Georgia and the IMF
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs)
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Georgia -- Progress Report|
On The Elaboration Of The Poverty Reduction And Economic Growth Program
May 30, 2002
1. Progress achieved in elaborating the PREGP of Georgia.
The Interim Document of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Growth Program of Georgia (PREGP) was developed in October 2000 and discussed with the international community, civil society and NGOs. By end-November 2000, the Governmental Commission for Elaborating the PREGP, chaired by the President of Georgia, convened and adopted the mentioned Interim Document. In January 2001, the Interim Document was discussed and approved by the Executive Boards of the World Bank and IMF.
The work to elaborate the final PREGP was initiated in January 2001. The first draft, the so-called Discussion Material, was produced by October of last year. This document became subject to comprehensive discussions not only within the Government, but also within civil society and the international community.
The Discussion Material, as well as subsequent drafts, consider comments and proposals of the IMF and the World Bank as outlined in the Joint Staff Assessment. In particular:
2. Revised time-table and expected completion date for the final PREGP.
The initial schedule for elaborating the Final Document, as envisaged in the Interim Document, has been changed significantly. It was planned to finalize the PREGP by June 2001. Based on subsequent consultations with International Donor Organizations and civil society, our goal is now to finalize the PREGP by October 2002. This delay in finalizing the PREGP will allow us to ensure maximum participation of the civil society representatives, as well as to perfect the Final Document. An important priority issue in this respect will be the financial assessment (cost evaluation) of the Program, and social impact analysis of various activities and reforms envisaged in the Final Document. The final time-table looks like this:
3. Additional steps taken by the Government in conjunction with the civil society and international community to develop the final PREGP.
In order to promote civil society participation in the elaboration of the PREGP, a so-called Participation Format has been developed by the Government based on consultations with civil society representatives. Based on this Format, the Georgian version of the Discussion Material was published as a brochure. The brochures have been distributed to all the Governmental Agencies, all the Parliamentary Factions and Committees, to local Self-Government Bodies and various NGOs for their remarks and comments. It is noteworthy that comments have been received not only from Governmental Agencies, but also from NGOs and civil society representatives. The Secretariat to the Governmental Commission, in close cooperation with the Sub-Commissions, has already started to analyze these comments and some of them will be taken into consideration while elaborating the Final Document.
One of the significant preconditions for the success of the Program lies in holding meetings and consultations with representatives of civil society, NGOs, business circles, trade unions, etc. Numerous meetings have been held within the framework of the Communication Strategy of the Program both in Tbilisi and in various regions of Georgia. The regional meetings, which were covered by local and central mass media, were aimed at encouraging dialogue between the Government (both central and local) and the population. Great importance is attached to relations with mass media, since it is essential that the main goals and objectives of the PREGP be understood by the entire society. In this regard, an advertising campaign of the Program has been conducted within the framework of the Communication Strategy of the PREGP. In addition, the census of the population, which took place in January 17-24 of this year, was used to disseminate special information booklets on the Discussion Material of the PREGP to the majority of the population of Tbilisi.
In the framework of the participation process of the PREGP, a series of debates are currently underway with the purpose of building a consensus among different stakeholders on the hierarchy of problems and the corresponding strategic objectives of the PREGP based on the Discussion Material.
Participation of the representatives of civil society and format of the debates were mainly conditioned by their desire to be involved in the process. The information campaign and the creation of a web page on the Internet provided additional basis for involvement of new participants in the process. Liaison Persons of the Sub-Commissions are also taking an active part in these debates, because one of the main ideas of holding them is the subsequent discussion of "the final product" of these debates by the Sub-Commissions after their completion.
Logical continuation of the debates is planned by means of carrying out a series of technical workshops. The selection of participants will be based on the participatory principle, in order to ensure the participation of high-level experts both from various Governmental Agencies (Secretariat, Sub-Commissions and certain Ministries and Agencies) and from civil society (including NGOs, representatives of academia, business circles, etc.).
The coordinated work of donors should be mentioned separately. When the Government of Georgia requested the donor community to coordinate their activities, this initiative got full support from the donors' side. The coordinated work of key donors in Georgia resulted in launching the Project "Support to PREGP", which started in October 2001. The Multi-donor Support Project envisages to assist the Government of Georgia to develop the Final Document and to improve the level of coordination among the existing 5 Sub-Commissions, as well as between the Secretariat and the Sub-Commissions. The Project also envisages promoting intensive involvement of civil society in the preparation of the Final Document.
It should be noted that significant progress has been achieved with respect to improving the level of coordination among various agencies involved in the Program elaboration process. The Liaison Persons of the Sub-Commissions maintain permanent and close contact with the Project Director and the entire staff of the Secretariat. Active involvement of the Secretariat in all the activities, meetings, discussions, debates, etc., is also noteworthy, since it keeps the entire staff fully informed about the whole PREGP process.
However, the above-mentioned Multi-donor Support Project comes to an end on 31st of May 2002. The Government addressed the Donor community with a request to extend the technical assistance until the end of this year. The Donors suggested that the Government apply to the newly-established Poverty Reduction Strategies Trust Fund (PRSTF) with such a request. The Government drafted a Project Proposal for the PRSTF, which should be discussed by a special Steering Committee established in Georgia (which comprises of UNDP Resident Representative, World Bank Resident Representative, Ambassador of the Netherlands and a Georgian Governmental Official) in early June. After approval by the Steering Committee, the Project Proposal will be forwarded to the World Bank Office in Washington, D.C., which actually manages the PRSTF. We do very much hope that the decision on continuation of the "Support to PREGP" Project will be made quickly, taking into account the urgency of the matter.
In addition, it should be noted that the Georgian side continues intensive consultations and negotiations with International Organizations and Donor Countries to obtain their support for the actual implementation of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Growth Program of Georgia.
Done by the Secretariat