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Georgia

Raising Public Awareness About Parliamentary Democracy (GE0093)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Parliament of Georgia

Support Institution(s): Initiator: GIZ Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Project; GYLA; IDFI; UNDP; Amiran Janjghava, Rustavi City Council Member

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Parliaments, Participation in Lawmaking, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance, Sustainable Development Goals

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia Transitional Results Report 2018-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

5. Raising Public Awareness about Parliamentary Democracy
Lead Agency Parliament of Georgia

Partners Public Institution Initiator: Parliament of Georgia
Civil/International/Private Sector Initiator: GIZ Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Project; GYLA; IDFI; UNDP; Amiran Janjghava, Rustavi City Council Member
Current Situation and Challenges A large part of the public in Georgia is not fully informed about the activities of the Parliament and its systemic reforms. This greatly impedes the establishment of democratic and inclusive governance. To solve this problem, the Parliament of Georgia must develop a communication strategy involving the organization of various events, such as information campaigns and public meetings, use of social networks (e.g. Facebook) and production of informational materials. An awareness raising campaign on parliamentary activities will promote the formation of an informed society and more active citizen engagement in the lawmaking process. This will also significantly increase public trust towards the legislative authority.

Main Objective

Raising public awareness about the Parliament and its openness and promoting citizen engagement in parliamentary activities.
OGP Challenge Improving Citizen Engagement

OGP Principles Access to Information
Accountability
Citizen Engagement
Technology and Innovation

ü ü ü ü
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) the Commitment addresses Goal 16 and Goal 17

Milestones New/Old Commitment Start Date End Date
1. Development and approval of the communications strategy and action plan of the Permanent Parliamentary Open Governance Council (GYLA) 08/2018 12/2018
2. Determining the frequency of direct TV and Radio broadcasting for Parliamentary Committee and Plenary Sessions (Parliament of Georgia) 10/2018 06/2019
3. Dissemination of information about parliamentary services available to citizens, including services adapted to people with special needs (Parliament of Georgia, UNDP, IDFI) 09/2018 Carried out Systematically
4. Development of a concept for social network communication of the Parliament of Georgia (IDFI) 09/2018 11/2018
5. Production and dissemination of informational materials (comics, flyers, video clips), including materials adapted to people with special needs about the Parliament and its activities (Parliament of Georgia, GIZ Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Project) 09/2018 12/2019
6. Organizing informational meetings with students and youth organizations – Day of the Parliament in Universities (Parliament of Georgia) 10/2018 Carried out Systematically
7. Keeping statistics on citizen comments and petitions. Granting points to active citizens (e.g. 1 point per comment) and publishing a rating of most active citizens on the Parliament website (Amiran Janjghava, Rustavi City Council member) 10/2018 12/2019
8. Establishing the ‘Active Citizen’ award for citizens who are actively involved in the activities of the Parliament through various instruments: comments, electronic petitions, attendance at committee hearings (Amiran Janjghava, Rustavi City Council member) 10/2018 12/2019
Indicators
Activity 1 (GYLA) • The Communications Strategy and Action Plan of the Permanent Parliamentary Open Governance Council define communication priorities and main activities for at least 2 years.
Activity 2 (Parliament of Georgia) • The law has been amended to determine the frequency of direct TV and radio broadcasting of Parliamentary Committee and Plenary Sessions.
Activity 3 (Parliament of Georgia, UNDP, IDFI) • Information about adapted parliamentary services has been prepared and disseminated.
• Information meetings have been held with stakeholders about access to parliamentary services.
Activity 4 (IDFI) • The concept for social network communication has been elaborated.
Activity 5 (Parliament of Georgia, GIZ Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Project) • Information materials about the Parliament and its activities have been produced and disseminated through the Parliament website, social media and various institutions (Public Service Halls, Schools, etc.).
Activity 6 (Parliament of Georgia) • At least 5 meetings have been held in Tbilisi and the regions.
Activity 7 (Amiran Janjgava, Rustavi City Council Member) • A rating of citizen activity has been created and published on the Parliament website.
Activity 8 (Amiran Janjgava, Rustavi City Council Member) • The Active Citizen Award has been established by the Order of the Parliamentary Speaker.
• At least 1 citizen has been awarded.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 28: Raising Public Awareness about Parliamentary Democracy

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

“A large part of the public in Georgia is not fully informed about the activities of the Parliament and its systemic reforms. This greatly impedes the establishment of democratic and inclusive governance. To solve this problem, the Parliament of Georgia must develop a communication strategy involving the organization of various events, such as information campaigns and public meetings, use of social networks (e.g. Facebook) and production of informational materials. An awareness raising campaign on parliamentary activities will promote the formation of an informed society and more active citizen engagement in the lawmaking process. This will also significantly increase public trust towards the legislative authority.”

Milestones: 

  1. Development and approval of the communications strategy and action plan of the Permanent Parliamentary Open Governance Council (GYLA)
  2. Determining the frequency of direct TV and Radio broadcasting for Parliamentary Committee and Plenary Sessions (Parliament of Georgia)
  3. Dissemination of information about parliamentary services available to citizens, including services adapted to people with special needs (Parliament of Georgia, UNDP, IDFI)
  4. Development of a concept for social network communication of the Parliament of Georgia (IDFI)
  5. Production and dissemination of informational materials (comics, flyers, video clips), including materials adapted to people with special needs about the Parliament and its activities (Parliament of Georgia, GIZ Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Project)
  6. Organizing informational meetings with students and youth organizations – Day of the Parliament in Universities (Parliament of Georgia)
  7. Keeping statistics on citizen comments and petitions. Granting points to active citizens (e.g. 1 point per comment) and publishing a rating of most active citizens on the Parliament website (Amiran Janjghava, Rustavi City Council member)
  8. Establishing the ‘Active Citizen’ award for citizens who are actively involved in the activities of the Parliament through various instruments: comments, electronic petitions, attendance at committee hearings (Amiran Janjghava, Rustavi City Council member)

Start Date: August 2018

End Date: December 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

Large amounts of information are published on Georgia’s parliamentary webpage and social media channels, but the way information is framed and delivered is not always useful or engaging for citizens. Accordingly, this commitment comprises eight milestones with a collective goal of raising public awareness about Parliament as an institution, its activities, and recent open government reforms.

