Nino Khukhua (LDA Georgia, Executive Director)
Local Democracy Agency Georgia (LDA Georgia)
Which is the most significant and paradigmatic story of a development
partnership that you have experienced?
Georgian Parliament approved the new chapter “Citizens' participation in local governance” in the Code of Georgian Local Governance (22.07.2015). In 2016, LDA Georgia was actively involved in the implementation process of the new civic engagement mechanisms based on the Code of Georgian Local Governance within the Project “Participate in Governance”, in particular:
LDA Georgia, together with other CSOs (15-20 NGO), academia, media, local government officials and business representatives among others created and facilitated (LDA Georgia) a working group on citizen engagement methods and their real-life application mechanisms. This working group invited a foreign expert from the European Association for Local Democracies, who conducted a desk research on best international practices of citizen engagement, consolidated information and shared it with the advisory group on a regular basis. In cooperation and strong collaboration with the expert, the working group developed and published (200 copies) a guideline on citizen engagement and its real-life application mechanisms.
- Guideline on citizen engagement mechanisms for decision makers and citizens.
LDA Georgia conducted regular meetings with the Imereti region municipalities to advocate for the guidelines’ approval and further legislate on citizen engagement forms and mechanisms as recommended by the working group and expert’ guidelines. LDA Georgia conducted trainings in the settlements on self-government, advocacy, civic mobilization and citizen engagement. Finally, trained citizens and the working group members co-organized the community-wide meetings in all 6 settlements in order to elect the Leader (Rcheuli).
The elected Leaders together with the community members present at these ongoing meetings identified the community problems and created action plans accordingly in order to properly address them.
- Brochure about CSOs working group on the civil / citizen engagement in Imereti (Georgia).
Which was the monitoring role of the CSOs?
“Community meetings” are quite new mechanisms for citizen engagement in Georgia as stated and described in laws (Code) on local governance, but they are not too often implemented without the support and guidance of a CSO-wide organization such as LDA Georgia.
Through this Project (“Participate in Governance”), trained citizens and the working group members co-organized the community-wide meetings in all 6 settlements to elect the Leader (Rcheuli). More than 20 percent of registered voters came to the meeting, and chose their leader (“Rcheuli”) the upper village resident, Mr. Gocha Nutsubidze. Community members discussed the new road building project scheduled for 2017.
Bringing in consultation and
involvement of the community
affected by the project
What type of monitoring of government-led DPs is occurring in your country?
Open to all stakeholders,
and include their ideas
Open to all stakeholders, but doesn’t include their ideas
Open to a few, chosen stakeholders, and include their ideas
Open to a few, chosen stakeholders, but does not include their ideas
Not open at all
Which are the actors or development agents that had participated in
the Development partnership that you describe in this story?
Kutaisi city hall as the public body; ALDA and LDA Georgia as part of civil society members.
During meetings attendees spoke about the obstacles and difficulties encountered so far, particularly on how attitudes of locals in some villages can later on hinder the implementation of some activities within this process as foreseen in the Code of Georgian Local Governance.
Finally and as a result of this process, LDA Georgia mobilized the first community meeting in Tskaltubo Municipality, village “Zemo Chuneshi,” within this "Participate in Governance" project:
How could you define the dialogue process between the
multistakeholders involved in the Development Partnership?
Lack of proper listening, cycling the same arguments, no learning.
Encouraging listening and taking voices into account
Could you explain how the four-development effectiveness principles were used
as monitoring criteria in the experience you are presenting?
By clicking on the round circles in the graphic you could read more about how the principle has been used.
Georgia, as a developing country with the partnership of EU foreign partners, developed civic engagement mechanisms by law, but it was not based on real needs and participatory assessments of the Georgian local Community. There was a lack of awareness and information to citizens on how they could get involved, and also right after the law passed, citizens were not even informed about these new legal frame of opportunities for citizens / communities’ effective participation. The Code of Georgian Local Governance regulates community meetings in villages where there are less than 2,000 people registered, but there is no regulation in case they are above 2,000 people registered in villages, towns, or cities. Parliament should also regulate these communities, because people want to use this opportunity for self-governance.
