Montenegro in The Open Government Partnership (OGP): Plans and Results

Dina Bajramspahić, our researcher, presented the experience in the preparation of the first Action Plan and in participation in the work of the Operating Team responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan at the public debate “Montenegro in the Open Government Partnership”.

The public debate “Montenegro in the Open Government Partnership” was organized by Centre for monitoring and research (CeMI) on Saturday, November 29, 2014. The panelists were:

  • Vanja ĆALOVIĆ – Executive Director of NGO MANS, independent evaluator for Montenegro in the framework of the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM);
  • Zoran STOILJKOVIĆ, Ph.D. – professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade;
  • Dina BAJRAMSPAHIĆ – representative of Institute Alternative in the Operating Team responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan;
  • Boris MARIĆ – Legal Advisor at Centre for Civic Education (CCE).

Moderator of the discussion was Ana SELIĆ (CeMI). The debate was organized within the project ”Advocating for Open Government”, which is implemented by CeMI, in cooperation with organizations from the Western Balkan and the Southeast Europe, and supported by the European Commission.

Dina has pointed out the following:

”I do not think we have the reason to be satisfied by the results achieved within the OGP initiative. This is partly because of the lack of the Action Plan itself: measures were too declaratively formulated making it difficult to implement them, while the lack of indicators has made it difficult to monitor the implementation. Resources from the budget are not assigned for the implementation of activities; a number of measures have been taken from other Government policy documents and action plans, so the number of activities arising from this initiative is very small. A number of measures has been implemented but did not produce the effects that are an objective and purpose of the initiative. For instance, the portal for submitting petitions electronically has been established, but did not improve the communication between citizens and the Government. The initiative is still relatively unknown, not only to the citizens of Montenegro, but even to government authorities, all of which indicates that the initiative remained on the sidelines of the focus of the Government.

At this point, we are significantly left behind all the countries included in the initiative, which have already adopted Second Action Plan through excellent consultative process with the citizens and organizations of civil society. As you know, the deadline for the final version of the Second Action Plan for all the member countries was June 15 of this year, and deadline for the beginning of the implementation of new AP was July 1, and yet Montenegro has not even began drafting the Action Plan.

Therefore, it is necessary to appoint the remaining members of the new OGP Operating Team, Government and NGO representatives, as soon as possible. A recommendation of Institute Alternative is to include representatives of the Union of Employees and of the Association of Municipalities of Montenegro in the Operating Team, in accordance with the Initiative principles on inclusion of all the society sectors in the public policy creation and building a stronger bond between citizens and the Government. The process of the creation of a new Action Plan must be widely participatory, i.e. it must actively involve citizens through, for example, consultative meetings where the Initiative will be presented, while the suggestions from the citizens will be collected. From the experience of drafting and implementation of the First AP, we learned that that smaller number of measures should be adopted which will have a transformative character and truly introduce change in the way the public administration operates when it comes to accountability, transparency and the quality of public services.

For the implementation of the measures presented in the new action plan it is necessary to allocate budgetary resources, which will be an indicator of a true will of the Government to contribute to the completion of the initiative goals.”

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