Statement of Civil Society and Media organizations against alleged revocation of the status from the-now seven self-governing cities in Georgia

To: Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze; 

Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili

Establishment of the effective local government in the country is one of the major pledges made by “Georgian Dream” political party – in 2013 Georgian Government approved “The Main Principles of Decentralization and Local Government Development Strategy” document highlighting directions and phases of the reform and in 2014 the Georgian Parliament enacted “Local Government Code”. Actually, the reform process commenced with increasing the quantity of self-governing cities and introducing the mayors/governors direct election. Namely these actions were unambiguously highly assessed by the Council of Europe and other international organizations that correspondingly was enshrined in the Freedom House Report of 2015, thus proving betterment of Georgia’s rating score (see, report from the above mentioned, we’ve had no reason for doubts that Government would consistently pursue activities slated by local self-government strategy, including, territorial optimization of the municipalities.

The ongoing constitutional reform created hopes that local governance would become institutionally more sustained based on the principal act of the country. However, just the contrary, recently we would listen to various counteracting statements from the governing party representatives about the intention of GoG to revoke the status from the-now self-governing seven cities throughout the country that we perceive is an unambiguous deviation from the declared principles of this particular reform.

Developing the self-governing cities represents a major tendency of the modern worlds’ socio-economic growth. Buttressing self-governing citiesadvancement in Georgia would form a consequential prerequisite for urban, social and economic growth, and also, is one of the indispensable elements as to have implemented the European governance model in the country. Likewise, repeal of the self-governing cities and leaving them within the community municipalities as it was practiced in the past would definitely stagger both urban and rural development.

Besides this, a city having no local authorities elected by and accountable to locals, with no own resources, property and budget, becomes deprived of any prospect for future development.

For these and other reasons, we believe, that decreasing the number of self-governing cities would be undoubtedly a stark step back in the reforming of local government as well as for the evolvement of the country on the whole. Even more, this step would invokealienation itself between the local citizens and public authorities, deter current projects and eventually abate local democracy standard.

For these reasons, we consider absolutely unacceptable to revoke the established since 2014 self-governing units. And hereby, we appeal to the Government of Georgia to form their position explicitly and refrain from achieving decision of the kind that would halt the already commenced process of development.

Signatories to the statement:

