Appeal of Civil Society Representatives to the Government of Georgia on the Statement made by the Government Commission on Regional Development on March 13

17 Mar, 2014

The Government of Georgia approved “the Basic Principles of the Strategy for Decentralization and Development of self-government” established on the basis of pre-election promises and thus declared its readiness to carry out a full-scale reform in the field of self-government. The government of Georgia, under the leadership of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and with broad participation of civil society organizations has developed the Local Self-Government Code and presented to the Parliament of Georgia for consideration.  

The governing political party has made many compromises and concessions during the parliamentary debate. However, in most cases, the adoption of the Code has been positively received by the local organizations and the international community. In addition, the population of the regions became hopeful that the communication with local authorities would be improved and that they would be given an opportunity to participate in local decision-making process. 


The positive feedback was stipulated by the fact that the at the first stage of the reform the Local Self-Government Code should be adopted, while the obligations established in the transitional provisions should to be fulfilled on the second stage of the reform. 

As a result of the reform, self-governing city status will be granted to Telavi, Ozurgeti, Zugdidi, Gori, Ambrolauri and Akhaltsikhe. As for the remaining areas, setting up the new self-governing communities (municipalities) is considered.

On March 13th, 2013, the Government Commission on Regional Development released a statement according to which the Commission expresses its readiness “to overview the opportunity about creation of each local community with each administrative centre, from the settlement on the remained territory after creation of the self-governing cities.”

We consider that the local self- governance system established through this model:

  1. Cannot improve the communication between the local authorities and the population and cannot give the latter the opportunity to participate in local decision-making process;
  2. Cannot create the necessary conditions for establishing local interest-oriented self- governance system;  
  3. Cannot create a new cultural, economic and social centers on geographically related areas;
  4. Cannot create the necessary conditions for rural development and professional growth of local leaders and qualified public servants.

Accordingly, if this model is approved, it will get evident that the division of the reform in first and second phases was artificial and that the government does not have the will and the ability to create a real basis for developing the self- governance system. Making such a decision will be considered as the refusal of the governing political party to carry out the self-governance reform launched by the Government of Georgia, under the leadership of the former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and through coordination of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, soon after winning the elections. 

We express our readiness to be engaged in the process of solving these issues and to provide the government of Georgia with our views that have been evolved as a result of the consultations with the population of Georgia carried out during the last two decades. Our vision is based on the principle of setting up new communities on the basis of territories with similar interests and infrastructure, which is supported by the appropriate geographic, economic, financial and other data. 

  • Regional Development Center
  • Local Democracy Network Center
  • Association “Civitas Georgica”
  • Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
  • Non-Governmental Organization “Sida”
  • International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
  • Public Movement “Multinational Georgia” (PMMG)
  • European Initiative – Liberal Academy Tbilisi
  • International Center for Civic Culture (ICCC)
  • Civil Society Institute (CSI)
  • Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
  • Information Center of Gori
  • Public Defender
  • Association of Self-Governing Cities
  • Taso Foundation
  • Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC)
  • Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)