On December 15, 2021, representatives of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC), and Management Systems Development Center (MSDC) presented the results of the 2021 Local Self-Government Index. The initiative is financially supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundations (OSGF).
The participants were welcomed by the representative of theCentre for Training and Consultancy, Giorgi Toklikishvili; Programs Director at IDFI, Levan Avalishvili; and Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Mzia Giorgobiani. They all stressed the need to strengthen the principles of transparency and accountability at the local level, to share best practices and, the role of the index in this regard. After the welcoming speech, the representatives of CTC and IDFI introduced the results of the 2021 local self-government index.
The average score of transparency and accountability of Georgian Municipalities remains low - 28%. The average result of the City Halls is 26%, while that of the Municipal Councils is 31%. The rate of transparency and accountability of municipalities has remained practically unchanged compared to the 2019 results.
According to the evaluation, Poti Municipality has been identified as the municipality with the best performance of 2021. On a 100% rating scale, it has a 70% result. Along with Poti Municipality, Rustavi (66%), Lagodekhi (61%), Ozurgeti (58%) and Zugdidi (55%) municipalities are in the top five of the transparency rating. The high rating of Lagodekhi Municipality was largely due to the outstanding result of Lagodekhi Municipal Council - 79%, which remains as the best result among both representative and executive bodies.
The municipalities with the lowest ratings in 2021 are Adigeni (4%), Ninotsminda (5%), Terjola (5%), Aspindza (6%), and Zestaponi (6%). None of them crossed the 10% rating threshold.
According to CTC expert Irakli Kakhidze, the score of the first block - proactive disclosure of public information - compared to the results of 2019, improved slightly (by 2%), the result remained the same in the second block – Electronic Governance, while in the third block - Citizen Participation and Accountability – the score decreased significantly, by 6%. Potential causes include the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 local government elections, and unsustainable personnel management policies in municipalities.
Teona Turashvili, Local Government/Internet and Innovations Directions Head at IDFI stressed the characteristics of transparency of the executive and representative bodies of the municipalities and noted that holding the hearing of mayor's annual reports has been critically reduced in practice over recent years. In most municipalities, only minimal, formal guarantees are created for the participation of citizens in both the Municipal Council and the Municipal Council Commission sessions. A variety of recommendations were provided in response to the identified challenges. Among them was the need to develop a plan for Municipal Council and City Hall separately with the goal to improve the quality of transparency and accountability.
In the second session of the event, a panel discussion was held with the participation of local and central government representatives, as well as organizations and experts working on local self-government issues, where the achievements, challenges, and needs in terms of building transparency and accountability standards at the local level were discussed.
About the Local Self-Government Index: The index assesses transparency and accountability of Georgian Municipalities, as well as the quality of citizens’ participation in the decision-making process. The results of 2017, 2019, and 2021 National Evaluation, along with the municipalities’ ratings, are available on the following website: www.LSGIndex.org
The photo gallery can be found here
Please find the full report here
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