One of the overarching objectives of EPRC is to serve as a watch-dog organization, in partnership with other NGOs, to monitor the realization of the undertaken policy commitments
Monitoring public finance institutions, rules and practices at various levels of government has been the seminal activity for EPRC since its inception. The monitoring projects have been carried out on general state budget execution, on specific funds such as the Millennium Challenge Georgia, and in respect to particular policy areas, such as the monitoring of Georgian trade policy in the context of eradication of poverty and monitoring administrative burden to small and medium enterprises in the country.
The Center plans to further expand this “watchdog” portfolio to follow up policy-making processes and ensure effective implementation of relevant policy commitments. While the Center will focus on building working partnerships with the government to institutionalize inclusive policy processes, the independence of the think tank will allow for resorting to adversarial approaches, including the well-tested “naming and shaming” tactics through major media outlets in cases where collaborative approach fails to bring about the desired outcomes.
MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE GEORGIA COMPACT
EPRC has played a leading role in promoting the civic oversight and transparent implementation of the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Compact – a seminal and innovative assistance programme for Georgia from the Government of USA, which entered into force on 7 April 2006 with duration of five years. The original amount of the grant, $295.3 million, was augmented with additional $100 Million on 20 November 2008, to the total of $395.3 million to be spent of projects that targeted the priority needs of the country, which were supposed to be identified through a consultative process with all the relevant stakeholders. The major part of the funding was allocated for Samtskhe-Javakheti road rehabilitation (USD 209 million); North-South gas pipeline rehabilitation (USD 49.5 million) and various regional infrastructure development projects (USD 57.7 million).
EPRC has been monitoring the Millennium Challenge Georgia (MCG) Program since January 2006. Supported by Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), the monitoring of this key foreign assistance program in Georgia has been implemented in cooperation with other NGOs that are members of the Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia Coalition. Over the period between 2006 and 2010, the EPRC published five monitoring reports, corresponding to the five stages of MCG implementation. These reports have been recognized as important tools for achieving transparency of the program and promoting the accountability in its implementation. EPRC has identified serious flaws in the management of the project, revealed lack of competence in several contractors, facilitated the development of transparency strategy, analyzed the impact of the program on the economic and monetary parameters in the country, and reviewed the conformity of results achieved through the implementation of projects with the goals declared in the Compact.
MONITORING OF RURAL AID PROGRAM
Besides the MCG project, EPRC has carried out a number of monitoring projects, individually as well as in collaboration with partner NGOs within the Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia Coalition. Since September 2010, with the financial support of Eurasia Partnership Foundation and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), EPRC has launched the implementation of the project designed to ensure public oversight of the “Rural Aid Program” – governmental initiative geared towards improving economic conditions in Georgia’s villages that is financed from the state budget at close to 40 million GEL. The project aims to monitor expenditures within this state-funded rural developmental program, to evaluate its effectiveness in meeting the real needs of the population, to promote public engagement in decision-making process concerning priority-setting for funding allocation, and to engage the media and civil society in the oversight of the program’s implementation. Based on the importance of the rural development for Georgian economy and the serious violations revealed during the initial stages of program’s implementation, EPRC plans to expand the monitoring initiative to cover substantial number of affected villages in the country.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF TBILISI CITY BUDGET
Purpose of the project is evaluating effectiveness and transparency of the Tbilisi City budget, focusing on two high-profile programs: “New life of Old Tbilisi” and “Social Security Programs of the Disadvantaged Citizens”. The recommendation will be presented as policy briefs and other means of advocacy means will be used to ensure the transparency of the 2012 Tbilisi City Budget. The project aims to ensure that Tbilisi City has a Program Budget that envisages prioritizing the expenses, goals and objectives and detailing the activities to be carried out. Transparent budget will increase awareness among the public regarding the allocation of financial recourses of the capital.
MONITORING OF EUROPEAN NEIGHBORHOOD POLICY IN GEORGIA
The project targeted assessment of obligations under European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan, as well as the assessment of the measures taken to prepare the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA).
MONITORING OF GEORGIAN TRADE POLICY IN THE CONTEXT OF ERADICATION OF POVERTY
Within the framework of the project EPRC has studied and analyzed a ten month dynamics of trade balance of Georgia (2007-2008), its influence on the current economic processes of the country, especially in the poverty reduction context.
HEALTH BUDGET MONITORING PROJECT/ MONITORING OF ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR THE POPULATION BELOW POVERTY LINE
The aim of the project is to monitor the activities planned within the scopes of Medical Assistance State Program for the Population below the Poverty Line, in order to ensure its effective implementation.
MONITORING OF STATE BUDGET OF GEORGIA
The project envisaged ensuring transparency of the state budget through publishing weekly media coverage on the state budget in the local newspaper 24 hours.
MONITORING OF ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN TO SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES IN GEORGIA
The focus of the project is to qualitatively measure the size of administrative costs to enterprises and evaluate the changes in regulatory enforcement as of 2004. For this purpose several qualitative indicators were designed to periodically monitor and assess regulatory burden on businesses.