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Georgia

Environment Portal (GE0070)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: LEPL – Environmental Information and Education Center (EIEC), Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture.

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia

Policy Areas

E-Government, Environment and Climate, Public Service Delivery

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia Design Report 2018-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 5: Activation of an electronic portal for meeting the Environmental Assessment Code requirements

To fulfill the commitment provided for by the OGP Action Plan for 2016-2017 (Commitment #16), Parliament of Georgia on June 1, 2017 adopted an “Environmental Assessment Code” (EAC). The Code regulates the decision-making procedure of a competent body concerning implementation of activities having a serious influence on the environment and human health. In addition, the Code has also introduced tools of making different decisions by competent bodies, which are absolutely new for Georgia. These tools will be activated at a stage-by-stage basis in Georgia.

Since the EAC establishes new decision-making rules, the Ministry’s purpose is to change approaches and practice and find a technical instrument for full-value introduction of new requirements. Accordingly, within the framework of this plan, the government aims at introducing such technical instrument, which will ensure timely and unimpeded access to information and effective participation of society at all the decision-making stages.

Commitment 5: Activation of an electronic portal for meeting the Environmental Assessment Code requirements
Lead Agency LEPL – Environmental Information and Education Center (EIEC), Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture.
Other Involved Actors Public Agency Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia
Civil Society /Private Sector/ International organization
Issues to be Addressed Parliament of Georgia, on June 1, 2017, adopted an “Environmental Assessment Code”. The Code regulates the decision-making procedure of a competent body concerning implementation of activities having a serious influence on the environment and human health. In addition, the Code has also introduced tools of making different decisions by competent bodies, which are absolutely new for Georgia. For effective introduction of new regulation, the existing approaches and practice need to be changed.
Main Objective Ensuring public access to environment-related information and decision-making processes.
OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Citizens Participation Technologies and Innovations
 
Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing commitment Start date: End date:
Identification the possibilities of creating a new portal or of using the existing portals. New October 2018 September 2019
Correct identification of the information to be placed and functions; the portal structure development. New October 2018 January 2019
Activation of the portal; functional loading. New January 2019 June 2019
State-by-stage placement of taken decision before activation of the portal New June 2019 September 2019
Indicator The portal has been activated and contains relevant information; information is timely updated.
Risks and Assumptions Looking for donor aid necessary for making and activating the portal and; Change of activities implementation given the hardware and software problems.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 5: Activation of an Electronic Portal for Meeting the Environmental Assessment Code Requirements

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“To fulfill the commitment provided for by the OGP Action Plan for 2016-2017 (Commitment #16), Parliament of Georgia on June 1, 2017 adopted an ‘Environmental Assessment Code’ (EAC). The Code regulates the decision-making procedure of a competent body concerning implementation of activities having a serious influence on the environment and human health. In addition, the Code has also introduced tools of making different decisions by competent bodies, which are absolutely new for Georgia. These tools will be activated at a stage-by-stage basis in Georgia.

Since the EAC establishes new decision-making rules, the Ministry’s purpose is to change approaches and practice and find a technical instrument for full-value introduction of new requirements. Accordingly, within the framework of this plan, the government aims at introducing such technical instrument, which will ensure timely and unimpeded access to information and effective participation of society at all the decision-making stages.”

Milestones: 

  1. Identification the possibilities of creating a new portal or of using the existing portals
  2. Correct identification of the information to be placed and functions; the portal structure development
  3. Activation of the portal; functional loading
  4. State-by-stage placement of taken decision before activation of the portal 

Start Date: October 2018

End Date: September 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, please see https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/georgia-action-plan-2018-2019/.

