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Georgia

Participatory Budgeting (GE0084)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Batumi Municipality City Hall

Support Institution(s): USAID-funded Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI); Forum-member NGOs.

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Fiscal Openness, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy, Subnational

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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 4: Improving citizen engagement in budgetary processes in Batumi City through introduction of an institutional mechanism of participatory budgeting

The transparent and purposeful planning of the local budget with wide citizen engagement is the priority task of Batumi Municipality City Hall.

For improving citizen engagement in the budgetary processes, Batumi Municipality City hall shall develop and introduce an institutional mechanism of participatory budgeting.

Commitment 4: Improving citizen engagement in budgetary processes in Batumi City through introduction of an institutional mechanism of participatory budgeting
Lead Agency Batumi Municipality City Hall
Other Involved Actors Public Agency
Civil Society/ Private Sector /International organization USAID-funded Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI); Forum-member NGOs.
Issues to be Addressed A significant part of a new wave of the local self-government reform represents the introduction of new mechanisms of citizen engagement in the decision-making process at a local level and the creation of real facilities.
The lack of institutional mechanisms necessary for participatory budgeting is a serious challenge for Batumi Municipality City Hall. A problematic issue is also the low motivation of citizen engagement in the budgetary processes, which seriously affects the engagement intensity and quality.
Main Objective Improvement of citizen engagement in the budgetary processes
OGP Challenge Better management of public resources
OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Civil Participation Technology and Innovation
  
Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing commitment Start date End date
Establishment of district contacts in the Batumi City Municipality Budget according to the city’s administration units New First quarter 2018 October 2018
Approval of the relevant legislative framework for introducing an institutional mechanism of participatory budgeting New Third quarter
2018 October 2018
Promotion of the system of participatory budgeting; raising citizen awareness. New Third quarter
2018 December 2018
Conduct of the participatory budgeting process New Third quarter
2018 December 2018
Allocation of respective amounts in the 2019 Batumi City Municipality Budget for implementing a project/projects identified during the participatory budgeting New Fourth quarter
2018 December 2018
Promotion of the participatory budgeting results New Fourth quarter
2018 March 2019

Indicator  District contacts have been established according to the city’s administration units;
 The relevant legislative framework for participatory budgeting has been approved;
 The system of participatory budgeting has been introduced;
 Amounts for implementing a project/projects identified during the participatory budgeting have been allocated in the 2019 Budget.
Risks and Assumptions The issue is complex and its successful implementation depends on the engagement of the respective donor and civil society.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 19: Improving Citizen Engagement in Budgetary Processes in Batumi City through Introduction of an Institutional Mechanism of Participatory Budgeting

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

“The transparent and purposeful planning of the local budget with wide citizen engagement is the priority task of Batumi Municipality City Hall.

For improving citizen engagement in the budgetary processes, Batumi Municipality City hall shall develop and introduce an institutional mechanism of participatory budgeting.

A significant part of a new wave of the local self-government reform represents the introduction of new mechanisms of citizen engagement in the decision-making process at a local level and the creation of real facilities.

The lack of institutional mechanisms necessary for participatory budgeting is a serious challenge for Batumi Municipality City Hall. A problematic issue is also the low motivation of citizen engagement in the budgetary processes, which seriously affects the engagement intensity and quality."

Milestones: 

  1. Establishment of district contacts in the Batumi City Municipality Budget according to the city’s administration units
  2. Approval of the relevant legislative framework for introducing an institutional mechanism of participatory budgeting
  3. Promotion of the system of participatory budgeting; raising citizen awareness.
  4. Conduct of the participatory budgeting process 
  5. Allocation of respective amounts in the 2019 Batumi City Municipality Budget for implementing a project/projects identified during the participatory budgeting
  6. Promotion of the participatory budgeting results

Start Date: January 2018

End Date: March 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

Under Commitment 24 from Georgia’s third action plan (2016–2018), the municipalities of Akhaltsikhe , Batumi, Kutaisi, and Ozurgeti aimed to introduce an electronic mechanism for local budget planning. [104] Specifically, the four municipalities committed to establish electronic “Plan City Budgets” to help identify local budget priorities and plan accordingly. [105] In 2019, Batumi Municipality Town Hall created the web platform idea.batumi.ge, which enables citizens to register their ideas and vote for their preferred projects. The United States Agency for International Development’s Good Governance Initiative (USAID GGI) has been actively supporting these municipalities in successfully implementing the commitment through a joint grant with the Estonian Foreign Ministry. The grant was issued for the e-Governance Academy of Estonia and its local partner, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information. [106]

