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07.11.2013 15:43

Society Must Know What Benefit Can Open Management Partnership Bring to Georgia

Aleksandre Keshelashvili
Interview

გიორგი კლდიაშვილი

At the annual summit of Open Management Partnership held in London, Georgia, along with other countries, has as well presented its plan for the further development of the country’s transparency, accountability and openness in 2014-2015.

The Minister of Justice of Georgia Tea Tsulukiani has acquainted the quests attending the summit with the Georgia’s project. She spoke regarding the availability of public information and further development of its electronic inquiry. Georgia has also presented a legislation for proactive publication of information within the framework of the summit, and the Head of Information for Development of Freedom of Information(IDFI) has been interviewed by Media.Ge with reference to the issue.

What aspects have been discussed at Open Management Partnership London summit?

-“The summit of the Open Management Partnership is held once a year in a country that takes leadership in the open management and is the Head of Secretariat. This year’s summit has been held in London, which hosted the governments, NGOs, representatives of academic circles, journalists, experts, etc. of the countries participating in the partnership.

Georgia has been participating in the Open Management Partnership since 2011, and also assumed concrete liabilities in April 2012. It’s been the first large-scale meeting since then. At the summarizing meeting of the year, the governments had each presented one initiative, which will be included in the next action plan.

Could you clarify what does the Open Management Partnership itself implies, within the framework of which responsibilities and initiatives are being presented, so that the reader has better understanding of the summit’s role?

- The basic issues of Open Management Partnership itself are: enhancement of responsibility, transparency and open management, as well as the development of innovations and joint participation of citizens in the management. Open Management Partnership Consists of governmental and non-governmental sectors. The leading government and the non-governmental Secretariat, which ensures the participation of the civil society, function on the basis of rotation and change every year.

Within the framework of these basic provisions, certain concrete liabilities are then taken. The London summit has been of special importance due to the fact that Georgia has won in the so-called nomination of successful stories, and presented, along with the other 6 finalists, its own successful project dealing with the ensuring of the civil society’s participation and implementation of the electronic inquiry system of information.

The law came into force since September 1?

-Yes, the law has been functioning since September 1, and this is one of our accomplishments in Open Management Partnership. I have personally attended the London Summit in the capacity of IDFI Head, as it’s IDFI that has nominated that successful project. Open Society Partnership has in turn included our country in the list of the finalists.

In addition, along with the NGO sector, representatives of the Georgian government have as well attended the summit. Those were: the Minister of Justice and representatives of the Analytical Department of the Ministry of Justice. The Chancellery of the Georgian government was represented by the Parliamentary Secretary and Head of the Legal Department. The Georgian Minister of Justice has announced another important project, which will be included in the action plan for 2014. It is a reform of the information freedom legislation and implementation of the Commissioner’s Institute of Information Freedom in Georgia. The launch of data.gov.ge website has been yet another important initiative, which will provide open data, governmental information and the option of electronic inquiry of information. A platform for proactive publication of information will be implemented as well.

Apart from the inherent effect of those innovations, what other benefit can Georgia have by fulfilling that responsibility within the framework of Open Management Partnership?

-This is an agreement entirely based on a voluntary initiative, where the governments of the participant counties are engaged in a transparency competition, and  share their respective practices with one another. Governmental agencies must in the first place give an account, within the frame of Open Management Partnership, to the society regarding those accomplished or unaccomplished liabilities they have taken.

Does Open Management Partnership imply any sanctions in case the liabilities haven’t been fulfilled?

-No, there are no such sanctions. As I’ve told you, this is an organization united on the voluntary basis, therefore, it doesn’t imply any strict measures. It’s up to a government whether or not to fulfill certain liabilities. That just reflects on the attitude of the population towards that certain government, as it affects the attitude of the population when a liability taken hasn’t been fulfilled. Open Management Partnership is just a competition in open management between the 61 countries currently being the participants of the Partnership. It’s notable that their number is expected to grow even more in the future.

You’ve mentioned the initiative of the Ministry of Justice within the next action plan, and is IDFI itself planning to present news projects?

-We are preparing various recommendations, improve and refine them, as Georgia has to present the new action plan no later than March 2014. We believe, however, that we’ll present the plan even sooner. The topic of the freedom of information is just one of those numerous issues we’re working on together with the government and other NGOs. IDFI is actively working not only on the development of recommendations, but also on advocating with the government. I want to stress it once more that this summit has been very successful for Georgia. Our country has made substantial bid on the international tribune, and I think it will be even more active in the future in Open Management Partnership.

It’s interesting to know the degree of citizens’ involvement and awareness regarding new initiatives?

- Not only the society, but also public figures aren’t informed for that matter. In this respect we have a project supported by USAID, in which we’re trying to increase the level of citizens’ awareness and recognizability towards Open Management Partnership. Within the framework of the project we meet and deliver trainings to public figures and various groups of citizens: ethnic minorities, persons with limited capabilities, teachers, students, representatives of NGOs and the media, and try to make that information more available for wide sections of population. Society must know how Open Management Partnership can benefit Georgia. In addition, we as well talk about the benefits of the proactive publication of information, as not many people know how to efficiently take advantage of those liabilities, neither they know where can they obtain such information, get it electronically, etc.

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