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Discussions on political decentralization took place in the regions

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Friday, March 29

As part of the Regional Civil Society Network (R-CSN), Civil Development Agency (CiDA) held a regional tour to meet local partner NGOs, local government and media representatives. Among the topics discussed as part of the talks were political decentralization and the strengthening of regional government institutions.

More specifically the issues discussed were the current process of the regional development strategy; challenges and perspectives in decentralization; strengthening local government; problems facing the mountainous regions of Georgia and the Georgian labor code. The current government decentralization reforms include a more active role for local governments in the political decision making process.

“The strengthening of local government bodies and the decentralization project have a significant importance for the country. That is why civil society representatives should be actively involved in this process and become a kind of watchdog to see what will be changed after this reform and how beneficial it will be for the regional population. We call on civil society and media representatives to take more initiative and become more motivated in discussing and covering this particularly important issue.” CiDA Regional Development Manager Juba Maruashvili told The Messenger.

According to Adjara Supreme Council Representative David Batsikadze one of the challenges the current central government faces today is reforming regional and municipal governments. Batsikadze thinks that in order to develop this sector it is important to financially decentralize all municipal governments so that even villages have control of financial decisions they wish to make.

"The best thing the current government can do is to decentralize the government decision making process. This will allow towns and villages to make their own decisions about what is best for them," Batsikadze said.

“We have our own opinion about the project of decentralization; we want it to be useful for society- especially for the people living in the regions. We proposed that the government include us in the process," Levan Khintibidze of the Union for Democratic Development of Georgia stated after the meeting.

Further recommendations are currently being made. The full package of recommendations will be presented to the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia in the near future.

The meetings covered almost all regions of Georgia. Meetings were held in Mtskheta, Gori, Telavi, Akahltsikhe, Ozurgeti, Batumi, Zugdidi and Kutaisi.

R-CSN was founded in December 2012 and is being carried out by Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society Development in Georgia (G-PAC).

The goal of the network is to consolidate the efforts and resources of regional organizations as well as finding local solutions to various problems.