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Since 2020, OGP Local has welcomed eleven new local members from the Eastern Partnership region; in 2020, we welcomed Akhaltsikhe, Khoni, and Ozurgeti in Georgia; Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia and Ternopil in Ukraine and Vanadzor and Gyumri in Armenia, and in 2022 Kutaisi and Rustavi from Georgia and Armavir and Yerevan from Armenia joined the Partnership.
Ozurgeti and Khoni are two municipalities in Georgia that joined OGP Local in 2020. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and with local elections looming in the near future, Khoni and Ozurgeti government and civil society managed to co-create a one-year action plan that included commitments on involving people with disabilities in decision making (Khoni), increasing fiscal openness (Ozurgeti) and improving access to public services to marginalized communities (both). By the end of 2021, both municipalities had implemented their commitment and submitted all their evaluation and learning reports.
Ozurgeti and Khoni set out to be more inclusive and reach out to new stakeholders and invite them to be part of the co-creation process for their 2022 action plan. Khoni kicked off their co-creation process inviting organizations that had participated in the previous action plan but also including youth groups, teacher representatives, private sector and a group representing internally displaced persons. This kick-off meeting was held in a center for the integration of internally displaced persons which symbolizes nicely the intention of City Hall and the civil society organizations leading on the OGP Local process to be more inclusive to stakeholders in Khoni.
Ozurgeti also wants to improve their co-creation process by being more inclusive. They have planned a series of citizen consultations which kicked off in a meeting with the Vice-mayor, the Chair of the Local Council, Council Persons and youth from local schools. The event was held in Ozurgeti’s Innovation Center, a space where young people can build their capacities to be more innovative and entrepreneurial.
Khoni and Ozurgeti have just started their co-creation processes and still have more work to do before they submit their new action plan and commitments; however, they are committed to continuing improving how City Hall and the Local Council respond to the needs of their citizens, by being more transparent, creating spaces for citizen participation, and being more accountable for their actions.