The Regional Policy and Self-Government Committee's Thematic Inquiry Group on Studying the State of Citizen Involvement in Municipal Activities convened its first working meeting today.
The members of the working group met with the members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Committee, as well as representatives of international and local organizations. According to Eka Sepashvili, Head of the Thematic Inquiry Group, the members of the working group want the process to be as inclusive as possible and to enable stakeholders, including international and non-governmental organizations, to share their views with the working group.
"We are interested in producing ideas and solutions that are both effective and will aid in the intensification of this process and, ultimately, the strengthening of participatory democracy in the country, which is one of our state's and the country's primary goals. There are no ready-made recipes for what is good and what is harmful in this regard; instead, all countries are attempting to build ways, ideas, and processes that will enhance citizen participation at the national and local levels, depending on their real and national features”.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, Sozar Subari, strengthening self-government is an important task and one of the key tools in this direction is the involvement of citizens.
"Strengthening self-government is really one of the paramount tasks for us. There can be no strong self-government without proper tools and one of such tools is the maximum involvement of citizens. There are a number of municipalities, a number of regions where certain programs are implemented, but it does not have a legislative face yet. It would be good to develop an overview of how to develop and what proposals to make in the legislation to ensure maximum citizen involvement”.
According to Givi Mikanadze, Chairman of the Open Governance Permanent Parliamentary Council, local self-government will not be strong if the local population is not actively involved in the process.
"The openness and transparency of these processes help to make the right decisions and make the public feel that they are a direct and integral part of this process, that they have a role to play in making these decisions”.
The participants of the meeting shared their opinions and suggestions regarding the mentioned thematic inquiry.
According to Iago Tsiklauri, Advisor to the President of Georgia on Regional Policy, the President of Georgia is aware of the ongoing thematic inquiry and promised to support the members of the group on behalf of the President in this important process.
The members of the Group will also hold working meetings with the representatives of the municipalities and the citizens.
All stakeholders, including relevant ministries, government agencies, local self-government NGOs, experts, and civil society representatives, are invited to participate in the thematic inquiry. Stakeholders must submit substantiated proposals in writing to the members of the Group by September, after which verbal hearings will be held to develop recommendations.