Since the ratification of the European Charter on Local Self-Government in 2004, Georgia developed and implemented a number of reforms and laws with the aim to strengthen local authorities and to enhance civic engagement in decision-making. The large-scale decentralisation and regional development mechanisms include but are not limited to amendments to the Constitution of Georgia introducing constitutional guarantees for local self-government, the 2014 Self-Government Code, and the Decentralisation Strategy 2020-2025. In addition, the country has implemented since 2014 the National Strategy for the Protection of Human Rights in Georgia, accompanied by successive action plans.
In this context, the project “Strengthening participatory democracy and human rights at local level in Georgia” aims to strengthen human rights protection and democratic public participation at local level by ensuring that civil society organisations and citizens have a real impact on decision-making processes. The project also helps strengthen the capacities of local authorities and the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) to protect and embed human rights standards and practices in their policies and strategies, to incorporate a gender perspective and to eliminate all forms of discrimination.
The project is implemented jointly by the Congress and the Directorate General of Democracy, Division Elections and Civil Society, under the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia 2020-2023. The main partners of the project are NALAG and the Public Defender of Georgia, which support the identification of needs and the provision of capacity development, expert support and advocacy.
Strengthening participatory democracy and human rights at local level in Georgia
The project “Strengthening participatory democracy and human rights at local level in Georgia” (2020-2023) aims to strengthen human rights protection and democratic public participation at local level in Georgia by strengthening institutional frameworks and by supporting local authorities and their national association in their efforts to protect and promote human rights, with a particular focus on gender equality and the elimination of discrimination.
The project is implemented by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities together with the Directorate General of Democracy within the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia 2020-2023, in close co-operation with the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) and the Public Defender of Georgia, and in line with the principles enshrined in the European Charter of Local Self-Government (ETS No. 122) and its Additional Protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority (CETS No. 207).
- The capacities of local authorities and NALAG are strengthened to integrate and implement human rights standards and practices in their policies and strategies, and to advocate human rights in Georgia as full-fledged partners. [Implemented by the Congress]
- In selected municipalities, local authorities improve social inclusion and equal opportunities for all, incorporate a gender perspective in local political action, and eliminate discrimination. [Implemented by the Congress]
- Civil society and local authorities develop and pilot an improved regulatory framework for civil participation. [Implemented by the Directorate General of Democracy]
Action Plan level funding is provided by Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden.
The project implementation method is based on supporting local ownership of outputs while channelling best European practice and promoting peer-to-peer learning among local actors as well as between peers from other Council of Europe member states and Georgia. To that end, activities aim at developing the institutional capacity of local authorities and NALAG to carry out their responsibilities, strengthening the protection of human rights at local level, promoting effective, balanced and inclusive civil participation in local decision-making, and supporting central authorities in the development of legislation and policies in line with European norms and standards.
- Local authorities, citizens and NALAG strengthen their capacities to protect, promote and enjoy human rights, in partnership with the Public Defender of Georgia and based on existing Council of Europe training curricula and tools.
- NALAG creates a platform of municipalities to enhance the dialogue on human rights with national stakeholders and civil society organisations, and to advocate specific local needs and challenges in human rights.
- A selected group of municipalities adopt and review local action plans, policies and practices to increase gender equality, prevent and combat discrimination, and promote the inclusion of underrepresented groups for equal participation and representation in local decision-making.
- A pool of educators is established to carry out educational and awareness-raising activities on local democracy and human rights for young people to ensure continuous learning and sustainability, and improve youth policies.
- Public officials and civil society increase their capacities and awareness of participatory decision-making, and pilot city councils develop regulatory frameworks and practices to enable an increased public influence on policy and decision-making.
Partners & Beneficiaries
- National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia
- Public Defender of Georgia
- Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia
- Local authorities
- Civil society actors
- Under-represented groups of population, including women, youth and vulnerable groups (i.e. minorities, IDPs, etc.)
These target groups will be approached through awareness-raising campaigns, cascade trainings, expert support, peer-to-peer exchanges, as well as support to local initiatives and partnerships.
By having an impact on the protection and promotion of human rights and promoting inclusive and participatory societies and institutions at all levels, the project “Strengthening participatory democracy and human rights at local level in Georgia” contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good health and well-being), 5 (Gender equality), 10 (Reduced inequalities), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (Partnership for the goals) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Congress Secretariat in Strasbourg
Head of Unit - Co-operation Activities
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Council of Europe Office in Tbilisi
Senior Project Officer
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