Open Parliament Action Plan 2015-2016 Second Monitoring Report - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო
GEO

Open Parliament Action Plan 2015-2016 Second Monitoring Report

20 January, 2017

The 2015-2016 Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan consisted of 18 commitments and was drafted by the Inter-Factional Group of the Parliament of Georgia, which was comprised of CSOs and deputies from each parliamentary faction. The purpose of the Action Plan was ‘to support the increase of public involvement and openness regarding the Parliamentary documents and activities’.

 

15 out of the 18 commitments in the OP Action Plan were proposed by the civil society organizations that are members of the Consultative Group. The remaining three commitments were proposed by the Georgian Parliament’s office and an individual MP.

Notably, the majority of the fulfilled milestones of the OP Action Plan, such as the drafting of concept notes, budget and amendments, have been prepared largely by the non-governmental organizations from the Consultative Group. Moreover, several milestones in the OP Action Plan lacked proper indicators, which made it difficult to objectively assess their implementation.

While the formulation and deliberation part of the Action Plan 2015-2016 was a success, there have been serious errors and failures on part of the state legislature to deliver due and proper implementation. The negligence and improper approaches by the state legislature has resulted in majority of commitments being left unfulfilled, and the majority of the fulfilled commitments being delivered late. There is a credible threat that the same errors will be repeated in the adoption of the second Open Parliament Action Plan.

Notably, there have been three major pitfalls on behalf of the Parliament that has resulted in the mediocre implementation process. These are the following:

 

1) Lack of timetables for implementation

 

The Parliament has failed to formulate a clear timetable indicating when each of the indicators for the commitments have to be fulfilled. While it is true that each commitment had deadline for implementations, there was no specific timetable that would allow the implementing departments to show how the process would be handled. This has resulted in commitments having their fulfillment dragged out till the very end of the process, with majority of them failing to meet due deadlines.

2) Lack of coordination within the Permanent Council

 

The Open Parliament processes are governed by the Parliament’s Permanent Council on Open Governance and Transparency. The Council is composed of a Chairperson, which is appointed by the Chairperson of the Parliament, and representatives from each Parliamentary faction. Coordination between the faction representatives and their respective factions has proven to be weak, with some members of the Parliament, including those carrying significant weight in the decision-making process, unaware of the major deliberations and agreements secured by the Permanent Council. This lack of coordination has resulted in the stalling of commitments, especially those that had been prepared and finalized in the form of amendments.

 

3) Lack of political will to push for significant reforms

The Open Parliament Action Plan 2015-2016 was initially written and approved with an ambitious mindset, with several of the commitments being spelled out in a way that would bring about radical reforms in the work of the Parliament. These ambitions, however, have not translated into the post-adoption period of the Action Plan. Interpretations of the written commitments have significantly differed from the initial ones, and some commitments have been watered down to accommodate for the lack of political will to push for actual tangible changes to the Parliament’s work. For example, the Permanent Council scrapped the commitment to adopt a legally-binding Code of Ethics with sanctions, opting instead to adopt a document of basic principles with little to no enforceable power.

 

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