With this current commitment, Batumi Municipality Town Hall, with the support of USAID GGI, aims to enhance civic participation in budgetary planning processes through institutionalizing the participatory planning mechanisms. To promote idea.batumi.ge and support participative mechanisms, the municipality will create district unions in each of its administrative units. District unions will organize residents in each district and represent a structural unit for their participation. Secondly, the municipality will institutionalize participation mechanisms through relevant legislation and define Town Hall’s obligations for ensuring citizen participation. Lastly, with USAID GGI's support, the municipality will conduct an awareness-raising campaign to promote the opportunities for participatory budgeting and disseminate the results. The goal of this commitment is to raise public awareness about participatory budgeting opportunities and institutionalize participatory mechanisms. Thus, it is relevant to the OGP values of access to information and civic participation.

The commitment’s activities are specific enough to be verified. However, it is unclear from the commitment and milestones how the participatory budgeting will take place and in what form citizens will be able to participate. If fully implemented, this commitment could provide a new mechanism through which Batumi residents can allocate the municipal budget according to their preferences. The creation of district unions could also contribute to higher levels of citizen engagement in self-governance processes. The district unions will serve as liaisons between the public and the municipality, and those unions will support popularization of participatory budget mechanisms. [107] However, it should be noted that opposition political parties see the creation of district unions as a potential tool for the governing party to utilize unions for its political goals, such as employing party activists and promoting the party’s interests. [108]

If fully implemented, this commitment cumulatively, with the launch of the idea.batumi.ge platform, could help institutionalize public participation in the budget processes in Batumi Municipality. However, as the commitment is limited in budget and scale—allowing only 120.000 GEL total allocation for up to three citizen-proposed projects—this commitment could have a minor potential impact.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends that Batumi Municipality clarify the process for conducting the participatory budgeting exercise. Specifics should include how the municipality intends to organize the public consultations, collect feedback, and translate that information into concrete budget proposals. The IRM researcher also recommends ensuring the elaboration of a mechanism that allows locals to be involved throughout the whole cycle of the budget planning, to define the priority setting and budgeting decisions. Furthermore, the IRM researcher recommends requiring the municipal government to analyze the results of priorities identified by the citizens and publish publicly the comparison between the citizen-prioritized budget and the final approved budget. If differences between the priorities identified by citizens and the thematic priorities in the actual budget are identified, the regulation should clearly define the steps to be taken by the municipality to ensure the voices of citizens are heard and considered.

To further increase citizen engagement in the budgetary planning processes, the IRM researcher recommends increasing the amount of allocated budget as well as the number of projects. Also, the IRM researcher recommends the government continue conducting an awareness-raising campaign through media, public discussions, and social networks to maximize public engagement. The IRM researcher also recommends that the electronic participatory platform not only provide space for citizen-prompted discussions, crowdsourcing ideas, and comments but also ensure there is a mechanism for local government response to the issues raised during the discussion.

On the national level, the IRM researcher recommends applying a more unified approach in implementing participatory budgeting mechanisms in all municipalities in Georgia. Development of a unified participatory budgeting approach for all municipalities could contribute to sustainable participatory budgeting practices. This recommendation emphasizes the importance of the previous IRM recommendation on the development of a unified approach across the country. 

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

[105] Open Government Partnership, IRM: Georgia End-of-Term Report2016–2018, https://bit.ly/2XN8Oix.

[106] Open Government Partnership, IRM: Georgia Progress Report 2016–2018, https://bit.ly/2XKZWpP.

[107] Akaki Gvianidze, Head of Department of Municipal Services at Agency of Municipal Services, Batumi City Hall, interview with IRM researcher, 11 June 2019.

[108] Grass Fact-Check, “District Unions—New Partners of the Local Governance?” 17 July 2019, https://bit.ly/2Lpas4j.


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 & 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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