The Unified Portal of Electronic Services my.gov.ge holds a leading position among Georgian online resources as one of the most visited governmental websites. In 2020 alone, the usage of services available on the website increased by 40 percent while the number of daily visits reached 30,000.
The secret of this success is that my.gov.ge provides citizens and businesses with much-needed access to electronic services, covering a range of areas from applying for IDs and passports to registering a new company or a land title.
The Unified Portal of Electronic Service was launched by the Government in 2012 as an innovative tool for service delivery and e-governance. Public demand for this one-stop-shop marketplace, where all services are just a click away, had been showing a slow but steady rise in recent years, chiefly owing to Georgia’s systemic reforms of public services and the increasing number of Internet users in both cities and rural areas.
But in March 2020, as Georgia declared a pandemic lockdown that pushed both public and private sectors online, my.gov.ge became a solution for thousands more citizens and businesses.
“Electronic services save time. But now they may also save our lives and health,” explains Dimitri Ghonghadze, a Tbilisi resident and a regular user of my.gov.ge.
“I have been using my.gov.ge since it was launched, but now I am doing it even more often than before. It’s the only way to get things done during a lockdown,” Ghonghadze says.
Mr. Ghonghadze was clearly not alone: in October-December 2020, Georgians used 122,000 electronic public services, 30 percent more than in January-March of the same year.
As usage increased, so did the range of services available. The number of e-services on my.gov.ge increased from 468 in 2019 to 700 in 2020. 133 of the newly added services, including an innovative way to verify official documents through an e-Apostille, were integrated into the portal with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
UNDP assistance is part of a broader UK-funded programme that helps Georgia to advance Public Administration Reform at all levels of government. During the pandemic, this support focused on promoting electronic service delivery for citizens and civil servants, assisting the public sector in adapting to new realities.
To help introduce new electronic services and improve digital service delivery, UNDP is working with two state agencies operating under the Ministry of Justice – the Digital Governance Agency that operates my.gov.ge, and the Public Service Delivery Agency (PSDA), which has the right to deliver qualified electronic trust services and manage the civil registry.
“Even before the pandemic, Georgia was a pioneer in applying digital tools to deliver public services in user-friendly ways,” says UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “COVID-19 has accelerated that trend. What before was nice-to-have has become need-to-have in pandemic conditions. Our shared vision is to create a people-centred system that ensures citizens can receive quality and secure services wherever they are, in the cities, villages or even outside the country.”