Georgia Transitional Results Report 2018-2019
- Action Plan: Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019
- Dates Under Review: 2018-2019
- Report Publication Year: 2021
The Open Government Partnership is a global partnership that brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive, and accountable. Action plan commitments may build on existing efforts, identify new steps to complete ongoing reforms, or initiate an entirely new area. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) monitors all action plans to ensure governments follow through on commitments. Civil society and government leaders use the evaluations to reflect on their progress and determine if efforts have impacted people’s lives.
The IRM has partnered with Nodar Kherkheulidze to carry out this evaluation. The IRM aims to inform ongoing dialogue around the development and implementation of future commitments. For a full description of the IRM’s methodology, please visit https://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/independent-reporting-mechanism.
This report covers the implementation of Georgia’s fourth action plan for 2018-2019. In 2021, the IRM will implement a new approach to its research process and the scope of its reporting on action plans, approved by the IRM Refresh. The IRM adjusted its Implementation Reports for 2018-2020 action plans to fit the transition process to the new IRM products and enable the IRM to adjust its workflow in light of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on OGP country processes.
Action Plan Implementation
The IRM Transitional Results Report assesses the status of the action plan’s commitments and the results from their implementation at the end of the action plan cycle. This report does not re-visit the assessments for “Verifiability,” “Relevance” or “Potential Impact.” The IRM assesses those three indicators in IRM Design Reports. For more details on each indicator, please see Annex I in this report.
General Highlights and Results
Half of the 28 commitments in Georgia’s fourth action plan saw either substantial or full implementation at the end of the action plan period. This completion rate was a slight reduction compared to the previous action plan (2016-2018), where 16 out of 24 commitments (67 percent) had at least substantial implementation. Major factors contributing to lower levels of implementation included limited financial and human resources as well as technical difficulties (particularly for those involving updating websites). For some commitments, legislative amendments were not passed on time, while others encountered challenges due to poor planning or coordination. The municipal commitments generally saw higher implementation than average, particularly due to the active engagement and assistance of donor organizations. Out of the five commitments identified in the IRM Design Report as “noteworthy”, one was fully completed (Commitment 9), and two (16 and 27) were substantially completed, while two (12 and 13) saw limited implementation. The amendments to the Law of Georgia on Grants were delayed for Commitment 12, while for Commitment 13, the State Procurement Agency experienced technical challenges in improving data on the opendata.spa.ge portal.
Several commitments from municipal self-governments saw promising results. For example, under Commitment 16, eight municipalities developed strategies for transparency and integrity, as well as corresponding action plans, and monitoring frameworks. These strategies mandate the municipal governments to implement several activities around open government, integrity, and participatory practices. Under Commitment 19, Batumi Municipality institutionalized participatory budgeting, resulting in several citizen proposals receiving funding, and scaled up the practice beyond the action plan timeframe. At the national level, Commitments 7 and 9 resulted in improvements to tracking progress on advancement of Sustainable Development Goals and accessing court decisions, respectively.
Lack of ownership of the OGP process also contributed to limited implementation of the action plan. In spring 2019, the national OGP secretariat transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Administration of Government (AoG), in an effort to revive the OGP process. Civil society stakeholders welcomed the transfer. However, although AoG officially took over coordination in spring 2019, the transfer took longer in practice. In addition, because the transfer took place during the implementation period, the implementing agencies were left without strong oversight from the national secretariat. Finally, the withdrawal of a majority of CSOs from the multi-stakeholder forum in November 2018 (explained in detail in the IRM Design Report) limited the amount of civil society engagement during implementation.
The Open Parliament commitments generally saw high levels of implementation. In contrast to the national process, the Open Parliament commitments saw strong engagement between parliament and civil society during both the co-creation and implementation phases. However, several factors limited the impact on parliamentary transparency and engagement. These included the parliamentary elections in 2020, when political parties had to prioritize the elections over other activities, and the change of the Chairperson of OGP Council due to her departure from the ruling party and her parliamentary position.
COVID-19 pandemic impact on implementation
The COVID-19 pandemic reached Georgia in March 2020. However, the pandemic did not directly impact implementation of the action plan’s commitments in terms of allocation of resources or continuity of activities, as the action plan had already finished in December 2019. Nevertheless, since most commitments were not completed by the end of the action plan period, the pandemic pushed the delayed commitments further from the immediate agenda, as the government and public agencies had to shift their priorities. For example, the Public Service Hall postponed several unfinished tasks under Commitment 2 until 2021, which had already been postponed to 2020.
At the time of writing this report, the pandemic has also affected the development of the fifth action plan. Although the reformed multi-stakeholder forum held its first meeting on 27 December 2019 to start the co-creation process, AoG soon had to refocus entirely on urgent COVID-19 response tasks and put the process on hold. AoG attempted to resume the process in fall 2020, but a second wave hit Georgia resulting in a strict lockdown, so the process was paused again. According to the point of contact to OGP, no date for resuming the process can be estimated at the moment.
When AoG took over the country’s immediate response to the pandemic, it established the Interagency Coordination Council under the prime minister to ensure efficient coordination among public agencies, government, parliament, and medical staff. To ensure the information flow to the public, the Council held daily briefings (broadcasted live), providing information on COVID-19 developments. A dedicated website was launched, which includes statistical data, WHO and National Center for Disease Control recommendations, and an FAQ. The website is available in several common languages in Georgia. Several hotlines were introduced for higher public awareness and prompt management. For example, the Public Safety Management Center added a new hotline specifically for COVID-related information and another for vehicle permits in emergency cases. Finally, a unified government hotline was launched to cover movement permits during curfew. As part of the emergency response, AoG primarily cooperated with state agencies under the Interagency Coordination Council’s mandate. Beyond that, AoG conducted a few coordination meetings, mostly informing multilateral organizations and business sector representatives of COVID-related matters in the country.
 For more information, see: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/process/accountability/about-the-irm/irm-refresh/
 OGP, Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/georgia-action-plan-2018-2019/
 OGP, IRM Georgia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Georgia_End-of-Term_Report_2016-2018_EN.pdf
 Open Government Partnership, IRM Georgia Design Report 2018-2019, https://www.opengovpartnership.org.documents/georgia-design-report-2018-2019/
 Administration of the Government of Georgia, Self-Assessment Report, On the Implementation of Open Government Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019, https://ogpgeorgia.gov.ge/upload/pages/26/Final%20Self-Assessment%20Report%20On%20the%20Implementation%20of%20Open%20Government%20Georgia%20Action%20Plan%202018-2019.pdf
 Ketevan Tsanava, Head of Public Administration Unit at Policy and Coordination Department at Administration of the Government of Georgia, interview with IRM researcher, 31 March 2021.
 Government of Georgia, “Measures implemented by the Government of Georgia against Covid-19”, 2020, https://stopcov.ge/Content/files/COVID_RESPONSE_REPORT_ENG.pdf