Context and Objectives

This commitment continues the goals of Commitment 16 from Georgia’s third action plan (2016–2018). [20] The previous commitment called for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia (MENRP) to adopt the Environmental Assessment Code (EAC). The goal was to bring activities with potential environmental effects under the ministry’s regulation. The previous commitment also aimed to inform citizens about and engage them in the decision-making process for approving these projects. By the end of the third action plan (2018), the ministry had adopted the EAC, but civil society noted several shortcomings in the legal norms around the EAC and its practical implementation. [21]

Building on the activities under the previous commitment and following an Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) initiative, [22] this current commitment aims to further improve access to information about and civic participation in the environmental assessment process. More specifically, it calls for introducing a new web platform for publishing information on the potential environmental impact of planned projects. The new platform will also provide information about the dates and venues for public hearings. The commitment also plans to provide opportunities for citizens to give feedback for each project proposed and thus simplify public involvement in environmental impact assessment processes. [23]

According to OSGF, [24] information by the MENRP on the environment is currently scattered among its different webpages and the webpage of the Environmental Information and Education Center. Accordingly, the information about construction permits and various project proposals is not easily accessible to citizens or environmental organizations. This often results in a public outcry over disorganized construction and development projects.

Therefore, to meet the requirements of the EAC and to ensure public involvement in environmental assessments and decision making, the new platform will allow citizens to easily learn about the environmental impact of government initiatives and the feedback opportunities at earlier stages.

The commitment includes four milestones, namely identification of the need to create a new webpage versus utilizing existing platforms, development of the platform structure and identification of functions and types of information that will be published, gradual placement of the information, and activation of the portal. The commitment is slightly ambiguous in the sequence of activities, outlining “activation of the portal” in Milestone 3 and “stage-by-stage placement of decisions before activation of the portal” in Milestone 4. The commitment does not provide measurable indicators for each planned activity. However, as the planned activities cumulatively entail a tangible product, they are specific enough to be verified. 


If fully implemented, the commitment could have a positive practical impact on how the ministry publishes information and engages interested groups, civil society organizations, and citizens in the decision-making process. As stated by an OSGF representative, this commitment might not transform the status quo, but it provides a practical solution to the existing problems. For example, if citizens can easily find out about an unfavorable construction initiative in their neighborhood and object officially on time, [25] this engagement will create legal ground for relevant administrative agencies to react accordingly. Such engagement can also provide legal ground for a court appeal.

The implementation of this commitment could also mitigate the associated issues outlined by environmental experts, such as insufficient disclosure of information and frequent change of public hearing dates without prior notice to the stakeholders and interested parties. [26] According to the interviewed expert, [27] the platform could help address the existing deficiency in publicly available information about infrastructure projects and their potential impact on the environment. The platform could also encourage greater civic engagement in the decision-making processes around infrastructure projects. Furthermore, it could serve as a tool for evidence-based decision making for relevant administrative agencies. [28]

Next steps

Once the portal is activated and fully functional, the IRM researcher recommends the government promote its utilization and carry out an awareness-raising campaign to ensure that citizens are familiar with the availability of the web portal and its functionality.

[20] Open Government Partnership, “Georgia National Action Plan 2016–2018,” https://bit.ly/2YRRUN7.

[21] Open Government Partnership, End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, p. 52. https://bit.ly/2SgvPFO

[22] The OSGF-proposed commitment to be considered for the 2018–2019 OGP national action plan.

[23] Anano Tsintsabadze, Participatory Democracy Program Project Coordinator, Open Society Georgia Foundation, interview with the IRM researcher, 15 May 2019.

[24] Tsintsabadze interview, 15 May 2019.

[25] Tsintsabadze interview, 15 May 2019.

[26] Open Government Partnership, IRM: Georgia End-of-Term Report 2016–2018, https://bit.ly/2XN8Oix.

[27] Natia Gobejishvili, Advisor at GIZ South Caucasus (Programme-Integrated Biodiversity Management), phone interview with the IRM researcher, 22 October 2019.

[28] Tsintsabadze interview, 15 May 2019.


