The Story behind Georgia’s Progress in Development Co-operation: Contributing to a Global Compendium of Good Practices
Georgia is one of nine pilot countries that has used key mechanisms, tools and instruments to enhance effectiveness at the country level. The objective of these pilots was to demonstrate the positive impact of effective development co-operation and the achievement of national, regional and global development goals.
A front-runner in Nationalisation of Sustainable Development Goals
Engaging with the Sustainable Development Goals since their inception, Georgia was among the first countries to present its Voluntary National Review at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in 2016 formalizing Georgia’s commitment towards achieving sustainable development. Since then, the Sustainable Development Goals Council (SDG Council) was created with the mandate to coordinate the nationalisation of the goals, and monitor their implementation. Since 2016, all 17 UNSDGs have gone through the process of nationalization.
In each of the ‘EU-Georgia Association Agreement’, the ‘Public Administration Reform Roadmap’, the Action Plan and ‘National Strategy 2014-2020 for the Protection of Human Rights in Georgia’, and the Social and Economic Development Strategy – the ‘Georgia 2020’ national plan was integrated every step of the way, nationalizing the SDGs throughout key agreements and platforms.
For setting national policies and financing for the SDGs, the government used a range of tools including an umbrella planning framework, the Annual Governmental Work Plan (AGWP), which was then interlinked with the guiding national budget-planning document – Basic Data and Directions (BDD). This approach ensured clear linkages between the development goals, national and regional strategies and priorities, and funding plans.
The Donor Coordination System in Georgia
The first steps towards central and effective donor coordination in Georgia was made in 2014, after the 2013 constitutional changes broadened the role of the Prime Minister, as well the functions of the Administration of the Government (AOG) of Georgia, to include administration of the policy planning and development process at the central level.
In addition, the Donor Coordination Unit (DCU) was created for the effective coordination of external aid, to increase Government’s ownership over Official Development Assistance, strengthen mutual accountability, and align donor aid with national priorities – as per the internationally agreed principles of effectiveness. To achieve compatibility between the Government’s medium and long-term development policy and external aid, coordination of co-operation between various donors, partners and aid recipient organizations is a direct function of the DCU.
AOG coordinates its external aid through policy-dialogue platforms such as the Annual Development Partnership Forum, chaired by the Prime Minister. The Forum gathers authorities of ministries of Georgia, and representatives of donor organisations and diplomatic corps. With participation from respective government agencies, six thematic working group meetings based on the following national priorities supplement the work of the forum: 1. Good governance; 2. Rule of law and justice; 3. Economic growth; 4. Human capital development; 5. Social welfare; 6. Sustainable Use of Natural Resources.
The aim of the coordination meetings is to conduct a strategic dialogue with donors, harmonizing external aid with state priorities and to avoid overlapping and duplicating resources. An instrument used for the more targeted acquisition of resources is a Gap Analysis, a tool which is presented to development partners at policy dialogue meetings to specify where external support is needed in Georgia’s national plan.
In addition to such policy dialogue platforms, AOG also operates an Electronic Aid Information Management System – eAIMS (https://eaims.ge/) and produces a bilingual annual External Aid Report based on data analysis derived from eAIMS. This report also contains information on Georgia’s progress adhering to the effectiveness principles, and the indicators outlined in the Global Partnership’s monitoring framework.
Despite evident progress in number of areas, there is still room for improving Georgia’s coordination systems. As identified during a Global Partnership workshop on country-level implementation, Georgia still needs to improve its existing donor coordination mechanisms.
As a next step, Georgia is committed to a number of research projects spearheaded by the DCU team, to produce a comprehensive outline of the future design of the Donor Coordination Mechanism, with specific tools and processes that will be implemented in the coming period.
Georgia’s successful tools and practices, as well as those gathered from the other eight pilot countries, provided key insights for the Global Compendium of Good Practices on enhancing effectiveness in countries – launched at the Global Partnership’s first Senior-Level Meeting.