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UG „Zašto ne“ at “Partnership for Open Government 2015-2016” conference in Belgrade

Alisa Karović

20141126_120902On Wednesday, November 26th Dalio Sijah represented U.G. Zašto at the conference “Partnership for Open Government 2015th to 2016th” organized by the Center for Euro-Atlantic Integration (CEAS). He presented the results of research conducted within the “Durbin” monitoring of openness of government in the region conducted in late 2013 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.

The conference in Belgrade aimed at familiarizing participants with the achievements in the implementation of the OGP in the region, primarily in Serbia, BiH and Montenegro, and was held in the framework of the project “Promoting Open Administration: Setting the Agenda and Monitoring of Action Plans by Civil Society” carried out the CEAS from Serbia.

In addition to representatives of civil society organizations, the conference was attended by representatives of Serbian Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government and by the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, who in the beginning gave a brief overview of the issues and challenges for the implementation of the Open Government strategy in Serbia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the OGP-in in September of this year, and that was the topic the speech of Lejla’s Ibranović from Transparency International in BiH, while Marija Vuksanovic from the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Montenegro outlined in the situation in this country that is the furthest ahead in implementing the OGP plan.

Montenegro is a leader in opening the government also according to the results of the “Durbin” monitoring noted Dalio Sijah from UG “Zašto ne”. However, as he pointed out, the progress of this country barely exceeds 50% indicators in this study. “Durbin” project was based on the analysis of 53 indicators for governments in the region, and 60 indicators for ministries.

The lack of budget transparency of state institutions as well as non-transparent implementation of public procurement was mentioned on a number of occasions during the conference. This problem occur in all countries of the region, and “Durbin” monitoring showed that most institutions don’t publish budgets or budget reports. It was also noted that when budgets are published in the official websites of governments and ministries, they usually aren’t publish in a machine-readable format, often being simply scanned, which complicates the work of all those who want to analyze them.

This one-day conference was also attended by Sasa Radulovic from the movement “Enough!”, Dusan Jordović from Research Center, transparency and accountability – CRTA, Tanja Maksić the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, Dejan Stevkovski from Civic Initiatives, as well as by Jelena Milic and Irina Rizmal of the CEAS.