Commitments

  1. Improved Public Services

    GE0066, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Citizen Engagement Platform

    GE0067, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Unified Authentication System

    GE0068, 2018, E-Government

  4. Economic Governance

    GE0069, 2018, E-Government

  5. Environment Portal

    GE0070, 2018, E-Government

  6. Strengthen Anti-Corruption Institutions

    GE0071, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  7. Monitor SDGs

    GE0072, 2018, Capacity Building

  8. Citizen Engagement Legislation

    GE0073, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  9. Publish Court Decisions

    GE0074, 2018, E-Government

  10. Increasing Transparency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

    GE0075, 2018, E-Government

  11. Citizen Participation in Public Finance

    GE0076, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  12. Transparent Public Funding System

    GE0077, 2018, Fiscal Openness

  13. Public Procurement Improvements

    GE0078, 2018, Access to Information

  14. Housing Policy Planning

    GE0079, 2018, Land Rights and Spatial Planning

  15. Openness and Accountability of State-Owned Enterprises

    GE0080, 2018, E-Government

  16. Transparency and Good Governance

    GE0081, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Open Data Collection and Publication

    GE0082, 2018, Access to Information

  18. Participation for Disabled Individuals

    GE0083, 2018, Infrastructure & Transport

  19. Participatory Budgeting

    GE0084, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Your Idea for the Zugdidi Mayor

    GE0085, 2018, Capacity Building

  21. Electronic Services

    GE0086, 2018, E-Government

  22. I. Gov. Zugdidi

    GE0087, 2018, Capacity Building

  23. Service and Citizen Satisfaction Assessment

    GE0088, 2018, Capacity Building

  24. Promoting and Monitoring SDGs

    GE0089, 2018, Legislative

  25. Citizen Involvement in Budget

    GE0090, 2018, E-Government

  26. Technology for Transparency

    GE0091, 2018, E-Government

  27. Citizen Engagement Center

    GE0092, 2018, Capacity Building

  28. Raising Public Awareness About Parliamentary Democracy

    GE0093, 2018, E-Government

  29. Electronic Innovations for More Transparency and Efficiency of Public Procurement

    GE0056, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  30. Starred commitment Adoption of the Environmental Assessment Code

    GE0057, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  31. Introduction of a Mobile App as an Alternative Channel to Connect to “112”

    GE0058, 2016, E-Government

  32. Development of Local Councils for Crime Prevention

    GE0059, 2016, Justice

  33. Development of a Guidebook for Economic Agents

    GE0060, 2016, Capacity Building

  34. Development and Introduction of the Quality Control Program of Commercial Service

    GE0061, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Presentation of Company Reports in an Electronic Form and Provision of Their Accessibility

    GE0062, 2016, Capacity Building

  36. Introduction of an Electronic Petition Portal and “Zugdidi-INFO” on the Webpage of Zugdidi Municipality Assembly

    GE0063, 2016, Capacity Building

  37. Transparency of Ozurgeti Municipality Assembly Meetings

    GE0064, 2016, Capacity Building

  38. Creation of Electronic Mechanism for Local Budget Planning in Kutaisi, Ozurgeti, Batumi and Akhaltsikhe

    GE0065, 2016, E-Government

  39. Adapting the Public Service Hall to the Needs of the People with Disabilities

    GE0042, 2016, Capacity Building

  40. Launch of the Unified Healthcare System Information Portal

    GE0043, 2016, Capacity Building

  41. Introduction of Electronic Licensing System in the Field of Natural Resources Application

    GE0044, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  42. Creation of Spatial (Geographic) Data Web-Portal for the Energy Sector

    GE0045, 2016, Capacity Building

  43. Creation of Innovation Ecosystem

    GE0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  44. Electronic Portal for Registering and Disposal of State Property – Customer’S Module

    GE0047, 2016, E-Government

  45. Development of the Freedom of Information Law

    GE0048, 2016, Access to Information

  46. Development of a Monitoring and Assessment System of the Government Policy and Legislative Acts

    GE0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  47. Starred commitment Introduction of the Public Officials’ Asset Declarations Monitoring System

