Georgia

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Georgia

Introduction
In Georgia, WFD is the sole implementer of the UK-government funded Advancing Environmental Democracy in Georgia programme, which aims to generate the sustained political will necessary to address environmental and climate issues.

The programme’s approach and actions are underpinned by the key principles of environmental democracy, and focuses on the dual pillars concerned with increasing transparency and on enhancing civic participation in environmental decision making.
Environmental democracy

The programme works with a wide range of governance and civic actors to address environmental and climate issues. Capitalising on the global attention around COP26, the programme is initially focussed on tackling climate change. We are, for example, working with Georgian political institutions to identify the laws and regulations required to successfully achieve the aspirations in Georgia’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and how the transition to renewable energy can be catalysed. Other priority policy areas are being determined as the programme progresses. WFD has also been a key partner in the UNDP/EU programme Strengthening the System of Parliamentary Democracy in Georgia since 2014. In 2019, WFD entered the third phase (2019-2022) of the programme to strengthen the Parliament of Georgia. This work has focussed primarily on establishing and embedding new oversight practices in the Georgian parliament, such as committee inquiries and post-legislative scrutiny (PLS), which has in turn led to better engagement of civil society organisations (CSOs) and citizens in policy and law-making as well as improving oversight of the executive. Additionally, the programme has improved the robustness of parliament as an institution by helping it establish the practice of business continuity planning, and is currently analysing the relationship between parliament and key independent state institutions with a view to making recommendations for potential improvements.

Context

Since its independence in 1991, Georgia has been on a journey towards Euro-Atlantic integration. The country seeks membership of institutions such as NATO and the European Union. This process requires deep and wide ranging democratic reforms. As part of this, Georgia is moving towards parliamentary government. Building stronger relations with international community and external support is central to reforms.

Financial oversight

WFD’s work has seen parliamentary committees increase their role in pre- and post-budget scrutiny. This ensures better monitoring of public finances and use of resources. We encourage stronger engagement with services such as the Parliamentary Budget Office and institutions like the State Audit Office. We have engaged civil society within the budget process, bringing this closer to citizens and providing an avenue for policy alignment with the public’s priorities.

Supporting new parliamentarians

For the first time, a parliamentary staff-led induction scheme for newly elected parliamentarians has been implemented, with WFD support. This provides training and orientation for newly elected MPs, aiding them to understand and fulfil their duties. This allows new members to understand the institution, and to effectively represent citizens right from the start of the convocation.

Reforming parliament’s structure

WFD has advised in the reforming of the parliament’s International Relations Department (IRD). With our support, the IRD’s role has been expanded and clearly defined. To aid the unit meet its new responsibilities, WFD has supported staff training and learning. Through this process, the IRD will play a central role in supporting Georgia’s parliamentary diplomacy, international linkages and global exposure.

Key results
  • First parliamentary hearing on Georgia’s NDC held
  • The understanding of parliamentarians, civil servants and civil society of the COP process, NDCs and environmental democracy increased
  • Nationwide opinion poll conducted on environmental and climate issues
  • Legislative drafters trained on intersectional analysis of draft climate and environment legislation
  • Political parties trained on environmental policymaking
  • Business continuity planning practices established in Georgian parliament
  • Journalists’ understanding of thematic inquiries and PLS increased
  • Local CSOs supported to participate in parliamentary thematic as well as PLS inquiries
  • Parliamentary committees supported to conduct thematic inquiries and PLS
  • Enhanced financial oversight capacities of parliamentary committees (MPs and staff)
  • 115 MPs and parliamentary staff have been trained
  • Established new practices for collaboration with CSOs and other state agencies
  • A reformed International Relations Department with new functions and capacities
  • The first induction programme led by parliamentary departments/staff for new MPs

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Georgia