As the COVID-19 pandemic renders “business as usual” impossible, the United Nations Development Programme, with support from the UK and Sweden, is helping public agencies in Georgia strengthen people-centred public service delivery and expand access to digital tools. This work is creating a “new normal” with benefits for Georgia’s citizens that will outlast the crisis.
With UNDP support, 36 new electronic services have been added to the Unified Service Portal, my.gov.ge, since the pandemic first reached Georgia. Administered by the Data Exchange Agency (DEA) of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, the portal was already home to a range of e-services for Georgian citizens before the crisis. The newly added online applications enable citizens to receive critical public services without having to leave their homes, for example to obtain or renew biometric passports, ID cards and marriage, birth, death and adoption certificates; to change names and surnames; and to register land and businesses.
“Georgia is the region’s leader in creating a people-centred culture of public service delivery based on innovation and new technology,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “These long-term investments in digital technology and e-governance contributed to the country’s success in the pandemic response and ensured that public services could be moved online easily during the crisis. Expanded access to electronic services will enable Georgia to establish a beneficial ‘new normal’ for public service delivery after the lockdown is lifted.”
Also with UNDP support, the Data Exchange Agency has launched an online platform elearning.gov.ge to deliver cybersecurity and e-governnace training for students and researchers.
“We are responding to the COVID-19 crisis by providing citizens with easier online access to almost all services available at the Public Service Halls and Community Centers,” said Data Exchange Agency Chairman Nikoloz Gagnidze. “At the same time, with expanded use of online tools, it’s crucial to ensure that cyber hygiene and cybersecurity become a bigger part of our daily life both during the crisis and beyond.”
UNDP assistance also extended to the Public Service Hall, where a series of online training courses on service delivery security and disability-sensitive service delivery has been launched for 800 front-line staff.
Assistance to the Data Exchange Agency and the Public Service Hall is part of UNDP’s wider support to Public Administration Reform in Georgia, implemented with funds from the UK and Sweden.