Citizens of Georgia can now use a new electronic platform to submit petitions on issues of special importance.
Request Changes – New Petition Platform Launched
By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Friday, February 16
The new platform Ichange.gov.ge functions under the Government’s competence. It was launched few weeks ago and according to the new rules, if initiators collect enough signatures, the government will be obliged to discuss and give reasonable response whether the petition has been approved or not. In case of refusal, the petitioner will be provided by the explanation of the problem publicly.
To further disseminate information about the new opportunity and how to address the government, from January 24 to February 6, representatives of two non-governmental organisations- Civil Development Agency (CiDA) and Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) held information meetings and regional presentations of the portal in eleven cities of Georgia. During the meetings, local self- government bodies, civil society organisations and media representatives have been informed about the functions and rules of the platform.
“We meet people who are keen to change important issues in a best way. We have heard a number of initiatives, although we always highlight that the petition which they submit must be within the competence of the Georgian government and should not be in hands of local self -government bodies. Otherwise, their initiative will not be published on the portal. Petitions should not be concerning one person, or a small problem. It should cover wide range of issues in order to attract more people as the threshold for petitions is quite high,” says Zviad Devdariani, Head of CiDA.
Petition with under 10 000 signatures won’t be accepted by the government. Some NGOs as well as locals consider the minimum number of signatures required is too high and call on the government to decrease it to 5 000. The rule remains same for now, however, government argues its readiness to consider their suggestion if the practice clearly shows its flaws.
The commitment to create an e-petition platform was announced in 2012. Five years later, on May 18, 2017, the government approved a decree regulating the use and conditions of the platform. Ichange.gov.ge was created within the framework of the country’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan.
Ichange.gov.ge process is being implemented by the administration of the Georgian Government. The information campaign is funded by “Ichange Public Awareness and Education Campaign” grant from USAID Good Governance Initiative (GGI).