Institute Alternative Turns 15!

Institute Alternative (IA) has remained committed to its mission of strengthening democracy and good governance through research and policy analysis.

During fifteen years since its establishment, the IA has launched and implemented 105 projects aimed at reforms of public administration and judiciary, enhancement of transparency and accountability of public finances, parliamentary oversight, better social policy and democratic control of security sector with specific focus on police.

We were established primarily as a think tank, to provide evidence about public policies through research and monitoring and to advocate for their better implementation. Such approach of our organization would not be possible if development of our capacities had not been supported by the Open Society Foundation through the “Think Tank Fund“ during our formative years.

We have published 146 studies, reports and analyses and communicated almost 1500 recommendations to the decision makers. We have participated in 29 working groups for drafting of laws and strategies, while providing contribution to Montenegro’s EU integration efforts through participation in the working groups for chapters 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights), 24 (justice, freedom and security), 5 (public procurement) and 32 (financial oversight). We have further communicated our recommendations through memberships in the Council for Public Administration Reform and Council for Cooperation Between the Government and NGOs. Since December 2021, president of the IA’s Managing Board has been appointed member of the Prosecutorial Council.

We have launched four specific online platforms. My Town is a pioneering endeavour of citizen friendly presentation of budgets of local governments. My Administration serves as an address for citizens to report problems in their encounters with public administration. We have also unlocked thousands of pages of non-searchable data on public finances through “My Money” platform.

In 2019, we have also launched a page on public enterprises, which provides overview of key information about companies majority-owned by the state. Key indicators of the work of these companies are collected via numerous Freedom of Information (FoI) requests, given the fact that neither the Government, as their founder, nor the companies themselves proactively publish basic information. This page presents the transparency index for each company as well as data on revenues, expenses, managerial structure, employees and salaries.

Institute Alternative has provided suggestions and comments aimed at improving 15 strategic documents and 26 national and local legal acts, including systemic laws in the areas of judiciary, public administration and public sector salaries. Through our events and publications, we were among the first ones to launch debate and offer normative solutions for better relationship between different branches of power through anticipated laws on Parliament and the Government.

In parallel to our research work, we have been committed to building capacities of other civil society organizations, civil servants and politicians. Our Public Policy School saw a total of 114 participants through its six generations. In 2018, we have organized our first Open Budget School for 27 participants from non-governmental sector and the media. The next edition of this School was organized for political parties and parliamentary staff, gathering a total of 20 participants.

Our trainings of gender mainstreaming of public policies have been attended by 120 participants from public administration and civil society. The trainings enhanced professional capacities of target groups to integrate gender perspective in procedures of drafting the laws, strategies and of designing the IPA projects, with an ultimate aim of closing the gender gap.

Our total budget, since establishment, amounts to ‎2.627.466 EUR and it is primarily comprised from funds provided by more than 20 international organizations and foreign embassies. The share of public funds, provided by the Government of Montenegro is 8 per cent, and it amounts to 210.008,30 EUR. In the same period, we have paid a total of 436.652,22 EUR of taxes and contributions to the state, that is more than a double of the amount we received from public funds.

We cooperate with more than 40 organizations within the regional networks and with more than 100 organizations in Montenegro. We are especially proud of our membership within the Think for Europe Network (TEN), which gathers our likeminded partners from the Western Balkans and is committed to the approximation to the EU standards in key governance areas, as well as of our membership in the Balkan Security Platform.

Our organization currently has 9 employees, but a total of 50 people has contributed to our work during previous fifteen years. We remain grateful for their share in our organizational growth.

The IA Team

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