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Georgia organizes first high-rank meeting at UN

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, September 21
In the framework of the Georgian Prime Minister’s official visit to New York, the Georgian side organized its first high-rank meeting at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on Monday.

The main issues of the meeting were development of effective, accountable, transparent and inclusive institutions through e-governance and public service delivery.

Around 30 ministers and senior officials from different countries attended the meeting, held with the support of Estonia, South Korea, Belgium and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, delivered a speech and introduced Georgia’s progress, achievements and plans towards e-governance, transparency and public service in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to Kvirikashvili, the Georgian government has set the implementation of Goal 16 of SDGs, which aims to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

“It is an integral part of our efforts to meet European Union (EU) requirements under the Georgia-EU Association Agreement, and I am delighted to say we are making great strides,” the PM said, and thanked the UNDP, which is supporting Georgia on this path.

Georgia’s PM put emphases on a recent Business House project, which delivers over 600 individual services to businesses in one physical and electronic space.

According to him, Business House is a groundbreaking model, based on the principle of public-private partnership and ensures provision of services by various ministries and state agencies in one space, and through one single e-platform.

“The main beneficiaries for the government should be its citizens and technologies should aim to reduce bureaucracy and simplify the life of citizens,” he added.

Moreover, Kvirikashvili claimed that through new e-governance, Georgia’s 19 ministries and up to 50 Agencies would have internal communication and data exchange, represented by only one front office and one single web portal, which means that all services will be available everywhere, in any governmental regional office, throughout the country.

He spoke about the Public Service Halls built in big cities and towns and ensure fast, efficient and comfortable service delivery under one single roof, offering more than 300 quick and simple services in one building.

Moreover, the PM said the government has elaborated on a new initiative; the creation of Community Centers (CCs) in small towns and villages in order to ensure their engagement in the development of the country.

“CCs bring together modern technologies, public and private sector services, libraries, free internet and e-library as well as venues for civic engagement in one single area, which allows us to handle a number of challenges at the local level,” Kvirikashvili stated, and named two examples of e-governance, which were successfully implemented in the country: e-request of public information and e-government Commission.

He said innovations through e-governance and effective public service delivery brings the government, private sector and citizens together and improves the economy.

“The government wants its citizens to have as free access to information as possible. To achieve this aim, we have launched an electronic communication service called Citizens' Portal. This service allows citizens to interact with the Government electronically and submit requests for public information to 60 public organizations, track the request sent and receive replies electronically,” claimed Georgia’s PM.

Kvirikashvili hoped that Georgia's experience can provide important lessons to other countries seeking the same development path and expressed readiness to work constructively towards coordination of Goal 16 under Georgian chairmanship of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which will start in 2017.