Monitoring of Georgia’s Implementation of OECD’s Anti-Corruption Network for Transitions Economies Recommendations

The project aimed at ensuring implementation of the recommendations developed under the Anti-Corruption Action Plan by the Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies (ACN) – a regional anti-corruption program of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). To accomplish this, TI Georgia continued to monitor action taken by the government of Georgia to implement the ACN recommendations and present the respective findings to the OECD ACN and the Georgian public.

Capacity building in support of cooperative and participatory processes

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of basic preconditions for participatory cooperation between regional authorities, municipalities and civil society groups in the planning and implementation of the social and economic reform process in Marneuli and Gardabani districts. Target groups: Local councilors, NGO, the general public.

Engage and Monitor for Change

Goals

EPF’s Engage and Monitor for Change program fosters the active and informed participation of Georgian community groups, CSOs and media outlets in the political and economic decision-making in their regions by building capacity among civic groups, encouraging monitoring and evaluation of policy reforms and facilitating public discussions, debates and network building. EPF also provides targeted small grants to unite less experienced organizations with more developed CSOs in project development and implementation and conducts grant competitions in civic monitoring of various sectors.

Impact

The concept of participatory civic monitoring emphasizes the process by which primary stakeholders at the local level actively engage in monitoring the government’s commitments to the reform process and public service delivery and become engaged in identifying or taking corrective actions. Through this process, EPF builds the capacity of local people to analyze information and catalyze commitment at the local level. Since the program’s inception in 2007, EPF has awarded over $480,000 to thirty four local civil organizations to engage in civic monitoring and capacity building through the targeted grant competitions. EPF will award more grants in 2013 to foster community engagement through the two more targeted grant competitions.

Source: Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Read more about this project here.

Monitoring the Use of Administrative Resources in the 2008 Presidential and Parliamentary Election

TI Georgia monitored the use of administrative resources during the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. The monitoring included:

a.interviews with the leaders of various political parties participating in the elections, representatives of Georgian and international NGOs involved in election monitoring, and state institutions involved in election administration;
b.analyzing the allocation of state funds during the pre-election period based on official documentation;
c.analyzing political advertising and coverage of political candidates through selected media outlets;
d.analyzing election legislation and the decisions of the Central Election Commission; and
e.observing the pre-election activities of the ruling party.
The misuse of administrative resources has been cited as a problem in Georgia in every election since 2003. After the presidential election in January 2008, TI Georgia has made specific recommendations about how to reduce the use of administrative resources during election campaigns. Unfortunately, despite the need and the advocacy work done by both domestic and international organizations on this issue, the Election Code was not modified to limit the use of administrative resources in advance of the parliamentary elections. Rather, legislation has been made more liberal instead of more restrictive. Public officials were still allowed to engage in pre-election campaigning activities, with few exceptions indicated in the law, and election candidates were granted the right to use material-technical resources funded from the state and local budgets as long as these resources are equally accessible for all of them.

Cooperation for Development

The goal of this project was to support the establishment of transparent and efficient procedures in everyday work of local government units, strengthen human capacities and support citizen involvement in public decision making. Target group: Local councilors, district administration office, the general public.

Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia

Goals

With funding from the European Union, EPF began the Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia project, focused on increasing public access to high quality, professional, independent information.
Main activities of the project are the following:

• Perform a media landscape study through surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviewing.

• Link the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) with a media association in a new EU member state and undertake activities aimed at institutional development of the GARB.

• Conduct trainings for media and legal professionals on the specifics of investigative journalism, media legislation, access to information.

• Establish the Georgian Media Legal Defence Centre (GMLDC) to provide free legal aid for journalists, media outlets, and lawyers and to advocate for legislative changes.

• Hold TV and public discussions involving all stakeholders to encourage broad, inclusive dialogue on the state of the media in Georgia.

• Conduct targeted grant competitions on investigative journalism.

Results

EPF’s Caucasus Research Resource Center has undertaken a study of the Georgian media landscape consisting of a survey of public attitudes to the media in Georgia, a series of focus groups with media consumers, in-depth interviews with media professionals, and media monitoring of Georgian TV news. The results of the study were presented at the “European Union-Georgia” Civil Society Human Rights Seminar on Media Freedom and Internally Displaced Persons organized by the European Commission Delegation to Georgia in November, 2009. The report provided a comprehensive picture of the current situation in the Georgian media and served as the basis for a vibrant discussion at the seminar.

Source: Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Read more about this project here.

Georgian Government under the Sunshine and/within “FOI Implementation, Law Reform and Financial Transparency”

The project was one of the most important and influental in the anti-corruption sphere in Georgia. it had a long duration period with several phases, with strong support from many different international donors with large sclae funding. The project aimed at the promotion of accountable government structures through the implementation of the legislation on the access to information and, at the same time, through the promotion of financial transparency in the public institutions funded from the state budget by using FOI as an instrument. The following activities were implemented within the framework of the project: 1. Implementing freedom of information principles in real life by strategic litigation and monitoring access to information; 2. Monitoring and advocacy through the project “Georgian Government under Sunshine”, which includes the following elements: support of the establishment of public broadcaster; monitoring of the President’s reserve fund; monitoring of the Government’s reserve fund; monitoring of the reserve fund of Adjara autonomous republic; 3. Assistance to the development of the local NGO sector addressing corruption and transparency actions in Adjara and Kutaisi; 4. Round tables and trainings for judges and freedom of information officers; 5. Creation of data bases of freedom of information officers in Georgia; 6. Creation of an online guidebook on Freedom of Information; 7. Elaboration of recommendations for the promotion and development of freedom of information legislation and practice in Georgia.

