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OECD, Local CSOs Call on Georgia to Re-join Anti-corruption Monitoring Program

On March 14, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) called on Georgia to rejoin the Anti-Corruption Action Plan (IAP) peer review program, following Georgia’s decision to withdraw from the 5th round of monitoring last year. Under the program, the OECD publishes reports to assess efforts of the South Caucasus and Black Sea countries – Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, and (formerly Georgia) – to advance anti-corruption reforms and identify areas for strengthening the fight against corruption.

The Anti-Corruption Action Plan (IAP) peer review program report assesses anti-corruption reforms in the following areas: national anti-corruption policy, judicial independence, prosecutorial independence, response to corruption crimes, specialized anti-corruption institutions, business integrity, public procurement, whistleblower protection, conflicts of interest, and asset declarations.

“The 5th round of monitoring of the IAP allows countries to benchmark their progress against peers in the region and helps promote anti-corruption reforms that support European integration. Georgia, once a regional leader in anti-corruption reforms, withdrew its participation from the 5th round of monitoring. The OECD calls upon Georgia to reconsider this decision and re-join the peer review program to pursue its fight against corruption,” – OECD statement reads.

In a joint statement made on March 18, Georgian civil society organizations emphasize that Georgia is the only country that, for the first time in 20 years, didn’t participate in the fifth round of monitoring. They note that in 2021, the Georgian government made the first attempt to obstruct the OECD/ACN monitoring, and due to the criticism of anti-corruption reforms in the report, in particular the independent judiciary and prosecution component, resisted its publication.

CSOs note that the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Bureau raised hopes that Georgia would return to the peer review program, but the Bureau has failed to take responsibility. In addition, “Georgia does not have a national anti-corruption strategy and action plan for the fourth year, which directly indicates that the fight against corruption at the national level has effectively stopped,” – reads the statement.

CSOs point out that the European Commission has also asked Georgia to rejoin the program in the enlargement report, containing the nine priorities that need to be implemented to achieve EU integration, published on November 2023. “The EU has requested Georgia to repeal the decision of February 2023 to withdraw from the OECD anti-corruption monitoring network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (OECD/ACN),” – stresses the report.

“The undersigned organizations once again urge the Government of Georgia to follow the European Commission’s recommendation to return to the OECD/ACN process and not to hinder the country’s European integration process,” – note CSOs.

Signatory organizations: Transparency International Georgia; Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA); Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI); Governance Monitoring Center (GMC).

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