  1. Regional Development Center
  2. Local Democracy Network Center
  3. Civitas Georgica
  4. Open Society Georgia Foundation
  5. International Center for Civic Culture
  6. Georgian Media Club
  7. Management Systems Development Centre
  8. Center for Training and Consultancy
  9. Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia
  10. Human Rights Center
  11. Community Development Centre
  12. Civil Development Agency
  13. Taso Foundation
  14. Democratic Involvement Centers Network
  15. Studio “Re”
  16. ISFED
  17. Gori Information Center (Gori)
  18. Bridge of Friendship ‘Kartlosi” (Gori)
  19. Gori Civic Development Center (Gori)
  20. ShidaKartli Democratic Development Institute (Gori)
  21. Society “Biliki” (Gori)
  22. Gori Youth Movement “Droa” (Gori)
  23. Gori Photographers Club (Gori)
  24. ShidaKartli Veterinarians’ Association (Gori)
  25. „Gori Downtown“ (Gori)
  26. Welfare and Development Center (Gori)
  27. “House without Borders” (Gori)
  28. Ozurgeti Young Scientists Club (Ozurgeti)
  29. Guria Youth Resource Center (Ozurgeti)
  30. Democratic Development Union of Georgia (Ozurgeti)
  31. „Women for Regional Development“ (Ozurgeti)
  32. Ozurgeti Rural Council (Ozurgeti)
  33. „Saunje“ (Zugdidi)
  34. Ecological and Environmental Association “Dea” (Zugdidi)
  35. Community Foundation „Egrisi“ (Zugdidi)
  36. Community Foundation „Nepha“ (Zugdidi)
  37. Union of Democrat Meskhs (Akhaltsikhe)
  38. Akhaltsikhe Youth Center (Akhaltsikhe)
  39. Association “Toleranti” (Akhaltsikhe)
  40. Kakheti Civic League (Telavi)
  41. Georgian Society of Nature Friends (Telavi)
  42. Georgian Public Interests Defense Association (Telavi)
  43. NGO „Support for People“ (Telavi)
  44. Citizens’ Civil Union “Nadikvari – Friendship for Development”
  45. “Step to the Future“ (Gori, Telavi)
  46. Anti-Violence Network of Georgia – Mtskheta-Mtianeti Regional Committee (Mtskheta)
  47. Association „Zekari“ (Ambrolauri)
  48. Democracy Institute (Batumi)
  49. “House of Free Journalists” (Batumi)
  50. „Deserving Old Age“ (Kobuleti)
  51. Senaki Rural Council (Senaki)
  52. Lanchkhuti Information Center (Lanchkhuti)
  53. Lanchkhuti Rural Council (Lanchkhuti)
  54. Chokhatauri Rural Council (Chokhatauri)
  55. Kutaisi Information Center (Kutaisi)
  56. „Europe is Our Home“ (Kutaisi)
  57. Zestaponi Rural Council (Zestaponi)
  58. „Step“ (Kharagauli)
  59. Tkibuli Development Foundation (Tkibuli)
  60. Khashuri Rural Council (Khashuri)
  61. „We – for Healthy Future“ (Tserovani, IDPs settlement)
  62. „For Better Future“ (Tserovani, IDPs settlement)
  63. Association „Specter“ (Sagarejo)
  64. „Civil Initiative“ (Tsnori)
  65. Community Organization „Nukriani“ (Sighnaghi)
  66. CommunityUnion “Hereti“ (Lagodekhi)
  67. Community Foundation “Leli” (Lagodekhi)
  68. „Demosi“ (Rustavi)
  69. GAEI – Georgian Association of Educational Initiatives (Rustavi)
  70. Association of Democratic Women of Marneuli (Marneuli)
  71. Bolnisi Language House (Bolnisi)
  72. Dusheti Development Foundation (Dusheti)
  73. „Stepantsminda“ (Stepantsminda)
  74. Georgian Rural Council
  75. „Association „Reform in Psychiatry“
  76. Union „Parent’s Support“
  77. Psychiatric Health Association of Georgia
  78. Association “Social Umbrella”
  79. Professional and Inclusive Education Development Association of Georgia
  80. Georgian Regional Media Association (GRMA)
  81. Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters
  82. Georgian Media Monitoring Center
  83. „POST-Alioni“ (Guria)
  84. Media House „Guria News“ (Guria)
  85. Guria Press Club (Guria)
  86. Media House „GuriisMoambe“ (Guria)
  87. TV Company “Guria” (Guria)
  88. Newspaper “Zugdidi” (Samegrelo)
  89. TV Company “Odishi” (Samegrelo)
  90. TV Company “The 9th Waive” (Samegrelo)
  91. TV Company “Jikha” (Samegrelo)
  92. TV Company “Kolkheti 89” (Samegrelo)
  93. TV Company “Egrisi” (Samegrelo)
  94. TV 25 (Adjara)
  95. „AkhaliGazeti“ (Imereti)
  96. Media House „S.“ (Imereti)
  97. Newspaper „My Imereti“ (Imereti)
  98. TV Company “Rioni” (Imereti)
  99. TV Company “Imervizia” (Imereti)
  100. TV Company “Argo” (Imereti)
  101. TV Company “Zari” (Imereti)
  102. Newspaper „SamkhretisKaribche“ (Samtskhe-Javakheti)
  103. TV Company “Borjomi”
  104. TV Company “The 9th Waive” (Samskhe-Javakheti)
  105. TV Company “ATV12” (Samtskhe-Javakheti)
  106. TV Company “Parvana” (Samskhe-Javakheti)
  107. Media Center „Kakheti“ (Kakheti)
  108. Newspaper„Voice of Kakheti“ (Kakheti)
  109. Newspaper „Specter“(Kakheti)
  110. TV Company “Gurjaani” (Kakheti)
  111. TV Company “Tanamgzavri” (Kakheti)
  112. ShidaKartli Information Center (ShidaKartli)
  113. TV Company „Trialeti“ (ShidaKartli)
  114. TV Company “Dia” (ShidaKartli)
  115. Newspaper „Trialeti Express“ (KvemoKartli)
  116. Newspaper „Didgorelebi” (KvemoKartli, TetriTskharo)
  117. KvemoKartli TV Company (KvemoKartli)
  118. TV Company “Marneuli” (KvemoKartli)
  119. TV Company “Bolneli” (KvemoKartli)