Promoting Civil Society Monitoring of Secondary Healthcare

During October 2007 – May 2008, Transparency International Georgia implemented the project Promoting Civil Society Monitoring of Secondary Healthcare Reform with funding from the Eurasia Partnership Foundation. The proposal was designed to follow on the heels of the government’s initiation of hospital sector privatization and had two main objectives: promote the effectiveness of the healthcare system in Georgia and improve the capacity of civil society to monitor the reform of secondary healthcare in Georgia.

Promoting Understanding of the Energy Sector in Georgia

The project strove to increase public awareness of the energy sector in Georgia and to disseminate information throughout the country about the reforms carried out in this sector. In order to accomplish these goals, TI Georgia:
– conducted intensive trainings for journalists on the energy sector in Georgia to develop understanding of this complicated sector. In total 10 trainings were conducted;
– produced tri-annual newspaper inserts that included comprehensive articles on energy sector related issues for distribution throughout the country; and
– produced and disseminated monthly reports documenting (a) issues of concern in the energy sector, (b) the government’s activities and achievement of intended results, (c) transparency of the sector, and (d) the effect of international energy developments on Georgia and Georgia’s relations with energy supplier countries.

For Transparent and Accountable Local Government in Georgia

The goal of the project was to support implementation of the state program “Village Support” by training the LG trustees in territorial units in participatory methodologies, so that they will be able to conduct participatory needs assessments and problem prioritization in their communities. Also, during the project the special training for CBO and local NGO representatives on civil monitoring was organized, so they will be able to monitor the activities of LG trustees in local communities.

Young Lawyers for Improving the State and Civil Control Mechanisms in Georgia

Among the goals of the project:
1. To improve domestic monitoring mechanisms – analysis of relevant legislation in force and activities of the Chamber of Control; by organizing round-tables for relevant stakeholders; elaborating recommendations and drafts as to introduce them into relevant legislation;
2. To improve transparency and accountability during grant related relationships – analysis of relevant legislation “Law on the Grants””; by elaborating and lobbying recommendations and drafts as to introduce them into relevant legislation;
3. To contribute to effective CSOs monitoring of priority areas being identified within the framework of the Coalition – through the identification of relevant donors providing financial assistance; the perfectionining of legal system amd national monitoring mechanisms; assistance to IDPs; rehabilitation of national infrastructure.”

The Majoritarian Project: Informed Citizens and Accountable Government

TI Georgia’s project “Informed Citizens and Accountable Government”” strove to foster communication between majoritarian parliamentarians and their constituencies and promote public awareness of and input into the legislative process. To achieve these goals, TI Georgia, in cooperation with majoritarian MPs and their district office (bureau) representatives, conducted public meetings in three-month cycles in 57 districts in Georgia. At these meetings citizens received information about parliamentary developments over the last three months and its future plans. They also had the opportunity to inform their majoritarian MPs about their main concerns at the local level and share with him/her their opinions about Parliament’s work. As part of the project, TI Georgia also assessed majoritarian bureaus and administrative barriers to their work and conducted trainings for bureau staff to increase their competence.”

Transparency International Georgia Office in Parliament

The project aimed at enabling Georgian parliamentarians to make informed decisions about draft laws by providing them with the advice of lower level specialists and by actively involving civil society in the legislative process and also at improving the transparency of information given by the parliament, thus better informing citizens about the work carried out by the parliament.

Coalition “Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia” (in-house project)

The project intended to support the forming of a Coalition of 7 NGOs focused on rising and improving monitoring, transparency and accountability. The goal of the TFAG Coalition is to analyze, evaluate and monitor projects funded within the foreign aid package allotted to Georgia after the August 2008 armed conflict; to provide wide coverage of monitoring reports and to advocate for the elaborated recommendations.

Voter Education and Election Observation Mission in Kvemo Kartli for the Parliamentary Elections in spring 2008

On May 2008 TI Georgia conducted a monitoring of the polling and counting procedures in the region of Kvemo Kartli. The organization deployed its monitors to 110 polling stations in the following five election districts: Marneuli, Gardabani, Bolnisi, Dmanisi, and Tsalka, thus covering 40% of the polling stations in the region with 51% of voters in those five districts. The monitoring targeted precincts with the highest numbers of registered voters in the respective districts and ones where the majority of registered voters were ethnic minorities.
In 56 out of the 110 polling stations monitored by TI Georgia the monitors noted significant breaches of election legislation. The problems ranged from poor the qualifications of the Precinct Election Commission (PEC) members carouseling the voting, ballot stuffing, other duties. A total of 137 appeals have been compiled involving election violations in all 110 precincts.
Among the most frequently observed violations were: Precinct Election Commission members agitating voters in the polling station in favor of the ruling party, voters marking ballot papers outside polling booths, voters being allowed to vote without presenting ID cards or upon presenting other persons’ ID cards, proxy voting, inconsistent application of inking, Precinct Election Commission members following voters into polling booths, voters entering polling booths in groups of two and more, the presence of unauthorized persons during polling and counting procedures, and the correcting of summary protocols. In addition to these problems, the electoral process was marred by the refusal of Precinct Election Commissions to register TI Georgia’s and other election day monitors’ appeals.

Power to powerless

The goal of the project was to involve the socially vulnerable part of the population in the local decision making process and tomcreate legal guarantees for their participation. Target group: vulnerable people, mayors, elected officials.