Programs / Current Programs & Activities / Engage and Monitor for ChangePartnership for Budget Transparency

Project Goal

The project aims to contribute to improved budget transparency and accountability in Georgia by achieving the following results: (1) strengthened CSO capacity to promote reform and improve transparency of budget spending, and (2) increased interaction between civil society and Georgian public authorities on improving public finance expenditure oversight mechanisms.

Project Description

The project reflects the need for improved oversight of public expenditure and will address this issue by improving civil society’s capacity to monitor public expenditure and increasing CSO participation in reforming the public expenditure management (PEM) oversight mechanisms. Given the technical nature of the PEM field, capacity building support is of paramount importance to ensure that the CSOs are able to undertake proper monitoring of budget spending and engage in effective advocacy to effect positive change. They also need support in coordinating their advocacy efforts in this area, so that the high quality research and analysis conducted by some of the Georgian CSOs is fully utilised in broad advocacy campaigns. For successful advocacy, Georgian CSOs also require support in opening channels of interaction with national authorities.

To achieve the objectives of the project, EPF will undertake the following activities:

  • organize a series of trainings on public policy-making and PEM oversight mechanisms and publish a Georgian language booklet Monitoring Budget Spending for Beginners, in partnership with Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG), for CSO representatives;
  • award grants (up to EUR 15,000 each) to four CSOs to implement public expenditure monitoring activities;
  • create and facilitate regular discussions of the Platform of CSOs on Budget Transparency issues;
  • undertake an assessment of the existing PEM oversight mechanisms and develop recommendations for their improvement;
  • organize series of public forums to present the findings of the assessment report, recommendations elaborated by the CSO Platform and the results of monitoring activities undertaken by the sub-grantees;
  • create and facilitate the work of the Budget Monitoring Coordination Council which will involve representatives from CSOs and relevant public authorities;
  • develop and broadcast public service announcements and commission feature programs.

The project is financed by the European Union under the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility 2013 and co-funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

Project Activities

Capacity Building


Training on the principles of public policy making

On February 27, Europe Foundation organized a training session on the principles of public policy making, which was attended by 19 representatives from Tbilisi-based civil society organizations. The similar training was held also for 19 representatives of the regional CSOs on March 7, 2015.

This was the first of the series of trainings that is planned within the framework of the EU-funded project entitled Partnership for Budget Transparency These capacity building interventions are designed to contribute to improving civil society participation in public expenditure monitoring processes on both national and regional levels. The trainings are led by Mr. Besik Namchavadze, a consultant at the Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG).

Training on public expenditure management monitoring mechanisms

On March 12-13, 2015, Europe Foundation organized the second training session for the representatives of local civil society organizations. The training, which took place in Tbilisi, focused on the issue of public expenditure management monitoring mechanisms.

The similar training session for the representatives of the regional CSOs took place in Batumi on March 21-22, 2015.

Trainings are part of a series of capacity building activities organized within the framework of the EU-funded project entitled Partnership for Budget Transparency. The trainings were led by Mr. Besik Namchavadze, a consultant at the Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG).

Public Events


Project Opening Conference: Partnership for Budget Transparency

On December 19, 2014, Europe Foundation (EPF) hosted stakeholders and  beneficiaries at the inaugural event of its new, EU-funded project entitled Partnership for Budget Transparency: Civil Society Oversight of Public Spending in Georgia.

For more information, see the newsletter of the conference:

Public Forum No.1 

Europe Foundation (EPF) held a public forum on Budget Transparency and Civil Society Oversight of Public Spending in Georgia on Friday, July 31 at Courtyard Marriott Hotel, Tbilisi.

The forum aimed to contribute to improved budget transparency and accountability in Georgia by fostering dialogue between representatives of civil society and relevant public authorities. The CSO Platform on Budget Transparency, created earlier at the initiative of EPF, presented its mission and activities. The Platform remains open to all interested organizations that work in the sphere of budget transparency and public expenditure monitoring and wish to facilitate establishing a coherent civil society oversight system. The Platform intends to raise and to discuss specific public finance management issues, prepare recommendations, and further lead advocacy efforts.

One of the members of the CSO Platform Steering Committee, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, presented on its findings on the simplified procurement in Georgia. A representative from the Ministry of Finance then introduced a plan to create the Budget Monitoring Coordination Council aimed at improving interaction between civil society and the public sector. The public forum also featured presentation of the four projects which were awarded EPF grants to implement public expenditure monitoring activities.

