OGP National Action Plan 2014-2015:

Commitment 4: Develop Citizen’s Portal www. my.gov.ge

 IDFI Comment: Comments of IDFI in the last evaluation period touched upon the inefficiency of the awareness campaign, the small amount of services accessible on the portal and the absence of the municipal services section on the portal. In addition, the responsible institution did not fulfill the minimum amount of activities that were envisaged in plans. IDFI evaluated the commitment as Partially Implemented.

Commitment 6(b): Introduction of e-Governance in Local Self-Governments

IDFI Comment: According to the indicator of the commitment, e-governance should have been implemented in 10 municipalities of Georgia and according to the previous evaluation period, round e-governance was implemented in 6 municipalities. Based on the given information, it is difficult to assess whether the IT skills training included the municipal management systems, which was identified as a separate training. IDFI evaluated the commitments as Partially Implemented.

Commitment 7: Digital Signature and Online Authentication

IDFI Comment: According to the information provided by the agency, tender documents were prepared by the end of 2015; however, it is not clear why the agency was not able to conduct the procurement procedure and postponedit to 2017. The previous comment of IDFI about the connection with the indicator of the commitment has not been taken into account. In particular, it is still not possible to identify the exact amount of institutions. According to the indicator, the service of digital signature should have been implemented; therefore, IDFI evaluated the commitment as Partially Implemented, since its most important element has not yet been completed.

Commitment 8: Create Open Data Portal (data.gov.ge)

IDFI Comment: It is important to point out that the Hackathon (envisaged by the commitment) has still not been conducted. In this regard, it is important to receive clarification from the institution, since according to the last status update, the agenda, training plan, logistics and the financing plan had been prepared. IDFI evaluated the commitment as Fully Implemented.

Commitment 9: Elaborate Freedom of Information Act

IDFI Comment: IDFI evaluated the commitment as Not Implemented, since the indicator stated that the draft law should have been submitted to the Parliament in the spring of 2015, which unfortunately has not occurred. Moreover, the 2016-2017 OGP National Action Plan includes the elaboration of the Freedom of Information Act as a new commitment, which creates ambiguity about the status of the commitment. If the commitment of elaborating the Freedom of Information Law has been partially completed in the 2014-2015 NAP, it should not be included in the new action plan. In order to transfer this commitment in the new NAP, it should be indicated in the current Self-Assessment Report that the commitment has not been implemented and it is necessary to transfer it to the 2016-2017 NAP.   

Commitment 10: Open Government Georgia’s Forum – Coordinating Mechanism on the National Level

IDFI Comment: IDFI evaluated the commitment as Fully Implemented. However, despite the status of the action it is important to take into account several factors: the indicator of the commitment states that the meetings of the forum take place regularly, which does not fully describe the existing situation. According to the Rules of Procedure of the Forum, a meeting of the Forum should take place every first Wednesday of each month. The meetings of the Forum in 2014-2015 have not taken place in full compliance of the Rules of Procedure. If conducting monthly meetings is not a priority of the OGP Georgia’s Forum, relevant amendments should be made in the Rules of the Procedure. In addition, according to the information provided by the Forum Secretariat, 13 meetings of the Forum have taken place in 2015; however, the Secretariat did not ensure the availability of the meeting minutes on the webpage of the Ministry of Justice, as it was prescribed in the indicator of the commitment. It is important to point out that after May 7 2015, minutes of the Forum meetings are not being uploaded on the webpage. IDFI recommends to the Forum Secretariat to take into account the above-mentioned procedural issues.   

Commitment 11: E-Petitions Portal (ICHANGE.GE)

IDFI Comment: IDFI evaluated the commitment as Not Implemented, which is proved by measuring its progress through the indicator. All technical components for launching the portal have been prepared and the relevant Government Decree has been drafted. Despite the above-mentioned actions, the draft Decree was not submitted to the Government for review and final adoption.  

Moreover, this commitment was not transferred to the new 2016-2017 OGP National Action Plan, which prevents the Forum form tracking the progress of its implementation.

Commitment 13: Set up Public Officials’ Asset Declaration Monitoring System

IDFI Comment: According to the indicator of the commitment, the monitoring system should be currently functioning but there are still a few technical details that have to be completed. Accordingly, IDFI evaluated the commitment as Largely Implemented. In addition, the responsible institution has not conducted a test launch of the system, which is necessary to evaluate the commitment as Fully Implemented.

Commitment 19: Establish Mechanism to Inform the Public on Budgetary Processes

IDFI Comments: The “Other Involved Actors” section of commitment includes Forum member CSOs; however, not all CSO members of the forum were involved and informed throughout the implementation of the commitment.

The information provided by the responsible agency did not include a total amount of meetings that were held. In order to assess the implementation of the commitment, it is important to indicate how many meetings and where they were held. It is also not clear what type of materials were used during the awareness activities.

According to the indicator, the responsible agency should have developed a specific scheme of informing the public. From the information provided by the Ministry of Finance, it is not possible to assess whether such a scheme (document) was developed. It is important to assess the commitment as Largely Implemented; therefore, IDFI assessed the commitment as Partially Implemented

Commitment 21: Digital Preservation System: E-Archive

IDFI Comment: During the previous stage of the Self-Assessment, IDFI requested clarifications on what caused the suspension of the implementation of the activity. In addition to assessing the commitment as Not Implemented, the Forum Secretariat should request from responsible institutions/divisions relevant clarifications on why the commitment has not implemented. IDFI assessed the commitments as Not Implemented.

Commitment 26: Interactive Statistics and Crime Mapping

IDFI Comment: IDFI assessed the commitment as Not Implemented. Despite the comment provided during the previous assessment round, the responsible agency has not provided any clarification with regard to the shortcomings of implementation. In 2016, the Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement, where it pointed out that it is working on creating the crime statistics page static.pol.ge. However, the indicated webpage is currently not functioning (please see the statement of the Ministry:http://police.ge/ge/shs-ministris-moadgile-shalva-khutsishvili-arasamtavrobo-organizatsiebis-tsarmomadgenlebs-da-jurnalistebs-shekhvda/10249).