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Georgia Profile










Innovations in Social Budgeting: Georgia Profile

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Background and Organization.
Founded in 2000, Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) is a local NGO functioning as a national chapter of Transparency International (TI), an international NGO devoted to combating corruption. TI Georgia performs this mission in Georgia by promoting transparency and accountability, seeking to serve as the primary source of information on corruption reform in the country. As a leading advocacy-based think tank in Georgia, TI Georgia facilitates public participation and government action in sectors burdened by corruption, building institutions to ensure good governance.
 
TI Georgia works on three pillars through which it aims to achieve its anti-corruption goals: (a) rule of law, by aiding in the drafting, publicizing and implementation of anti-corruption laws; (b) establishment of checks and balances, by assisting in institution-building; and (c) citizen input and international pressure, by providing information to local populations, international experts and the government itself.
 
 
Activities and Tools. TI Georgia, apart from involvement in the TI’s Corruption Perception Index and Global Corruption Barometer spearheads several projects each year. In 2009, for instance, the group was undertaking these seven:
 
·       An assessment of Georgia’s National Integrity System (NIS), to analyze how well-functioning laws and institutions are preventing corruption. An initial survey involved deploying citizens to request for information, for which the law requires disclosure, from 16 legislative, 20 executive, and 4 judicial offices in the country. A partial result from ten offices reveals that 21% of requests lead to unsatisfactory outcomes, suggesting transparency laws are not being well-implemented.
 
This project, meant to supplement the Corruption Perception Index, allows TI Georgia to identify areas where risks of corruption are highest. Once the legal basis and actual performance of the NIS is complete, the Georgia’s NIS will be compared against the standards set by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2005. Finally, TI Georgia plans to end the project with an advocacy campaign by informing the public of the results and targeting recommendations to key decision makers.
 
·       Setting up a platform for the citizens to easily report (i.e. “crowdsourcing”) the use and misuse of funds for the reconstruction of the Mayor’s Office in Tbilisi. This online tool that would operate through popular social networks (e.g. Facebook) is envisioned to result in a greater participation from the public, greater accountability of public officials and a more efficient use of public funds.
 
·       Operation of the Georgia Advocacy and Legal Advice Center. This center assists citizens in reporting corruption-related problems by establishing contact between them and the appropriate state institutions. Citizens get in touch with the center through a free hotline and are provided with free consultations with legal advisers. Statistics from this program are also shared with journalists, other civil society groups and international stakeholders to aid in advocacy activities, primarily in identifying state institutions that are subject to the most complaints.
 
·       Monitoring Georgia’s use of international aid, and advocating for its efficient use. Following a $4.5 billion – or about $1,000 per citizen – aid in 2008, TI Georgia found out that only 27% of Georgians believe that the funds will be well-spent. As such, the group began an initiative, “Making Aid Work for Georgia,” to monitor allocations and expenditures of the financing received, especially on the $366 million budget for assisting and providing housing for 249,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). Apart from generating evidence-based advocacy, TG also empowered the IDPs for holding the government accountable by providing them a brochure of benefits they could expect to receive.
 
In addition, TI Georgia also checked Georgia’s donors against accountability and transparency standards, ranking them based on disclosures they provided through their websites.
 
·       Assessing the quality of IDP settlements. Noting that the government built 4,000 new homes in the last four months of 2009, TI Georgia further empowered the marginalized IDPs by involving them in quality assessments of the settlements. TI Georgia’s researchers then published a report, “IDPs in Georgia: Issues of Concern” to advocate for more equitable policies and use of resources.
 
·       Monitoring Georgia’s Implementation of the recommendations from the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan. Under this initiative, TI Georgia checks the actions of the government against the recommendations of the plan. In addition, TI Georgia seeks to identify the most frequently occurring forms of corruption, the sectors that are most vulnerable to it, the levels where it occurs, and its root causes.
 
·       Monitoring Georgia’s International commitments, to analyze whether or not Georgia is making progress towards the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan.
 
 
Roles of Actors. TI Georgia involves actors from all levels. It empowers citizens through advocacy activities, by assisting them in filing their complaints against corruption, and by enlisting their support for monitoring government projects and quality assessment studies. TI Georgia also seeks to keep the government’s three branches accountable in spending aid and budgets, and also in ensuring that anti-corruption laws and functions are implemented. Similarly, the TI Georgia holds donors against the same standards of transparency to ensure that the funding they provide strengthen institutions instead of corrupting government.
 
 
Impact and Learning. TI Georgia’s initiatives have resulted, above all, in the empowerment of citizens in holding their government accountable and preventing corrupt use of resources. For instance, the Georgia Advocacy and Legal Advice Center has, over a period of four months between 2009 and 2010, received 618 calls and visits, resulting in 72 corruption cases filed. TI Georgia has intervened for the client in seven of these cases.
 
 
Sustainability. As most of TI Georgia’s work empower citizens and build institutions, the group’s impacts are intended to be long-term and sustainable, despite the intentional short-term nature of its projects. For instance, most of the project enumerated above last only a few months, and the longest for two and a half years. The TI Secretariat is TI Georgia’s primary source of funding, but also receives grants for its projects from donors such as the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Government, the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation and UK’s Global Transparency Fund. For 2009, the group reported an income of about $350,000, spending about 43% of which on project management and research.
 
 
Contact Information
 
Contact Person           Nana Lobjanidze
E-mail                         nana@transparency.ge / info@transparency.ge
Website                       http://www.transparency.ge/en/
Phone                          + (995 32) 92 14 03; 99 93 35
Fax                              + (995 32) 92 02 51
Address                       26, Rustaveli Ave., 0108 Tbilisi, Georgia



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