On November 21, 2023, the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), together with partner civil society organizations, with the financial support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Danish government, held a presentation of the results of the Local Government Index 2023 assessment. The event was attended by the representatives of central and local government, civil society and donor organizations. The participants were addressed with opening remarks by Douglas Webb, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Georgia, Ander Trelborg, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark in Georgia, Mzia Giorgobiani, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Giorgi Kldiashvili, Executive Director of IDFI, and Giorgi Toklikishvili, co-author of Local Self-Government Index.
After the opening remarks, IDFI and representatives of partner organizations presented the 2023 assessment results of municipalities according to the Local Self-Government Index and announced the top five municipalities with the highest quality of transparency. According to the 2023 report, the average transparency and accountability score of Georgian municipalities in 2023 is 33%. The average score of City Halls is at 31%, while the average score of Municipal Assemblies is 35%. The 2023 score represents a small, 5% improvement over the previous Local Self-Government Index result of 28%.
As stated by the Local Government | Internet and Innovations Directions Head of IDFI, Teona Turashvili, compared to the 2021 assessment results, the indicators observed in municipalities improved somewhat in the areas of proactive disclosure of public information and electronic governance. Nevertheless, the situation worsened in the area of citizen participation and accountability. The overall increase in the score can be attributed to improvements in the availability of municipalities on electronic resources and enhancement of the technical characteristics of municipal websites, as well as programs by international donor organizations, various initiatives by civil society organizations, and expert support. However, several municipalities were not able to sustainably maintain the good practices introduced in previous years.
The Index expert, Irakli Kakhadze highlighted the general trends in the area of transparency of the executive and representative bodies in the municipalities and noted that in recent years, only minimal, formal guarantees for citizen participation have been implemented in a majority of the municipalities. For example, compared to the previous assessment, accessibility of public information declined by 14%, while support for citizen participation in municipal assembly sessions declined by 13%. Recommendations were presented responding to these and other challenged highlighted by the assessment. Among these, the necessity of creating action plans by City Hall and Municipal Assembly to improve the quality of transparency and accountability was emphasized.
According to the 2023 assessment, the municipality with the highest score was the municipality of the city of Poti. On a 100% assessment scale, it received a score of 75%. Following Poti, the highest results were achieved by Ambrolauri (66%), Lagodekhi (63%), Mestia (56%), and Oni (55%) municipalities.
As for the municipalities with the lowest assessment scores, these were the Aspindza (6%), Tianeti (9%), Adigeni (12%), Kaspi (13%), and Kazbegi (15%) municipalities.
During the second part of the meeting, a panel discussion was held with the participation of representatives of local and central government as well as organizations and experts working on issues related to local self-government. The panel discussed achievements, challenges, and needs in implementing transparency and accountability standards at the local level. The panel was moderated by IDFI Executive Director, Giorgi Kldiashvili. The panel speakers included:
- Mzia Giorgobiani - Deputy Minister, Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia
- Karlo Jamburia – Chairman of Municipal Assembly, Lagodekhi Municipality
- Nino Gvasalia - Head of Sustainable Development and Innovations Department, Poti City Hall
- Nino Kakubava – Project Manager, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Koka Kighuradze – Executive Director, Management Systems Development Center (MSDC)
About the Local Self-Government Index: The Index assesses the quality of openness and transparency, proactive disclosure of public information, e-governance, and facilitation of citizen participation and accountability in municipalities. Results and rankings of municipalities for 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023 are available on the website:www.LSGIndex.org
Please find event photo gallery here
Please find the full report here
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