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Tbilisi City Hall does not accomplish 5 Commitments of OGP 2017

By Levan Khutsishvili
Tuesday, July 17
On July 17-19, 2018, the OGP Global Summit will be held in Tbilisi, which will be attended by more than 2,000 people from all over the world. The Global Summit of Open Governance is the OGP's most important annual event, where together with various work meetings and discussions Georgia's fourth National Action Planwill be presented.

Before the Summit, it is interesting to see how Tbilisi accomplished commitments taken under the OGP National Action Plan 2017.

The OGP pilot program started on local government level in 2016. From that point onwards, Tbilisi has been among the 15 cities and regions that have been selected from 45 participants all over the world. Participation in the pilot program meant that Tbilisi City Hall, in collaboration with the civil sector, would make its activities more open and transparent and increase citizen engagement in solving local issues.

Obligations involve the following:

1. First obligation was to create multi-profile mechanism of open governance and civic engagement - Information and Civil Activity Portal - "SMART MAP".

Through the portal citizenswould receive information on their living environment and general planning as well as current constructions, wood cutting, large infrastructural projects and investment facilities in Tbilisi.

The portal was supposed to ensure interaction between citizens and Tbilisi City Hall on current problems, and public participation in problem solution.

2. The second obligationwas implementation of the Electronic Petition portal in the city hall system.

A special application for this was created - "Petition to Tbilisi Mayor". The application would allow citizens registered on the portal to create a petition on important issues and invite other people to sign it. Conditions related to the number of required signatures for the petition should be legally required. In case of collecting this number of signatures, the city hall received a petition review and decision-making obligation.

3. The third commitment, which the mayor made, was to introduction of a Participatory Budgeting.

This means that by using the same portal, citizens could be able to participate in planning of the next year's budget by voting on the priorities presented by the city hall. In parallel Tbilisi City Hall's offices and the Governors of the Tbilisi districts had to provide support to the population in the voting process.

The program would automatically generate the average weighted outcome from the selected priorities. This result would be mandatory for the City Hall at any stage of the drafting and approval of the budget. The approved budget would be published on the same portal to compare with the budget designed by the population. All above-mentioned stages would have function to leave comments, make discussions, and give direct feedback to the city hall.

4. The fourth commitment was the implementation of interactive tools and civil control mechanisms to set control on budget expenditure.

It was planned to create electronic format to get detailed information about expenditure of the capital budgeted by any interested person. Additionally, it was supposed to be created a group of civil monitors that could be able to monitor budget expenditure.

5.The fifth commitment was the implementation of Civilian Control and Availability Mechanism.

Similar to the Civil Control Mechanism of Budget Expenditure City Hall had to create civil control mechanism on the services existing in the City Hall system, which would be procedurally, legally and technically integrated with the rest of the obligations taken under the "Open Government Partnership".

According to the data, before the OGP Summit, Tbilisi City Hall partly accomplished only one commitment by creating web-portal for petitions - “Your Idea to the City Mayor”. According to the Open Society foundation representatives, Tbilisi City Hall has created pilot version of “SMART MAP”. However, it was not implemented as the rest of the commitments from the Action Plan 2017.