The Parliament and Government of Georgia presented a new national vision of decentralization and local self-governance, which increases decision-making powers and financial resources of the regional and local authorities, empowering them to better address the needs of citizens.
The document was made public on 5 March 2018, by Irakli Kobakhidze – Georgian Parliament Speaker, and Giorgi Kvirikashvili – Prime Minister of Georgia.
Niels Scott, Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Georgia; Arad Benkö, Ambassador of Austria to Georgia; Lukas Beglinger, Ambassador of Switzerland to Georgia; and Kakha Kaladze, Mayor of Tbilisi and President of the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia, joined the Parliament Speaker and Prime Minister in their address to representatives of the Georgian Government, Parliament, civil society, diplomatic community and international organizations.
In his keynote speech, Irakli Kobakhidze, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, focused on the legislative changes that will follow the adoption of the new vision.
“Fiscal decentralization and delegation of competencies will increase the local budgets, enabling local self-governments to effectively exercise their competences, raise professional standard of civil servants and offer wider and better services to citizens,” Irakli Kobakhidze said.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stressed that the new vision marks strategic shift to effective local self-governance and citizen participation in local decision-making.
“A wide range of competencies and resources will be transferred from the national to local authorities by 2025. This includes 7-8% of GDP which will be allocated to the municipal budgets. This substantial reform will equip local self-governments with powers, skills and resources necessary for resolving local economic and social issues,” Kvirikashvili said.
The new national vision of decentralization and local self-governance is part of the ongoing regional and local development reform, supported by Georgia’s international partners, including UNDP and the governments of Switzerland and Austria.
“Local self-governance must be capable of bringing decisions and services close to citizens, adapting them to people’s needs, and making citizens the active owners of the governance process. With this new national concept, Georgia is making a huge step forward to achieving this standard,” Niels Scott, Head of UNDP in Georgia, said.
The presentation of the national vision for decentralization and local self-governance will be followed by the development of the national strategy and action plan to be adopted by the Parliament of Georgia in 2018.