The forum included representatives of civil society and international organizations, the Government of Georgia and the diplomatic missions.

 Forum agenda and presentations:

Public Forum No.2

On December 16, Europe Foundation organized its second public forum on Budget Transparency and Civil Society Oversight of Public Spending in Georgia.

The forum aimed at contributing to improved budget transparency and accountability in Georgia by fostering dialogue between representatives of civil society and relevant public authorities. The public finance management (PFM) expert at Policy and Management Consulting Group (PMCG) discussed current developments in public expenditure monitoring system in Georgia, particularly looking at Georgia’s standing in international assessments pertaining to budget transparency and providing analysis of the 2015 budget implementation.

Furthermore, EPF grantee, the Democratic Development Union of Georgia, presented the findings on budget application and reporting forms applicable to the entities established by self-governing municipalities, identifying main challenges and recommendations. This and other budget transparency issues will be further addressed by the CSO Platform on Budget Transparency, initiated by Europe Foundation and currently consisting of 15 civil society organizations.

In an effort to enhance stakeholder cooperation, the floor was given to the representative of State Budget Analysis and Strategic Planning Department of the State Audit Office (SAO) of Georgia, who presented the SAO’s recent initiative directed toward increasing civic engagement in public finance management oversight.

The forum was attended by representatives of civil society and international organizations, the Government of Georgia and the diplomatic missions.

Forum agenda and presentations:

Public Forum No.3

Europe Foundation held III public forum on June 14, 2016 on budget transparency and civil society oversight of public spending in Georgia. The aim of the forums is to initiate dialogue between civil society and government and contribute to the promotion of accountability on public spending. In the framework of the forum, participants were introduced to the Assessment Report of Public Expenditure Management Oversight Mechanisms in Georgia conducted by the international consultant Olena-Krylova Muller. The assessment confirmed that notwithstanding the reforms on public spending management sector and the progress achieved for implementation of European and international obligations on transparency, public engagement in decision-making process at national, as well as local level remains a challenge.

Representatives of the four  civil society organizations, who have received financial support from Europe Foundation for implementation of monitoring of public spending, made short speeches in the second part of the Forum. Discussion of the results of these projects complemented the assessment presentation. Organizations stressed on the challenges identified during their monitoring and presented relevant recommendation how to improve the budget spending oversight mechanisms.

Discussion with the participation of experts, civil society and government representatives was held by the end of the Forum. For more information see the newsletter of the event.

Forum agenda, its newsletter and presentation:

Public Forum No.4 and Closing Conference 

On February 27, 2017 Europe Foundation (EFP) held the 4th Public Forum and the Closing Conference of its EU-funded Budget Transparency and Civil Society Oversight of Public Spending in Georgia project. The event aimed at bringing together different stakeholders to discuss ways in which the project has contributed to improved budget transparency and accountability in Georgia and how the different sectors should proceed toward better oversight of budget spending on both the national and local levels.

After the welcoming addresses from EPF and the European Union Delegation in Georgia, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) representative talked about the modified format of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Reform Strategy Implementation Coordination Council, which will allow for the broader participation of civil society organizations thus contributing to improved cooperation between civil society and the Government. The Georgian participants were joined by two international experts – Dmytro Boyarchuk from Ukraine and Tatiana Savva from Moldova – who talked about the different ways of engaging civil society in monitoring of public spending and successful examples from Ukraine and Moldova. Based on these presentations, the participants were able to engage in discussion about what the Georgian public and non-governmental sectors can do to better address the issue of civic participation in Public Finance Management (PFM) reforms in Georgia. The event provided a forum for the CSOs that received grants from EPF to undertake monitoring of public spending in Georgia to share updates with the audience about their advocacy efforts within the EU-funded project. At the end of the event, the Program Manager from EPF showcased the results achieved within the project and outlined the ways in which the Foundation plans to focus its PFM efforts in the future.

Forum agenda, its newsletter, presentations and a press release: 

 

CSO Platform Partnership for Budget Transparency


About the Platform

Founded in March 2015, the CSO Platform - Partnership for Budget Transparency aims at enhancing coordination among civil society actors to develop common stance on and to increase civil society participation in a national-level dialogue on improving public finance management and budget transparency in Georgia. The Platform members meet at least every two months to discuss new developments, determine advocacy strategies, and unite civil society efforts in budget expenditure monitoring.

To learn more about the Platform, please see the Charter (available in Georgian only).