According to an interviewed Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) representative, [148] Parliament has already institutionalized several mechanisms that provide opportunities for citizens to become more informed and engaged in decision making. [149] However, there was a need to increase public awareness about the opportunities that Parliament provides under the OGP framework. Hence, in efforts initiated by GYLA and supported by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Parliament has committed to develop an Open Governance Permanent Parliamentary Council communication strategy and an action plan. The plan will provide a framework for institutionalizing a communication approach as well as particular steps for 2019–2020.

Along with the communication strategy, Parliament also plans to develop several conceptual documents and informational materials to maximize utilization of communication channels. These channels include direct TV and radio broadcasting for committee hearings and plenaries, social networking, information booklets, flyers, and short videos. The commitment also envisions targeted informational meetings with students and youth organizations, as well as dissemination of information about the available parliamentary services. Such services include those adapted to people with special needs. Finally, Parliament plans to introduce an Active Citizen award for those who are most actively involved in parliamentary activities, including attendance at committee hearings, online comments, petitions, and more. To do this, Parliament will collect statistical data relevant to citizen participation and proactively publish the rating of the most active citizens in the country.

The commitment’s activities generally aim to make information on Parliament more accessible and raise public awareness about Parliament. Thus, it is relevant to the OGP value of access to information. Additionally, the Active Citizen award seeks to promote greater public engagement with Parliament, making the commitment also relevant to civic participation. Overall, the potential impact of this commitment could be minor. Each activity could be a positive step forward to improve the various communication channels of Parliament. According to the stakeholders, [150] in general, the implementation of this commitment could increase public awareness about parliamentary activities and opportunities, and it might also stimulate higher participation in OGP-related activities, such as action plan elaboration. It could also improve overall engagement in the parliamentary processes through the utilization of various mechanisms that have been created under the OGP framework. [151]

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends the following:

  • Elaborate an evaluation mechanism that will assess the effectiveness and overall impact of the commitment. This could include developing a methodology that will enable analysis of aggregate data collected through various sources, such as online participation, mobile application, [152] the Civic Engagement Center, [153] and other participation channels.
  • Parliament should expand its communication channels to the regions nationwide through direct communication and various public outreach campaigns.

Make the commitment more ambitious and comprehensive. Elaborate the communication policy and strategy of the Parliament, setting the general institutional framework for external communication and defining specific goals, objectives, and communication channels of Parliament as an institution. The milestones under this commitment would represent a part of the Parliament’s institutional communication policy and strategy. Further, the milestones would contribute to the implementation of the Parliament’s strategic goal to raise public awareness of and participation in the decision making.

[148] Nino Tsukhishvili, Parliamentary Secretary, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, phone interview with IRM researcher, 5 July 2019.

[149] Tsukhishvili phone interview, July 2019.

[150] Tsukhishvili phone interview, July 2019.

[151] Tsukhishvili phone interview, July 2019.

[152] Commitment 26, Georgia national action plan 2018–2019, https://bit.ly/2XLXiju.

[153] Commitment 27, Georgia national action plan 2018–2019, https://bit.ly/2XLXiju.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

28. Raise public awareness about parliamentary democracy

Open Parliament

Limited

With support from the EU and UNDP and in cooperation with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Parliament developed the Open Governance Permanent Parliamentary Council Communication strategy and Action Plan for 2019-2020, along with a "Social Media Communication Strategy”. [103] These documents were approved in 2019. [104]

Parliament held five informational meetings with students and youth organizations, but the frequency of TV and radio broadcasting for committee hearings was not determined and information on available parliamentary services (including materials adapted to people with special needs) was still in the planning stage in 2019. Parliament reported that, in 2020, it carried out awareness raising by preparing booklets with information on the Citizens Reception Center, online services of parliament, “parliament available for all” (including for people with special needs), and tours of parliament. [105]

While parliament collected statistical data to identify the most active citizens in the country, it has not published this information. Furthermore, parliament has not yet introduced the planned Active Citizen Award for the most actively involved citizens in parliamentary activities. [106]

[103] Parliament of Georgia, Open Governance Permanent Parliament Council Communication strategy and Action Plan for 2019-2020; 2019, https://bit.ly/3eqGjNM
[104] Parliament of Georgia, Social Network Communication Strategy, 2019, https://bit.ly/3erSZUq       
[105] See https://web-api.parliament.ge/storage/files/shares/OGP/ogp-angarishebi/2020-ogp-sabchos-saqmianobis-SHUALEDURI-angarishi.pdf#page=15&zoom=100,86,680. In addition, with support from the EU and UNDP and in cooperation with IDFI, a Guide to Citizen Engagement and 10 different leaflets were produced. They provided information on engagement tools available for citizens to get involved in parliamentary processes, including e-petitions, legislative initiatives, differences between petitions and legislative proposals, and thematic inquiries. (Information provided to the IRM by Sophie Guruli (UNDP) during the pre-publication period of this report, 5 May 2021.
[106] Parliament of Georgia, Implementation report of Open Parliament Action Plan 2018-2019, 2020, available here


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Open Government Partnership