Participatory Democracy Program

Over the past three years, OSGF has been leading the process of local self-governance reform. The government adopted the new Code on Local Self-Governance that was originally drafted by OSGF. After its passage, for the first time in 2014, citizens directly elected mayors in all municipal districts. An introduction of the shared tax system allowed municipal units to independently accumulate certain portion of income tax into local budgets.

However, progress in the legislative field has not yet led to increased government accountability and wider public participation. Therefore, in 2017-2020 OSGF will focus on improving participatory forms in local democracy.  OSGF will support local actors such as CSOs, civic movements and individuals in generating positive examples of accountability through public participation, primarily in the areas of public finances, urban development and social policy.

OSGF will work to empower local activists and initiative groups in the regions through providing these groups with continuous teaching on community mobilization and community advocacy and support them in conducting community debates oriented on finding feasible solutions to common problems. We aim for an effective combination of expertise, self-organization and persistent civic actions coupled with an intensive use of legal instruments such as the right to information.

OSGF, in cooperation with experts and Tbilisi-based partner CSOs, will work with the central government to create institutionalized forms of participatory planning. OSGF plans to elaborate comprehensive policy for participatory planning and budgeting that includes the creation of transparency, and civic engagement standards, and advocate for its adoption. We will also support creation of citizens' councils under municipal bodies to develop, monitor, and conduct hearings for development initiatives. In this process, we also plan to use strategic public interest litigations in the common courts of Georgia.

On top of this, the Foundation will keep its focus on the global initiative of Open Government Partnership (OGP) as a channel for reforming the governance process in Tbilisi.  In February 2016, OSGF pushed the Tbilisi local government to apply for the OGP pilot program that is designed for sub-national governments and aims to advance accountability and participation. Tbilisi as a selected pioneer of the program is expected to undertake commitments in 2017 and pursue their implementation in 2017-2018. OSGF will also closely monitor the progress Georgia makes towards fulfilling its commitments under the OGP and elaborate a report for the international community interested in the pilot program.





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