Participation and integrity in local budgets 2006

The project aimed to increase transparency and integrity in public budget design and implementation and foster participation of local civil society in community issues. TI Romania implemented trainings for local civil society organizations, evaluated local community priorities regarding the local budget, evaluated the relationship between the civil society, the local businesspeople and the administration, and finally drew up the good practices guide and organized a round table with all stakeholders, to debate on positive and negative aspects and incorporate observations and recommendations for a better relationship between the local public administration and citizens.

The school of watchdog initiatives I

The goals of the project included:
• Empowering citizens and local civic organizations to watchdog local administration and public officials as well as raise awareness about citizens’ right to information;
• Developing the Local Civic Groups network and creating common working standards;
• Empowering and encouraging already existing initiatives through local interventions aiming at developing cooperation among CSOs and enhancing their awareness of each other;
• Deepening learning interactions between local CSOs and other informal civic groups in order to share experiences and interesting practices.

Local Community Strengthening in the Municipality of Goražde

The basic objective of the project is to give support to direct and indirect beneficiaries in increasing their technical and institutional capacities for more effective inclusion in major decision-making processes at local level as well as for the establishment of inter-sectoral cooperation in areas of common interest and responsibility. The basic strategy of the project for achieving these goals was a program of education (training) and technical assistance that is designed based on previously established real needs for additional training of project beneficiaries in certain areas of their regular activities (competency, mission).
The project is designed so that its main (direct) beneficiaries have the chance not only to acquire new knowledge and skills on selected topics, but also to provide opportunity for new knowledge to be practically applied through participation in concrete actions and activities related to the establishment of inter- sectoral cooperation and participation of citizens in the budget process.
Thanks to CPCD project activities and constant encouragement of local communities, NGOs, business associations, municipal departments to gather themselves first and then work together, a new atmosphere was created in relations between these sectors. Cooperation has been accepted as the benefits that brings new challenges and successes to everyone, as a process in which all of them work together for the general welfare.

Development of Local Governments’ Public Internal Financial Control (PIFC) System

The objective of this project was to enhance the strategic management capacity of public administration at local government’s level and improve sound financial management of public funds.

The specific objective of the project was to introduce and develop the functionally independent internal control and audit systems in local governments of Estonia, in order to meet the EU requirements on PIFC.

Activities

Training (members of municipal councils and municipal administrations of large and medium-sized local governments to facilitate implementing internal audit functions) and analyzing and evaluating the existing legislation concerning PIFC in local governments.

Evaluation

 A questionnaire provided answers concerning the present establishment of internal audit within local governments. Amongst ca. 240 local governments 25 had been chosen by the Estonian authorities in a representative manner respecting different sizes of local governments, small, medium and large ones for example Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu.

Strengthening the Local Government System Integrity by training Public Servants

The aim of the project was to develop the national integrity system of Estonia by restraining corruption through the training of public servants and journalists. One part of the project was the dissemination of the principles of good governance and relevant information using Internet. Three 2-days seminars were organized for the officials of local governments.

Assessing the effect of the introduction of anti-corruption policies and practices in the context of the Bulgarian judicial reform

The project was provoked by the need to facilitate the creation of an effectively functioning independent and transparent judicial system in Bulgaria and was concentrated on two main activity lines. The first included assessment of the effects and challenges of procedural reorganization provoked by the introduction of newly implemented anti-corruption policies for raising the effectiveness of court administration (implemented by a social survey in four district courts, a legal analysis and a national on-line survey). The second activity line envisaged the provision of an auspicious ground for discussing the results of the conducted surveys, including the located trends in public opinion, and creating concrete proposals for new policies and practices that are able to further facilitate the ongoing process of modernization in the work of courts (implemented by a national round table).

