Batumi Center covers Autonomous Republic of Adjara.
Autonomous Republic of Adjara:
Municipalities of Adjara: Batumi, Keda, Kobuleti, Shuakhevi, Khelvachauri and Khulo.
population: 346 300
Area: 2,899 km2
Batumi Center was launched in April, 2012. The first discussion held at the Center was dedicated to tourism and ecology. The Center has already hosted 2800 discussions/meetings; among them 190 discussions/meetings were initiated and organized by Batumi Center staff. Almost 8000 people visit the Center each year.
The Center functions as a hub for community members to discuss issues of local and national importance: among them, municipal budget projects; priority and strategic documents; issues of spatial planning, urban ecology, cultural heritage; civic engagement and accessibility among vulnerable groups; and promotion of citizens’ involvement in issues of local importance.
During elections, the Batumi Center, along with other NCCE Centers nation-wide, functions as a media Center and provides a safe and neutral facility for debates and briefings for all stakeholders. NCCE Centers provide non-partisan hubs for political unions, CSO representatives, election administration, the local population, and others in order to enable voters to make an informed decision. During the pre-election period, by the Center’s initiation and experts’ involvement, trainings and informative meetings are held for Adjara media representatives to aid in providing effective coverage of elections.
Batumi Center serves as a space for facilitating communication between local authorities and community members, encouraging citizens to solve problems alongside these institutions. One successful cases of advocacy was the drivers’ strike in 2013, when 350 drivers demanded increased wages. As a result of the Center’s coordination, meetings were held with the participation of drivers, representatives of the Professional Union, the City Council, Batumi Autotransport and CSOs. Center staff moderated the process and, as a result, municipal transport was restored.
The Batumi Center organized public discussions on preservation, protection, and development regulation of Batumi’s historic areas with the intention of developing policy. This is a significant issue for the city, as policy on this matter has not existed for 130 years.
The Batumi Center actively works on increasing youth involvement in discussions and public meetings, which has resulted in the establishment of youth organizations in Batumi. The Center is a free space inspiring youth to plan and conduct workshops as well as public and private meetings. These youth organizations actively work on empowering people with disabilities and improving local governance, democratic processes and civil society.
The Center plays a key role in deepening communications between local government and civil society organizations, institutionalizing these relations for effective and transparent governance. The Batumi Center promotes cooperation, coordination and partnership between CSOs. By the Center’s efforts, local CSOs have become more united, establishing uniform standards of practice for their sector.
The Batumi Center ensures public participation in decision-making processes of local importance, allowing citizens to draw up recommendations for local government. At the same time, the Center works to improve the process of information accessibility, helps to identify local needs and support the introduction of priority setting methodology of the local government.