The Working Group at the Open Governance Permanent Parliamentary Council held the meeting under the N4 commitment of the 2018-2019 Open Parliament Action Plan envisaging the establishment of Citizens Engagement Center in the Parliament.
Prior to the discussion, the Head of the Working Group, MP Eka Beselia dwelt upon the terms for elaborating on the concept of the Citizens Engagement Center and noted that even though the first attempt failed to comply with deadlines of the Action Plan, the Parliament has implemented all the mandatory activities creating the ground for the approval of the concept based on the consensus.
Pursuant to the Chair of the Council, Irina Pruidze, it’s important that the Working Group has resumed working on the concept and by the end of the year, the document will be fully drafted and approved accordingly.
“This commitment has been aimed at getting tangible results and most importantly, the Parliament has been actively engaged in the creation of the concept, which in turn, allows us to maintain the final version of the document and submit it for approval”, - I. Pruidze stated.
The Deputy Secretary General, Shota Goshadze outlines the technical dimensions of the Centre and briefed the members of the Working Group on the implemented and intended activities. According to him, the special space assigned for the public, which will be fully adjusted to the needs of persons with disabilities, creates an opportunity for the citizens to become even more engaged in the activities implemented in the legislature.
For the purpose of the increased civic engagement, Shota Goshadze drew attention to the Museum of Georgian Parliamentarism to be set up in the Parliamentary Palace in February 2020.
Deputy Secretary General, Ketevan Kvinikadze stressed on the content and presented the draft concept of the Center. “Combining several components of different departments of the Parliament, the Citizens Engagement Center will contribute to the increased oversight function and provide services adapted to the needs of vulnerable groups”, - Ketevan Kvinikadze stated.
According to the Deputy Secretary General, the activities of the Citizens Engagement Center are based on the joint work of the Divisions of the Reception, Public Relations and Public Event Planning, and the Training Center.
At the same time, in order to increase the civic engagement throughout the country, it is planned to allocate appropriate corners and community centers in the Justice Houses, where information leaflets will be placed.
The presenter touched upon organizing the informational-cognitive tours and the print and electronic informative materials as well as a special screening of the film made on the importance of the Parliament and Parliamentarism.
Ketevan Kvinikadze also talked about raising the awareness of students of general education level about the Parliamentary activities. "The concept of the Citizens Engagement Center envisages the increase of students' awareness and for this purpose, the Training Center of the Parliament, using specially prepared training module, will train teachers of the civic education program, as a result of which, students will be provided with the appropriate information about the civic engagement program", - Ketevan Kvinikadze stated.
At the end of the meeting, the Head of the Working Group thanked the Deputy Secretaries of the Parliament for their work on the Citizens Engagement Center and for the information provided.
As Eka Beselia stated, she fully shares the conceptual approaches to the document, however, before approving the final version, it is important to convene another working meeting with the Secretary General of the Parliament and the stakeholders in order to clarify and reconcile all the details of the concept.