Project Title: Contributing to PAR through Civic Monitoring and Engagement
Funded by: European Union
Implemented by: Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
Total Budget: EUR 499,435.55; European Union: EUR 449,492; Partners Match: EUR 49,943.55 (IDFI - EUR 259,611.32 and GYLA - EUR 239,824.24)
Duration: October 10, 2020 – October 10, 2022
Georgia launched the Public Administration Reform (PAR) in 2015 after signing the Association Agreement with the EU. The general goal of the reform is to improve the transparency, predictability, accountability and efficiency of the public administration of Georgia. For the past 4 years, successful implementation of PAR has been limited. According to Government of Georgia (GoG) PAR implementation monitoring results, 122 activities were assessed, out of which 55 were fully accomplished, 33 - mostly accomplished, 22 - partially accomplished, and 12 were not fulfilled. In addition to slow pace of implementation, several past obligations within the reform have been left unfulfilled for the most part of PAR’s existence. For example, an integral part of PAR, adoption of a separate Law on Freedom of Information has not been fulfilled, despite it being part of the reform since 2015.
Generally, PAR lacks ambitious reforms, especially in the areas of transparency and accountability. If the previous PAR action plan included the national anti-corruption action plan, the current one omits this important element. Local governments are not part of PAR to the extent they should be and regional CSOs are not engaged in the oversight of the reform. Also, public participation and oversight in the implementation of PAR has been one of the weakest links of the reform, which hinders its successful implementation. The need to improve regional engagement and participation has been recognised by the Government in its Programme 2018-2020.
In order to ensure that the third PAR action plan is implemented to the greatest extent possible and that the work is done to prepare for future improvement of the reform, implementing organizations (IDFI, GYLA, and regional CSOs) plan to promote civil society engagement in the monitoring and revision of the Public Administration Reform through innovations, capacity building and multi-stakeholder dialogue.
The action aims to promote the implementation of the Public Administration Reform through innovations, capacity building, multi-stakeholder dialogue and civil society engagement in monitoring and revision of the PAR Action Plan.
Specific Objectives of the action are the following:
1. Monitor the implementation of PAR through an innovative, inclusive approach
2. Strengthen capacity of local CSOs to better contribute to oversight and implementation of PAR
3. Facilitate PAR revision process through multi-stakeholder discussion and sharing of best practices.
Action Major Activities
IDFI and GYLA will monitor the implementation of Public Administration Reform, with particular focus on 4 components: policy development, accountability, public finance management and service delivery in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the implementation process, allowing for evidence-based revision. The assessment will serve as an alternative monitoring report, complementing and verifying the report of the GoG. Once unfulfilled commitments are identified, the project team will examine the principal reasons of failure and propose ways of addressing them. These observations will then be used by the implementing organizations for the revision of PAR and its action plan.
A single interactive and dynamic monitoring platform will be an integral part of the monitoring process. Monitoring and research results will be stored on this platform. For this purpose IDFI will create an online monitoring platform - PAR Tracker, that will grant the public and all interested stakeholders ready access to comprehensive information about PAR implementation, as well as means to engage in the monitoring process.
GYLA will train 11 local CSOs in at least 6 cities in Georgia (Akhmeta, Batumi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi, Poti and Marneuli), four of which have the self-governing status, while the fifth and sixth are populated by ethnic minorities (Muslim Kists in Akhmeta and Azerbaijanis in Marneuli). After the trainings, GYLA will select CSOs in each city via a competition, and issue small grants to them to assess implementation of PAR reform at local level and identify shortcomings and opportunities through public discussions and workshops with the participation of all relevant local stakeholders.
In an effort to facilitate PAR reform revision process, IDFI will study best practices on the most problematic issues identified by PAR Tracker and elaborate policy recommendations, which will be communicated to all relevant stakeholders and decision-makers through workshops and roundtable discussions. IDFI will also make active use of its media network to raise awareness about the reform, in an effort to stimulate public demand for more ambitious reform commitments. Finally, at the end of the project, IDFI and GYLA will hold a conference to gather all relevant stakeholders to advocate for improvements and ambitious commitments for the future of Public Administration Reform.
The logic behind the action is that by creating an online platform for monitoring PAR, CSOs which are part of the PAR Council will be equipped with an effective common monitoring tool, and other CSOs, not part of the process, with area specific expertise will be given the opportunity to contribute to the reform. The PAR tracker will act as a bridging mechanism allowing target groups and beneficiaries to share their feedback and concerns with public institutions that are responsible for policy making, service delivery and PAR implementation.
This systemic and innovative approach to monitoring will help identify all key challenges facing the reform. IDFI and GYLA will then develop evidence-based recommendations to counter these challenges by consolidating the feedback gathered through the PAR Tracker as well as studying best international practices. Finally, the recommendations for how to revise PAR will be advocated using all relevant channels.
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