With the aim to strengthen democratic public participation at local level in Georgia, the project “Strengthening participatory democracy and human rights at local level in Georgia” conducted a series of academies of participatory democracy in all target regions of the project: Tbilisi, Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti. The seventh academy for Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region organised on 6-7 June 2022 also reached out to the municipalities beyond the region and included the representatives of Gori and Poti municipalities. The academy brought together 22 representatives of city halls, city councils, and civil society organisations to discuss current practices and trends in citizen engagement and participatory tools in political decision-making at the level of local government.
The academy ensured that the local representatives and CSOs are well-informed about the Council of Europe standards on civil participation, introduced to local representatives the Council of Europe methodologies and tools enhancing civil participation practice, such as “CivicLab”, “Uchange”, “Civil Participation in Decision-Making Toolkit” and provided their contextualisation and outlook on the possibilities of practical application of the tools in their respective municipalities. Moreover, the local representatives learned about the deliberative form of civil participation “Citizens Assembly” and its added value in light of already existing participation forms at the local level.
In total, implemented seven academies brought together more than 150 representatives of city halls, city councils, CSOs from 42 municipalities covering both local authorities and local CSOs. The academies strengthened capacities in civil participation forms and practices and enhanced their skills to apply the statutory participation forms and Council of Europe participation tools in practice. The events enhanced cooperation between local authorities and civil society and established a strong foundation for joint initiatives.
The events were organised in the framework of the Project “Strengthening Participatory Democracy and Human Rights at Local Level in Georgia”, implemented by the Directorate General of Democracy, Division Elections and Participatory Democracy and Congress of Local and Regional Authorities within the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia 2020-2023 with the financial contribution of Austrian Development Cooperation.