    GE0050, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  48. Establishing Unified Regulations to Publish Court Decisions

    GE0051, 2016, Judiciary

  49. Development of Transparency and Integrity Strategy and Action Plan in the Field of Regional Development and Infrastructure

    GE0052, 2016, Capacity Building

  50. Improvement of the Database of the Convicted and Transfer of the Penitentiary Department Entirely Onto the Electronic Workflow Management

    GE0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  51. Publication of Phone Tapping Data According to the Nature of the Crime and Geographic Area

    GE0054, 2016, E-Government

  52. Starred commitment Increasing Citizen Participation in Supervision of Public Finances (Public Audit)

    GE0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  53. "Voice of the Consumer"

    GE0013, 2014, Public Participation

  54. JUSTdrive

    GE0014, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  55. Educational Services

    GE0015, 2014, Education

  56. Citizen's Portal (Www.Mygov.Ge)

    GE0016, 2014, Capacity Building

  57. Transformation of Public Libraries for Regional Development

    GE0017, 2014, Capacity Building

  58. Digital Signature and Online Authentication

    GE0018, 2014, E-Government

  59. Open Data Portal (Data.Gov.Ge)

    GE0019, 2014, Access to Information

  60. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Draft

    GE0020, 2014, Access to Information

  61. Georgia's OGP Forum

    GE0021, 2014, Public Participation

  62. I-Change.Ge

    GE0022, 2014, E-Government

  63. Transparency of Public Service Recruitment

    GE0023, 2014, E-Government

  64. Asset Declaration Monitoring System

    GE0024, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  65. Starred commitment Political Party Financial Declarations

    GE0025, 2014, Access to Information

  66. Accessibility of Ministry of Interior's Webpage to People with Special Needs

    GE0026, 2014, E-Government

  67. Starred commitment Proactive Publishing of Surveillance Data

    GE0027, 2014, Civic Space

  68. Public Awareness of the Electoral Process

    GE0028, 2014, Capacity Building

  69. Transparency of Budgetary Processes

    GE0029, 2014, E-Government

  70. Electronic System of Procurement

    GE0030, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  71. Digital Human Resource Management System

    GE0031, 2014, E-Government

  72. Digital Preservation System: E-Archive

    GE0032, 2014, E-Government

  73. Openness and Accessibility of National Archives

    GE0033, 2014, E-Government

  74. Electronic Catalogues of Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) Archives

    GE0034, 2014, E-Government

  75. Public Finance Management System

    GE0035, 2014, E-Government

  76. Alternative Channels to "112"

    GE0036, 2014, E-Government

  77. Interactive Statistics and Crime Mapping

    GE0037, 2014, E-Government

  78. Travel Insurance Services

    GE0038, 2014, Citizenship & Immigration

  79. State Property Registration

    GE0039, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  80. Development of Community Centers in Georgia

    GE0040, 2014, E-Government

  81. Introduction of e-Governance in Local Self-Governments

    GE0041, 2014, E-Government

  82. Public Service Hall-Hub of Public Services

    GE0001, 2012, Access to Justice

  83. e-Governance in Local Governments

    GE0002, 2012, E-Government

  84. Citizens’ Portal

    GE0003, 2012, E-Government

  85. Easily Accessible and Better Healthcare

    GE0004, 2012, E-Government

  86. Launch Ichange.Ge and Data.Gov.Ge

    GE0005, 2012, E-Government

  87. Platform for Participating in the Legislative Process

    GE0006, 2012, E-Government

  88. Citizens and Justice

    GE0007, 2012, Access to Justice

  89. Starred commitment Transparent Party Financing

    GE0008, 2012, Political Integrity

  90. Home-Grown Concept of E-Procurement

    GE0009, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  91. e-Declarations

    GE0010, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  92. Technology Cares for Safety: ICCMS, Crime Mapping, and Safety in Your Neighbourhood

    GE0011, 2012, E-Government

  93. NGO Forum

    GE0012, 2012, Capacity Building

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