21 Sep 2016 - 11:16
"We are proud that Georgia can serve as an example of how all three branches of government can be efficiently involved in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) process”, says Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
Kvirikashvili spoke these words at the OPG’s 5 Year Anniversary event in New York, United States (US) last night.
OPG is an international platform uniting 69 foreign states to empower open and effective governance worldwide. Currently Georgia is co-chair of the platform.
At the event Georgia’s highest official said since the establishment of the partnership, Georgia had come a long way in addressing various challenges.
"Together, we can truly say that we have made this partnership a success. We initiated a freedom of information reform with a special emphasis on open data and accessibility of National Archives," he said while described Georgia's reforms under the OGP umbrella.
Listen to the PM’s full speech below.
According to the Prime Minister, Georgia had fundamentally modified its civil service.
"We put in place an effective asset declarations monitoring system and encouraged our citizens to get involved in the process of improving public service delivery. Shortly after my return to Georgia from this forum, my cabinet will adopt a 3rd National Action Plan for Georgia - a result of intense cooperation between the Government, civil society, business sector, international organisations and citizen groups from all over the country.”
Kvirikashvili stressed his team had also successfully implemented the Open Government Georgia Forum; a permanent dialogue mechanism which brings together Government members and civil society to push forward open government reforms. He believed the roots of Georgia's success must be sought in co-creation and inclusiveness of Government efforts at all levels.
Kvirikashvili also added it was unacceptable to stop at the current achievements and it was important to raise questions and set new challenges.
"We need to remind ourselves why the platform was created: it is aimed to improve the daily lives of our citizens yet only few people know about the OGP, how it operates, or what goals and objectives it pursues.”
The Georgian leader said analysis of OGP national action plans showed the majority of commitments taken by member governments were associated with improving governments' own efficiencies, open data and budget transparency.
"We lack commitments related to civil, political or socio-economic rights - something that has far greater impact on our citizens," he said.
Looking forward, Kvirikashvili believed it was essential to raise certain questions, such as:
"Public consultations under the 2nd Action Plan in Georgia revealed that the better we are at delivering public services, the closer we get to our citizens," he said.
"We therefore designed a new project titled The Voice of the Costumer, which guarantees direct communication with citizens on services they receive from the Public Service Hall, a special public service hub in Georgia. We committed to informing each citizen on the steps we were taking to respond to their suggestions and ideas.”
Georgia’s top official agreed the OGP's achievements and strategic plans were well recognised by all who were familiar with the agency’s operations but it still remained relatively unknown to the wider public. With Georgia, as co-chair of the partnership, Kvirikashvili was keen to raise more public awareness of the agency.
"We firmly believe that promoting the OGP's message across the globe and bringing it to the attention of as many people as possible should be a leadership priority in the years to come. It is a powerful tool for citizens across the world to demand more open and more responsive policies from their governments,” he said.
The OPG’s 5 Year Anniversary event was co-chaired by Kvirikashvili, President of France Francois Hollande and President of South Africa Jacob Zuma.