On July 5, 2021, six analysts and advocates from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan started a week-long study tour on open budgeting and transparency in public financial management in Tbilisi, Georgia. The study tour is organized by Eurasia Foundation through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Civil Society Support Program in Central Asia. Georgia is a member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and ranked fifth in the world according to the Open Budget Index. The study tour participants will learn from Georgia’s path to transparency, indicating areas for potential cooperation and applying lessons learned.
The study tour is hosted by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI). In close cooperation with international donors, non-governmental organizations, state agencies, and local municipalities, IDFI works to improve open budgeting, support transparency in public financial management, and enhance citizen participation in decision-making and budgeting.
Through the study tour Central Asian experts will gain an understanding of open government partnership principles implemented on budget transparency, public oversight, and participatory budgeting. They will visit Georgia’s Ministry of Finance and State Audit Office to learn about budget codes, a citizens’ guide to the law on state budgets, monitoring of political funding, and an innovative web-platform – Budget Monitor, one of the winners of the World Summit Awards 2017.
“Kazakhstan is not a member of the OGP yet. Therefore, we are interested to learn how Georgia achieved its membership, how it engages civil society, and budget advocacy in working with open data. We can use this knowledge to interact with government agencies and promote civic initiatives in Kazakhstan. It will be useful for us to find out how to achieve data disclosure so that open data is of high quality and, most importantly, to engage society with the given data. Because disclosing data is one thing, but involving society is a completely different and difficult process,” said Zhanat Nurgaliev, head of the non-profit organization Private Institute Integrity Astana, and participant of the study tour.