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Update on Georgia’s Response Policy Case

Washington, D.C. – The Criteria & Standards Subcommittee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee has released its findings on concerns raised by Georgian civil society, within the framework of OGP’s Policy on Upholding the Values and Principles of OGP, commonly known as the Response Policy, in 2023.

According to the Review Report of the concerns, there is evidence that points to the veracity of key complaints: e.g. the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence (withdrawn in 2023 and announced to be reintroduced in April 2024), and restricted access to information contravene core OGP values in the Open Government Declaration. These measures also undermine the commitment made by all members upon joining the Partnership, including “ to protect the ability of not-for-profit and civil society organizations to operate in ways consistent with our commitment to freedom of expression, association, and opinion”.

In line with Response Policy guidelines, the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee will issue recommendations for ‘stage one actions.’ This includes prompting the Government of Georgia to devise a work plan with the C&S Subcommittee and the OGP Support Unit outlining how it intends to address the concerns raised by Georgian civil society. In formulating this work plan, the Government of Georgia is urged to consider pertinent third-party recommendations, such as those offered by the European Commission within the framework of Georgia’s EU accession process.

Chief Executive Officer of OGP, Sanjay Pradhan welcomed the efforts of the Criteria & Standards Subcommittee to ensure that OGP values are upheld. “Any potential legislation that may curb fundamental freedoms in Georgia is deeply concerning. Measures that contribute to the erosion of civic space and fundamental freedoms, including of expression, association, and information, such as those that have arisen in this case, require urgent attention”, said Sanjay Pradhan, CEO of OGP.

The Review Report and the draft C&S recommendations have been shared with the Government of Georgia and the nine civil society organizations that filed the concerns for their feedback ahead of the Subcommittee’s formal approval, scheduled for early May 2024.

“We urge the Georgian government to address the issues raised and collaborate with the OGP to define a work plan. The ability of civil society to operate freely is crucial, serving as the cornerstone of open government. It’s disheartening to see these circumstances in a country that used to chair the Open Government Partnership,” said Lucy McTernan, Civil Society Co-Chair of the OGP´s Criteria and Standards Subcommittee.

Georgia has been a member of OGP since its outset in 2011 and has since co-created five action plans with civil society organizations, including its current 2023-2025 action plan. Learn more about Georgia’s participation in OGP here. All materials related to the response policy case are available here.  

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