In Rustavi, local actor’s participation in decision-making gets improved by Czech expertise

Georgian city of Rustavi uses Czech know-how and mentoring to improve communication of the municipality and to encourage stakeholders in discussing future developments in the city.

Although various local and international organizations have been making efforts to increase the public involvement and participation in local decision making in Georgia, progress sometimes comes slower than desired. A local municipality in Rustavi seeks to improve its own communication and engage local stakeholders in future planning of city’s development. Project ACROSS supports this process through transferring Czech know-how in the field of implementation and coordination of urban activities, which has been lacking in Rustavi so far.

“A few years back, nobody was talking with nobody in Rustavi, from this point of view, ACROSS project contributed to the awesome and visible change.” says Mr. Michael Lobzhanidze, who is responsible for youth development issues in the city, during a coordination meeting with Czech-UNDP representatives at the Rustavi city hall.

Project ACROSS brings together Rustavi Innovation Hub (RIH) and Czech innovator MEPCO who took lead in several networking initiatives in Rustavi. To date, ACROSS project contributed, among other things, to addressing corporate social responsibility (CSR), to establishing Rustavi Business Advisory Council, and provided networking opportunities through Regional Quadruple Helix Strategy & Action plan.

On the cooperation between Czech and Georgian partners, Mr. Revaz Barbakadze, a progressive innovator from the RIH and Czech culture enthusiast highlights the positive impact: “This project is the result of a long-term very comfortable partnership between RIH and MEPCO. The project brought us a new perspective and changed our mindset. It was a valuable lesson in how to integrate activities of various stakeholders in the city for a common goal.”.

Activities of the Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs in Rustavi continue beyond the ACROSS project. A new project focusing on Smart City problematics is starting in the upcoming weeks. Since 2019, Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs has supported three projects in Rustavi with funding provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. In total, expenditures on these projects reached 151,000 USD.