At the final stage of this process, LDA Georgia organized a regional conference with the participation of CSOs, media, local leaders and local self-government representatives. The aim of the conference was to engage every valuable stakeholder in the process and ensure the sustainable impact of the project results. As a result of this regional conference, an action plan was jointly agreed upon with the roles of each stakeholder along this citizens’ engagement process.
LDA Georgia organized information-sharing meetings with Local Authorities, local population and local NGOs. At these meetings, attendees were given the information about the role of citizens in local self-governance and people’s rights, as well as the importance of citizen participation in their Local Authorities’ activities. Particularly attention was paid to citizen participation mechanisms provisioned in Georgian laws and International treaties - including in the European Charter on Local Self-Governance - within the self-governance process. These participation mechanisms included: joint town meetings, petitions, council of civilian advisers, attending local councils’ meetings, and hearing the major/assembly activity reports, among others.
Following the Georgian Law of local self-governance, Local Authorities are responsible for the provision of all relevant and necessary information to the community meeting leader. In this view, LDA also got involved with the working group in monitoring this process for accountability and transparency purposes. All this resulted in the announcement of the Ministry of Regional Development of Georgia of the inclusion and further implementation of all these local self-governance reforms and new civil engagement mechanisms in the region, thus complying with the legal mandate.
Key Primary Tool
Principle not used in the monitoring
Ownership of development priorities by developing counties
Recipient countries define the development model that they want to implement.
Focus on results
Having a sustainable impact should be the driving force behind investments and effort in development policy making
Partnerships for development
Development depends on the participation of all actors, and recognises the diversity and complementarity of their functions.
Transparency and shared responsibility
Development co-operation must be transparent and accountable to all citizens.
How has the Human Rights Based Approach been used as
monitoring criteria in the monitoring experience you are describing?
This process has not only included and ensured effective participation of Georgian citizens / local communities in local governance as stated in the Georgian Constitution but community meetings have allowed for specific community demands on the realisation and effective provision of quality education, clean water and safe living environment with a human rights-based approach in the region.
How did the government or other stakeholders react after
you have presented the monitoring initiative/some monitoring results?
On January 13, 2017 the Local Government of Tskaltubo (village and municipality) sent the prepared statement / letter of this village to the Ministry of Regional Development of Georgia as well as the Infrastructure Fund Executive Director which finally resulted in a resolution on the necessity to rehabilitate infrastructure
(N. lortkipanidzis museum access road rehabilitation).
Which capacities do you consider as key in order to realise this monitoring experience?
Capacity to relate, by participation in coalitions and networks of CSOs to engage engaging at multiple levels,
with the community and a variety of stakeholders
Capacity to foster dialogue with government and other stakeholder. Convene around a common landscape
Communication and outreach capacity. Counting with media in reaching and influencing public opinion.
Capacity to conduct evidence-based research and policy papers.
Capacity to commit and act, through a well-elaborated strategy for lobby and advocacy.
Capacity to conduct Lobby and Advocacy representing right-holders, from a legitimate, accountable and trustworthy representation.
Capability to mobilise public support and create and maintain operational space. Contributing to the public debate and maintain legitimacy of representation.
Capability to ensure organisational sustainability (with financial sustainability and capability to attract and retain qualified staff)
Capacity to adapt and renew, pro-act to changing external contexts. Organizations should be able to monitor changing circumstances and respond accordingly.
Capacity of culture of learning and innovation in the organisation. Developing an own learning agenda
Which are, in your opinion, the capacities needed to conduct a good monitoring of Development partnerships?
Enhanced capacity on social accountability tools.
Skills to be able to foster dialogue and engage government at different tiers.
Research since this is the bedrock for successful advocacy actions.
Strengthened coordination among civil society organizations.
Skills to engage local communities and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to be a part of development partnerships monitoring.
To which extent has this experience been articulated through networks and
shared at regional level in other countries?
Not so much, shared through reports and presentations at forums but not so extensively as one would love, including within the region. This could also be attributed to limited resources for learning and sharing within the region
Which is the projection of the organisation/network at the moment
in their national and international context?
”Coordination of other CSOs around policy input and monitoring for development corporation especially around poverty reduction"