The Georgian Government published a resolution N245 on May 18, 2017. The Resolution defines the creation of an electronic portal, ichange.gov.ge, including its terms and conditions of usage.
Georgian Government Supports Creation of Portal for Petitions
By Levan Khutsishvili
Monday, January 29
Ichange.gov.gewill create an electronic space for Georgian citizens to appeal to the government with an electronic petition about important issues .According to the Resolution, the petition will be published on ichange.gov.ge if it meets the following criteria:
A) The petition contains a clearly formulated request on the implementation of a specific response by the government of Georgia
B) Decision on the request provided by an electronic petition belongs to the authority of the government of Georgia
C) It does not contain the same request as was already expressed in another electronic petition which was reviewed by the government of Georgia.
D) It is submitted on the state language
E) It is initiated by the adult citizen of Georgia
F) It meets other criteria of the Resolution.
Petition can be submitted by Georgian citizens who are registered on the portal. The following information is needed for the registration: name and surname, personal number, email, mobile number, password.
After the submission of the petition, a moderator of Ichange platform is obliged to check the compliance of the petition with the criteria within 10 calendar days. If the petition is rejected, the moderator should inform the initiator of the petition by emailwithin 2 days after finishing the verification process.
If the petition meets all of the criteria and is published on ichange.gov.ge, it should be signed bya minimum 10 000 users within 30 calendar days in order to be discussed by the Georgian government.The government is obliged to publish aclear, well-explained written response within 3 months on ichange.gov.ge
According to the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), which was an initiator of the creation of the platform, and was actively involved in the process, the platform can face some important challenges. First, it is minimum threshold is 10 000 signatures. Taking into account that only 48% of Georgian citizens have access to internet and the level of digital literacy is low,ichange.gov.ge cannot be very efficient.Additionally, setting thehigh threshold can demotivate Georgian citizens, as Georgia’s civil sector lacks experience in e-democracy and in usage of provided e-services.
The creation of the online platform for petitions is part of the first Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan 2012 - 2013, but the platform was not launched at that time and the commitment moved to the next OGP Action Plan (2014-2015). The Georgian government published the resolution about creation of the e-platform only in 2017.