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Civil Society Organizations Shape Public Administration Reform in Georgia

Sixteen innovative initiatives from 12 leading civil society organizations were on display at a “CSO Fair” organized today by the Government Administration, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UK Aid, to showcase civic engagement in the ongoing reform of the country’s public administration.

CSO proposals focus on making public services more open and efficient, reducing bureaucracy, improving the qualifications of civil servants, simplifying dispute resolution, and enhancing communication with citizens.

“In the end, public administration reform aims to ensure that government institutions serve the citizens, and not the other way around,” said Louisa Vinton, UNDP Head in Georgia. “That is why UNDP is so pleased to support the active engagement of civil society in the process.”

British Ambassador Justin McKenzie Smith stressed that public administration reform is one of the key democratic transformations aiming to make public institutions in Georgia more accountable, open and efficient. “We are pleased to back the Government’s efforts to build the strong, professional and impartial civil service that Georgians deserve,” he said.

“The projects presented here show that our choice to make decisions together with our civil society partners was a wise one,” noted Elene Beradze, Deputy Head of the Government Administration. “This approach improves governance and helps Georgia put into place all the mechanisms needed to maintain an active dialogue with civil actors and benefit from their ideas and creativity.”

Civil society participants include non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and research centres from Tbilisi and the regions. Among them are the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, “Iare Pekhit” (Walk), “Child, Family, Society”, Civic Development Agency (CiDA), Innovation and Reform Centre (IRC), Georgian Institute of Public Administration (GIPA), Ozurgeti Young Scientists’ Centre, New Vision University, BTKK Policy Research Group, Centre of Studies of Social Practice (SCCP), Disability Research Centre (DRC) at Tbilisi State University, and Gori Information Centre.

Their projects were selected in a grant competition announced by UNDP and the British Government as part of their public administration reform program. The four-year programme, which has a budget of over USD 3.7 million, is designed to support reform in the key areas of policy development and coordination, human resource management and civil service reform, and public service delivery.