Eight civil society organizations today raised concerns over the Georgian government’s “continued inaction” on carrying out reforms of Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that brings together government leaders and civil society advocates in order to promote transparent, participatory, inclusive, and accountable governance.
The watchdogs involved in the OGP process – among them Transparency International (TI) Georgia and Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association – said that Georgia “crudely violates the principles envisaged by the Open Government Declaration as well as OGP values.”
Noting that the country “has not planned or implemented a single OGP reform in two years,” the organizations called on the government to restore and ensure civil society’s effective involvement in the open governance process. “Otherwise, it will become clear to everyone that the open government process, its mission and values are no longer a priority for the Government of Georgia,” the CSOs asserted.
They also urged the OGP Secretariat to get involved in resolving the “lengthy crisis.”
The watchdogs also recalled that “the obvious crisis in the open government process intensified” in 2018, as Justice Ministry – the coordinator of the process – ignored a “significant portion” of civil society’s suggestions for reforms. The process then moved from the Ministry to the Government Administration under OGP International Secretariat guidance, following an appeal by the CSOs.
According to the statement, the Government, carrying out its obligation “to transform a façade cooperation process into a real co-creation process,” subsequently established the Open Government Inter-Agency Coordination Council, where the CSOs had consultative voting power.
But the watchdogs said the Council has not held a single meeting yet, despite being established almost two years ago in February 2020. The outfits argued that the Georgian Government only had pro-forma attempts at restoring the process.
“Georgia will have nothing to present at the OGP Summit planned for December 13-17, 2021,” the CSOs noted.