Irakli Kobakhidze: Decentralization is the milestone of formation of the democratic and effective governance system

05 Mar 2018
Irakli Kobakhidze: Decentralization is the milestone of formation of the democratic and effective governance system

The Municipal reform is directly connected with our goal to become the full-fledged member of European family”, - the Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze stated at the presentation. 

He stated that the municipal reform is to be launched in the country. Improvement of the governance system needs fulfillment of some main conditions, one of which has been already fulfilled.

The new edition of the Constitution creates the solid basis for development of democratic processes in line with the checks and balances principle. “Decentralization is the milestone of formation of the democratic and effective governance system. Improvement of the governance system needs fulfillment of some main conditions, one of which has been already fulfilled. Georgia has adopted the new Constitution creating the improved Parliamentary governance system based on the classic Parliamentary model of checks and balances. Correspondingly, the new edition creates the solid basis for development of democratic processes in line with the checks and balances principle. It is as well important to undertake the public service reform to ensure constant improvement of the governance system. In this regards, we have already made important steps, we have adopted the Law on Public Service, regulated salaries system and other aspects of public service, though the reforms shall continue to result in the rational public service system of European type. And the third important aspect is the correct territorial administration system formation and here, particular importance is attached to enhancement of municipalities, which is one of the milestones of democratic governance and one of the integral parts thereof. Besides, efficiency of governance is related to decentralization, as it is the necessary precondition for ultimate enhancement of democratic system, for formation of the system in line with the legal state principle. Hence, the role of decentralization is dual for development of state administration”.

He underlined that the ultimate goal is to create the state of European type and full-fledged membership of European family, which is impossible without formation of decentralization governance system. today, the system provides the number of the gaps and the reform aims at elimination of the gaps and enhancement of municipal system.

“We strive to form the state of European type. Our ultimate goal is to become the full-fledged member of European family, which is impossible without the decentralized governance system of European type. Hence, I believe that the municipal reform is in direct connection with our goal to become the full-fledged member of European family. Today, we have the number of gaps in the system we openly speak about and strive to eliminate these gaps and improve the municipal system, to enhance it, which requires availability of the complex strategy. The goal is to form the complex strategy, the mid-term vision of municipal reform”.

He emphasized the role of the Government noting that if the Government fails to play the locomotive, successful implementation of the municipal system will be difficult. “So, the role of the Government is crucial. If the Government does not play the role of the locomotive, successful municipal reforming will be difficult and this process has already been launched and I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his enthusiasm in this process. I would also like to thank Mr. Zurab Alavidze, the Regional Development Minister who strives to develop the decentralization strategy and the vision and I believe that jointly we will achieve this goal”.

The Speaker underlined the role of international partners and thanked UNDP Director and Ambassadors of Austria and Switzerland for their support. He hoped that the Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary oppositions will actively cooperate as EU approximation is the common goal.

“The role of our partners and friends is very important. I would like to than our international partners. As I have already mentioned, UNDP, as well as SIDA and Austrian Development Agency actively cooperate with Georgia to improve the municipal system. I would like to underline the role of the donors – SIDA, EU and our Polish friends for years actively support municipal reform in Georgia. The role of the World Bank is as well important in this process and the role of the Denmark engaged in this process. Let me reiterate that support of our international partners and donors is very important in achievement of our goal. The role of the civil society is as well very important. Each reform undertaken in various directions shall be held on the basis of cooperation with the civil society and experts. This is our common aspiration and I would like to thank every person engaged in municipal reform. I hope that we will actively cooperate with the Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary opposition as enhancement of our country, our municipal system and EU approximation is our common goal”.

According to the Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the new vision starts the qualitatively new stage of municipal development of Georgia, which will significantly increase public involvement in decision-making. The new strategic concept is the second stage of the reform launched in 2014 with adoption of the Municipal Code aiming at creation foundation for legislative and institutional changes. The reform aims at provision of decision-making authority in the regions.

“Today, we introduce the decentralization mid-term vision aiming at further enhancement of municipality on local level. Our vision provides three directions – extension of municipal authorities, more financial resources and financial resource distribution. Municipality shall meet the transparency and accountability supreme principles and standards. It shall ensure public involvement in decision-making and administration process and aggregation of three pillars will result in better qualitative administration”.

He underlined support of international partners and expressed his gratitude. “Without you, adoption of the Municipal Code in 2014 would be much difficult and we hope that you will further support us at the second stage”.

Involvement of civil sector and society is one of the preconditions for successful reforming. “We all shall share the aspiration of the reform because this reform shall be conducted by everyone and I will to cooperate with the Parliament and the civil sector. Otherwise, we cannot successfully undertake reform, which provides all the pillars of our administrative system”.

He thanked the Speaker and noted that Parliament, along with the Government and the Regional Development Ministry will be actively involved in the process. “Strong municipality is the main pillar of democratic and economic development of the country”, - Tbilisi Mayor, Kakha Kaladze stated.

He emphasized importance of more resources for municipalities and public involvement. “We shall jointly administer and take care of our residential environment and shall improve our living conditions, which requires increased public involvement. We shall attach our attention to increased transparency and accountability. We shall increase authorities of the municipalities and resources, we shall improve the services and effectively solve the problems of the population to reduce the distance between the municipal bodies and citizens, to build the trust and ensure cooperation”.

UNDP Resident Representative, Niels Scott, Austrian Ambassador, Arad Benkö and Swiss Ambassador, Lukas Beglinger also addressed the attendees. “Strong and effective administration shall approximate decisions and the services with the citizens, to fit them to their needs and shall ensure public involvement in decision-making and administration process”, - N. Scott stated.

The Austrian Ambassador spoke about the role of the municipalities stating that Austria is committed to support the reform. The Swiss Ambassador spoke about importance of municipal system and expressed commitment of support to Georgia.