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CEPPS in Georgia

Since 2000, CEPPS has been working in Georgia to support the development of a multi-party political system and bolster an inclusive and participatory political culture by working directly with political parties, local government bodies, the Central Election Commission (CEC), educational institutions, marginalized groups, and civil society organizations (CSOs).
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

CEPPS works to support the development of a free and fair system in which government bodies and political parties have the capacity to better link with constituents and develop policy platforms that are responsive to citizens’ interests and needs.  CEPPS also empowers and enables the electorate, especially under-represented groups, to effectively demand issues-based political party programs and government policy agendas responsive to their needs. CEPPS supports consensus-building among political, civic, and electoral actors to address outstanding electoral issues and monitors election activities in support of a free and fair competition.  

CEPPS Approach:

For over a decade, CEPPS has worked to support the major political parties across the political spectrum to strengthen their institutional capacity. CEPPS has supported and strengthened the capacity of youth, women and other marginalized groups to develop policy awareness and bolster their positions in party structures. CEPPS also increases political parties’ capacity for developing inclusive, data-based policy platforms, as well as enhancing strategic communications. CEPPS does this by offering its partners representative survey data and by providing access to and building expertise with research tools.  

CEPPS takes a holistic approach to fair elections, working on both the “demand side” with members of disadvantaged communities advocating for improved access to elections and on the “supply side” with the CEC and other electoral stakeholders to improve policies, procedures, and systems for administering and maintaining free and fair elections.  

CEPPS is one of few international organizations in Georgia focusing resources and expertise at the local level, especially in communities beyond Tbilisi. CEPPS works with community activists to advocate directly to local government, especially within the framework of the local budgeting process. Through partnerships with CSOs and local gender equality councils (GEC), CEPPS ensures that marginalized voices, including those of women, youth, ethnic and religious minorities, and persons with disabilities, are heard in local and national platforms. For example, through budget coordination groups facilitated by CEPPS, municipal factions, GECs, and CSOs developed detailed budget initiatives on issues such as infrastructure and accessibility for the first time. 

CEPPS Key Achievements in Georgia:

CEPPS has supported political parties both in and out of parliament and local governments: 

  • CEPPS has supported the broad spectrum of political parties in identifying citizen needs through credible national survey data and elaborating issue-based, citizen-responsive party programs. CEPPS has also established and empowered increasingly influential network of politically active women and youth who are now holding high level positions in party organizations, serve as members of parliament, local government bodies and in various government and non-government bodies.  
  • Factions in parliament and local government have strengthened policy development through improved negotiation on legislation, constituent outreach mechanisms, and research tools, including surveys and focus groups, to capture constituent needs;  
  • CEPPS leveraged its convening power in support of the passage of the first parliamentary code of ethics in 2019 and, prior, code of ethics in municipal governments, such as Zugdidi in 2018. These codes regulate decorum and financial disclosures, among other best practices. 

 

CEPPS has contributed to the development of a vibrant and effective civil society in Georgia. By working with underserved groups like women, persons with disability, and ethnic minority communities, CEPPS has been able to bring new voices into Georgia’s democratic discussion and support advocacy in the cities and regions.  

  • In 2019, for the first time, CSOs actively participated in the development of municipal budgets, a process formerly isolated in government bodies; 
  • CEPPS encourages collaboration among CSOs by supporting joint projects and facilitating connections between local and national civil society activists, which fosters a broad and deep network that shares information and more effectively achieves progress; 
  • CEPPS coordinates with USAID’s local partners, particularly local civil society organizations (CSOs) that conduct programming in related areas, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the nation’s nongovernmental sector.  
  • CEPPS has leveraged the trend of decentralization to support the development of stronger mechanisms for constituent-government communication and feedback. CEPPS has worked with CSOs to elevate citizen issues onto the agenda and supported local governments in responding regularly with policy and communications. 

Electoral reforms for the critical areas of election administration, political finance, and political party administration were developed through a consensus-based approach facilitated by CEPPS and are anticipated to pass Parliament, bringing the country in line with international best practices in advance of the October 2020 election.  

  • CEPPS promotes the implementation of more just, inclusive elections in partnership with the CEC, providing expert technical guidance and supportive programming.  
  • CEPPS supports the integrity of the electoral process by hardening cybersecurity systems and practices, taking a holistic approach addressing both personal practices through improved cyber hygiene and implementation of more secure cybersecurity systems.  
  • CEPPS has also encouraged a more engaged citizenry through its Democracy & Citizenship university civic education course, which is now taught in 32 higher education institutions. 

 

CEPPS has supported the integrity of Georgia’s democratic elections through observation missions, most recently for the 2016-2018 electoral cycle. CEPPS looks forward to supporting monitoring efforts for elections in 2020 and beyond, and the reports and recommendations CEPPS issues after monitoring activities are valued by domestic and international observers as impartial and comprehensive assessments. 

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