Below you can read the original version of the letter that NGO representatives in the Council for Development of NGO sent to the Prime Minister of Montenegro.
Respected Prime Minister,
According to the information available at the Government’s Web Page, the Government has adopted the “Proposal of the effects of the Implementation of the Strategy for Development of Non-governmental Organisations 2014-2016” at the 173. session held on 19 September 2016.
We hereby inform you that this document was not discussed at the meeting of the Council for Development of NGOs.
The president of the Council first scheduled the session with this document on the agenda, but then canceled it, so the Council has never discussed this document.
We also remind you that one of the key Council’s tasks envisaged by the Decision on the Establishment of this body is to provide opinion on draft legislation, i.e. strategic and other documents that refer to functioning and development of NGOs in Montenegro. By neglecting this fact and adopting document without the Opinion of the Council, the Government has absolutely undermined the role and existence of this advisory body, formed by the Government itself.
This act represents an escalation of the problems that are marking the work of the Council for months now. On 22 July, ten NGO representatives at the Council have requested the President to “provide a written assurance the official opinions of the Council will in future primarily be sent to the members of the Council for deliberation and verification and then in such, verified format delivered to the Government.” This decision of the Council’s NGO members is in accordance with the joint assessment that the President of the Council, together with the Office for Cooperation with NGOs (which prepares opinions and statements of the Council), have modified the Opinion approved by the Council’s majority in relation to the Report on the procedure of issuing the Decision on the allocation of revenue from games of chance for 2016, added stands and opinions which the Council did not approve, and delivered it to the Government hereby rendering the Opinion previously adopted by the Council meaningless. NGO representatives assessed that such approach makes the work of this body meaningless, if the content and essence of adopted proposals and conclusions are later being changed.
Council’s NGO representatives have also repeatedly requested written assurance that the press releases from the future sessions of the Council will be delivered to the Council’s members for review in a timely manner – before delivery to the media.
Since in the meantime there has been no concrete answer from the President of the Council to our request, we informed other members of the Council in early September that we will not participate in the work of this body until we receive an answer upon our request.
While our request remains unanswered, we find out that the Government adopts acts within the competence of the Council without the opinion of this body.
Therefore we expect from the Government which established this advisory body to ensure its functioning by informing other members of the Government about this problem and by adopting the following conclusions:
– A written response to a request of NGO representatives in the Council from 22 July referring to the preparation of the Opinion of the Council should be provided,
– Each act that refers to development of NGOs in Montenegro should be adopted only with the prior adopted opinion of the Council.
If the work and role of the Council does not improve, we believe that this Council does not contribute to the improvement of inter-sectoral cooperation and the function it should have.
NGO representatives in the Council:
Aleksandar Dedović, Alfa Center
Ana Novaković, Center for Development on NGOs (CRNVO)
Anica Maja Boljević, Fund for Active Citizenship (fAKT)
Veselin Šturanović, Foundation for the Development of Northern Montenegro
Vladan Nikolić, Association of Paraplegics of Montenegro
Igor Milošević, Association for Democratic Prosperity (ADP – Zid)
Marina Vujačić, Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (UMHCG)
Mirela Korać, The Union of Associations of Parents of Children with Disabilities “Our Initiative“
Snežana Kaluđerović, Center for Civic Education (CGO)
Stevo Muk, Institute Alternative (IA)