The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is launching an exciting new pilot program designed to more proactively involve subnational governments in the initiative. OGP is a 69 country partnership aiming to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP is looking for subnational governments with committed political and working level reformers, and engaged and energetic partners in civil society, to take part in a pilot program designed to advance open government reform.

Tbilisi, Georgia was one of the subnational governments that successfully applied to engage directly with OGP in a pilot 'pioneer' program. Participants will receive dedicated assistance and advice from the OGP Support Unit and OGP Steering Committee to develop and fulfill independent open government commitments in action plans, in partnership with civil society organisations. They will actively contribute to peer learning and networking activities with other subnational governments. The commitments and short action plans developed by the pioneers will be assessed by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). The pilot will give OGP the opportunity to test and assess the IRM’s capacity to act as the accountability mechanism for subnational government participation.

The following text is from Tbilisi's application letter, available in images below.

KA010151608174516

7, Shartava st., 0160 Tbilisi, Georgia, tel.: (+995 32) 2 378 170; Fax: (+995 32) 2 378 200

No7/45744 2016 / 02 /26

To: Steering Committee of Open Government Partnership

Subject: Pioneers’ tier applicant – Tbilisi City Hall; Open Government Partnership, Subnational Government Pilot Program.

On behalf of my whole team and myself, I would like to express our readiness and strong will to continue our commitment to the Principles of Open Government Declaration. We will be glad to form a team charged with cooperation, support for development and implementation of projects within the framework of the pilot program.

Although we have already incorporated some of the mechanisms associated with the Principles into our administration and management activities, we are eager to acquire more experience on matters such as open databases by local self­governments, accessibility to information and financial/budgetary transparency, strengthening of civic engagement and participative policies. We aim to go beyond the requirements stipulated in local law and to build on the principles of transparency and accountability. However, we face a few challenges and we believe it is absolutely necessary to refine and establish regulatory as well as practical guidelines for forming a fully­functional open government.

A brief summary of the current situation and needs is as follows:

1. Participative policy and civic engagement

The annual budget of the City of Tbilisi is a result of public discussions and surveys where the citizens and public groups are involved. Their suggestions and remarks are duly analyzed, and eventually reflected on the budget items. An e­portal, so­called Tbilisi City Forum – Let’s Together Take Care of Tbilisi, is a working platform online to give the opportunity to the citizens to submit their interesting and innovative ideas, the best of which have already been realized. In order to discuss the most important issues for the City, special councils are created bringing together public groups, NGOs. These groups and organisations are also consulted and involved when legal acts, action strategies and specific projects are being elaborated.

Recently a new rule have been put into practice: every week, on one working day, the Mayor of Tbilisi, as well as the members of the Government of Tbilisi, separately or jointly, holds meetings with the citizens individually and in groups to hear their ideas, demands and remarks firsthand.

In this regard we have a keen interest to get acquainted with the experience on the integrated system of sorting and analysis of information received from the citizens with effective response and feedback mechanisms on their demands.

2. Financial and budgetary transparency, access to information and open databases

MAYOR OF TBILISI MUNICIPALITY

As already stated, the city budget takes into account the public opinion expressed during public discussions. The procurements are also public. The Mayor of Tbilisi annually reports to the public about all work and projects executed during a year, including the administration of the budget. The official web­page of Tbilisi City Hall has also been changed to make it more informative with a better, user­friendly interface. Also the internal procedures and control have become stricter on the deadlines to give out requested public information and it has already paid off to some extent.

In order to keep a continuous improvement in this area, we will be in need of a more effective and sophisticated internal system for sorting the information, constant update and accessibility of the databases.

3. Support for participation, transparency and anticorruption policy based on proper regulations, codes of ethic and technological development

One of the most important current needs is for establishment and improvement of supportive mechanisms and instruments for participation, transparency and anticorruption policy. This envisages formation of such rules, structural entities and other instruments that will help prevent and detect corruption.

Apart from the regulation of specific code of conduct, one of the key factors to establish participatory, transparent and open databases and accessible information platforms is the usage of adequate technologies which, on one hand, provides the secure databases and on the other hand, makes the information easily accessible. Internal information systems oriented towards effective functioning of the organization is also very important for us. Those systems will not only ensure necessary platform for circulation of documentation and provision of services, decisions and other information for the public, but also they will be an integral part of organisational electronic base for human resource, management system and administration.

Therefore, it is our lively interest to receive direct, institutional support from the Open Government Partnership for the improvement of open government system.

Once again I would like to express our readiness and commitment to continue and strengthen our efforts in the process of dialogue with the civic society and provide all the necessary means for citizen participation. We are also ready to share our vision and experience to our peers in the program. In case of such need, we are willing to act as mentors for this or other programs for subnational governments once this pilot program is accomplished.

Faithfully,

Mayor of Tbilisi

Davit Narmania

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