Round Table Discussion “Open Government Partnership and Citizens Participation”

News | Good Governance | Publications | Article 2 August 2013

On 29th July, 2013, the round table discussion on Open Government Partnership and citizens’ participation, initiated by the Ministry of Justice was organized by the USAID, G-3 program and Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) in the framework of the Inter-Agency Coordination Council on Anti-Corruption and Good Governence of Georgia. 
 
The main goal of the meeting was to introduce international tendencies under the “Open Government Partnership” as well as developing the Action Plan of the “OGP in Georgia based on the recommendations of the civil society organizations, defining the priority directions and issues to promote citizens’ engagement in the process. 
 
The round table was opened with welcome remarks of Mr. Aleksandre Baramidze, Deputy Minister of Justice and Mr. Maris Mikelsons, Chief of USAID, G-3 program. The meeting gathered members of the anti-corruption council working group, representatives of the non-governmental organization and officials of the public authorities   who are responsible to implement OGP Action Plan. 
 
The participants of the discussion were welcomed by Mr. Stephen Haykin, USAID Mission Director. In his speech, Mr. Haykin spoke about President Obama’s “Open Government Partnership” initiative, aiming to achieve unprecedented transparency of the Governments and increase accountabilities towards citizens. He appreciated the readiness of the Government of Georgia, active engagement of society, stressed the support of the USAID.  
 
The civil society recommendations in context of the ‘’Open Government Partnership” were introduced by Giorgi Kldiashvili, IDFI Director. He spoke about the recommendations, which serve transparency, and accountability of the public authorities, issues of citizens’ active participation in the government decision-making process and feedback promote effectiveness of the governance. At the presentation, the major issue highlighted on elaboration of establishment of the communication mechanisms.  
 
Ms. Rusudan Mikheladze, Head of the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Justice, spoke about the priorities of the “Open Government Partnership” Action Plan and stresses that the crucial role of the civil society is put in the Acton Plan  in the decision making process. In her speech, she added that main component of the Ministry of Justice plans  is to establish e-democracy project, which considers the forms of the feedback from the stakeholders such as petition system, proactive disclosure of the public information  and active cooperation. 
 
Participants held the open discussions about the forms of citizens’ engagement, training of the public authority officials and actual steps to be taken to promote the process. Data Exchange Agency chairman, Mr. Irakli Gvenetadze presented the strategic plan of the E- Georgia and activities to promote and advance of the citizens’ participation. 
 
The Round Table Policy discussion was held in the framework of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and USAID, G-3 program  joint project: “Improving of freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and increasing public awareness on FOIA” initiative by the Ministry of Justice. 
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