Improving Services and Transparency in Kotor, Montenegro

Improving Services and Transparency in Kotor, Montenegro

IMPLEMENTING PARTNERS: Center for a Democratic Transition
YEARS: 2011-2012
THEME: Local Governance

The dominant part of interaction between the citizens and state takes place on the municipal level. Hence, the local self-governance (LSG) reforms, initiated in Montenegro in the period 2001-2003, are essentially important for the overall transitional and process of EU integration. In addition, a problem of corruption is recognized as one of the strongest impediments of LSG reforms1. In this regards, Government of Montenegro developed several strategic anti-corruption policies. Within this framework, every Montenegrin municipality was tasked to develop their own municipal anti-corruption strategy and action plan. Municipality of Kotor, a UNESCO protected site, is envisaged as one of the leaders of Montenegrin tourism industry, main national economic development driver. In order to respond to the LSG reforms commitments and assess the municipal corruption problems that might jeopardize their development potentials, Kotor municipality formed a Working Group, assembling the representatives of local administration, NGOs and media.

Through the series of survey’s, separately done by media, NGO’s and municipal administration, Working Group verified strong perception of corruption by the citizens, especially in regards to the municipal services delivery, transparency of work of local administration and poor level of understanding of corruption problems. Among many problems, surveys indicated that over 60% of citizens are aware of corruption problems in municipality, over 50% of citizens fell that they are not properly informed on corruption problems as well as of their rights and municipal activities to curb corruption. In addition, a majority of citizens said that increasing information on municipality activities; engaging stricter control mechanisms and raising NGO capacities should be key measures for future period. Results of these surveys served as the basis for formulating the draft municipal anti-corruption strategy (MACS), which focused on measures such as building capacities of civil servants and local counselors, increasing transparency of municipal administration and procedures as well as developing concrete monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, which would be tested during the MACS implementation and used beyond the MACS deadlines. However, municipal efforts to curb corruption, enhance municipal service delivery and increase transparency are impeded by the lack of referent models and concrete guidelines on how to practically implement MACS measures and relate the identified problems to the sustainable solutions, as well as poor NGO capacities in municipality (NGO’s are dominantly focused on the problems on national level).

Following the general assessment of problems in municipal services delivery and transparency, CDT pledged to assist the municipal Working Group to formulate these problems and to facilitate sharing the regional best practices on increasing transparency and efficiency of municipal services. Furthermore, CDT intended to assist the Kotor Working Group to apply those best practices into their own context, in terms of concrete goals and concrete measures as well as to develop concrete monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. CDT technical team planned to assist the municipality on developing appropriate administrative procedures and web solutions, which would allow simple online access to bulk of information on municipality work and encourage interaction with the citizens. Upon the completion of activities, CDT also intended to facilitate a series of municipal events and media campaign, which would be used to present key changes in municipal procedures and their interactive profile towards the citizens.

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