2017

2016

2015

Steering Committee

The Platform Steering Committee has the following members:

Platform Members (in alphabetical order)

  • Europe Foundation 
  • Association of Young Economists of Georgia 
  • Civic Initiative
  • Community Union Imedi
  • Economic Policy Research Center
  • Georgian Democratic Development Union
  • Georgian Rural Council
  • Georgian Reforms' Association  (GRASS)
  • Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association
  • Partnership for Human Rights
  • PMC Research Center
  • Regional Development Center
  • Union for Civic Development
  • Welfare Foundation

The CSO Platform on Budget Transparency is open to new members, which share the Platform’s goal and are willing to engage in constructive, issue-based collaboration with other Platform members and stakeholders.

All interested organizations are asked to submit applications to join the Platform to pem@epfound.ge.

Grants Awarded 


1. Association of  Young Economists of Georgia - Financial management and efficiency monitoring of the state program Produce in Georgia

The project aims at contributing to increased budget transparency and accountability in Georgia by undertaking monitoring of the state-funded Produce in Georgia Program implemented by the Entrepreneurship Development Agency (EDA) since June 2014. To this effect, the grantee will monitor how the EDA has been implementing the program, focusing its attention on both effectiveness and efficiency. Thus, the assessment efforts will review the program budget to ascertain the real ratio of administrative costs (including public officials’ salaries and bonuses) to the funds actually disbursed toward the selected business ideas. The grantee will also analyze the relevance of the selected project vis-à-vis program’s declared goals and objectives, as well as effectiveness of the program management, including the selection system and decision-making processes. The monitoring exercise will involve interviews with the EDA staff and the program’s beneficiary enterprises, the results of which will be fed into the monitoring report that will be discussed at length with all the stakeholders. In addition, the grantee will cooperate with the EDA to develop actionable recommendations on how to improve the program’s monitoring system that ensures tracking its implementation against the identified outputs and outcomes.

 Assessment report of the state-funded Produce in Georgia Program (available in Georgian only)

 

2. Democratic Development Union of Georgia - What does municipal service cost? 

The project aims at contributing to increased budget transparency and accountability in Georgia by undertaking monitoring of the work of limited liability companies and nonentrepreneurial legal persons established by local authorities in Ozurgeti municipality. The grantee will initially request and gather detailed budget information from the municipalities, which it will systematize in a database that is to be updated regularly. Based on the analysis of the gathered information, the grantee will develop recommendations focusing on both the budgeting process, as well as on reporting to the municipalities by the funded entities. To this effect, standard budget request and reporting forms will be developed and provided to the municipal organs for review and approval. The forms will be designed in a manner that would ensure improved civil society participation in and oversight of budget processes and, therefore, will contribute to increased transparency of Ozurgeti municipal authorities.

Report:  What does municipal service cost? ( available in Georgian only)

 

3. Welfare Foundation - Civil society monitoring of the state program Universal Health Care

The project aims at contributing to increased budget transparency and accountability in Georgia by undertaking monitoring of the state-funded Universal Healthcare Program implemented by the Social Service Agency since 2013. To this effect, the grantee will review the implementation of the program, focusing on its effectiveness and efficiency. Namely, the project will assess the effectiveness of the program, looking at the extent to which its declared objectives have been or are likely to be achieved, and whether the funds earmarked for achieving these objectives have been expended in the most efficient way. The data for this monitoring exercise will be gathered through desk research, freedom of information requests, as well as interviews with the program’s beneficiaries to be conducted with support of grantee’s partner organizations in Batumi and Gori. When advocating for changes, the Welfare Foundation will cooperate closely with the coalition of CSOs Future without Poverty.

Assessment report of the state-funded Universal Healthcare Program (available in Georgian only)

 

4. Georgian Young Lawyers Association - Citizens’ right to participate in decision making process related to financial issues

The project aims at contributing to improved budget transparency and accountability in Georgia through increased civic engagement in monitoring budget expenditures of the self-governing cities of Gori, Rustavi, and Telavi. The grantee will train local residents on how to undertake budget monitoring, which will include introduction to budget and procurement processes, as well as a session on accessing public information. With support from the trained activists, the grantee will monitor the targeted municipalities’ budget implementation, as well as assess the extent to which these local authorities have engaged with citizens and civil society when developing municipal budgets. The latter part of the assessment will include review of both legislation and practice. The grantee also plans to undertake brief comparative analysis of civic engagement in budget implementation in European cities that partner with the targeted self-governing municipalities. The project findings will be discussed with local authorities and shared with the general public, so as to advocate for positive changes.

Budget of local self-government budget process (available in Georgian only)

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