Transparency and accountability in local governance, as part of Georgia’s national commitments under the Open Government Partnership (OGP), were the focus of a conference in Tbilisi today that brought together representatives of 25 municipalities from across Georgia. The conference was organized jointly by Georgia’s Government Administration and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Government of Denmark.
Six municipalities that have already prepared local strategies for transparency and integrity – Akhaltsikhe, Bolnisi, Dusheti, Khoni, Rustavi and Tskaltubo – shared their hands-on experience with other local self-governments and presented the methodology they used to integrate Open Government principles into municipal development.
“Georgia was one of the first countries in our region to join the Open Government Partnership,” said Giorgi Sakhokia, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Georgia. “Georgia is also one of the few OGP countries to integrate open governance values into local governance as outlined in the current national OGP action plan.”
„There are two main issues to address as we strive to improve openness and effectiveness of governance and make it more democratic. First, reforms must respond to people’s needs. Second, open governance principles should be translated into effective mechanisms that are fully accessible for citizens,“ Kakha Kaladze, Tbilisi Mayor and the President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG), said.
“Transparency and accountability are vital to ensure that public resources are used wisely and fairly to meet people’s needs,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “UNDP is proud to be assisting municipalities in identifying transparency gaps, assessing corruption risks and finding effective solutions to enhance good governance at the local level. We are confident that the achievements of the pioneer municipalities presenting their experiences here will serve as examples for others.”
Also addressing the conference was Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure.
Introducing municipal strategies for transparency and integrity to local governance is part of UNDP’s wider assistance to Georgia in implementing the country’s national commitments under the Open Governance Partnership (OGP). The pioneer municipalities plan to adopt strategies prepared using UNDP’s Guide to Corruption-Free Local Government by the end of 2019. Their work is expected to pave the way to transparency and integrity for other local self-governments.
UNDP is Georgia’s long-standing supporter in introducing and implementing OGP principles at different levels of governance. This assistance has included EU-funded support to Open Parliament and UNDP’s active engagement in the global OGP Summit hosted by Georgia in 2018.