Political Corruption – Transparent Processes in Political Decision-Making I

Specific objectives achieved during the first phase of the project were: strengthening the internal capacity of TIC in the area of fighting political corruption; drawing attention to individual systemic shortcomings from which the Czech politics suffer, especially in the areas of political parties financing; legislative process; politicisation of public administration (clear definition of roles of politicians and public officials); internal democracy within the parties (selection of candidates for elections); investigation of criminal offences of elected representatives. The project outputs include an opinion survey on the transparency of political parties financing, conference and a publication “Transparent processes in political decision-making””.”

Advocacy and Legal Advice Center I

The project aimed to enhance citizens’ participation in anti-corruption by:
– facilitating public access to information related to their rights;
– offering legal guidance regarding complaint procedures in case of fraudulent use of public funds or when citizens are victims of corruption or learn about cases of corruption;
– offering citizens the opportunity to take action against corruption by implementing information campaigns. These campaigns will include brochures and citizens’ guides and will provide practical advice and information related to concrete questions, such as “How to fight against corruption in fiscal administration.”
– promoting open dialogue with public institutions for the setting up of mechanisms capable to deal with citizens’ complaints effectively.”

The school of watchdog initiatives II

This was a 2008 continuation of the previous year project run by the Association of Leaders of Local Civic Groups (SLLGO), with similar objectives, i.e. not only enhance citizens’ awareness of their right to public information, but also increase a number of civic watchdog organizations and initiatives at the local level that attempt to improve local governance and attain more transparent public life without corruption and other pathologies. SLLGO’s goal is to create a country-wide watchdog movement, and the Association intended to provide theoretical knowledge, practical know-how and mutual learning opportunities to organizations and individuals willing to develop watchdog initiatives in their regions in order to increase their confidence, efficiency and effectiveness of their activities.

Public Policies Monitoring

The basic objective of the project was to reach the positive changes in quality of life in Sarajevo Canton by increased involvement of citizens, and by organized and articulated action of the civil society organizations in process of authorities monitoring, analyzing their previous work as well as advocacy actions for alternative measures in seven areas of public policy. These areas are: transparent spending of budget funds, health care, education, employment and professional retraining, care for old and ill, management of contributions and restricted funds and information services at local level. Particular importance of this project realization was the fact that not only monitoring and criticism of the authority were performed in Sarajevo Canton, but alternative measures for public policy have been offered and defined possible directions of future actions by governments that would led to positive changes in quality of life in Sarajevo Canton. The project was realized in cooperation with the Center for Policy Research and Development.

Building capacity of the National Prosecution Office in the context of curbing corruption

The project aimed to support the National Prosecution Office when identifying the actual problems in the fight against corruption in view of improving the existing procedural rules, and identifying an effective model for increasing the transparency and efficiency in the investigation of cases of corruption. The main project objectives were: 1. to identify the actual problems of the Prosecution office which hinder it from successful counteraction of corruption; 2. to provide analytical (legal and sociological) research on the matter; 3. to initiate an on-going debate in order to make the prosecutors speak about their actual problems; 4. to suggest working mechanisms for effective implementation of the anti-corruption legislation when prosecuting crimes of bribery, trading in influence, bribery in the private sector or bribing of foreign officials; 5. to introduce foreign experience in achieving transparency in the Prosecution Office’s work and to increase the level of efficiency in investigating corruption; 6. to encourage the cooperation between the National Prosecution Office, on the one hand, and civil society and the media on the other.

Transparency for the Police

The first project phase consisted of survey of the state of affairs within the police force with the results published in May 2000. The second project phase consisted of comparison of anti-corruption strategies in the police forces in 25 countries with the publication “Crossing the Thin Blue Line”” as the output. With the help of the study, a “”Framework for an Anti-corruption Strategy for the Czech Police”” was designed in cooperation with representatives of the Ministry of Interior; Ministry of Justice; Police Presidium; Czech Police; Bureau of the Attorney General; judges; Office of the President; Ombudsman; Government Commissioner for Human Rights; non-profit organisations – Czech Helsinki Committee, People in Need, Civil Legal Observers. Another project activity was the introduction of regular integrity and ethics training for police and students of police schools; TIC initiated a pilot “Integrity and Ethics Course“ for police school teachers.”

Public Policy Program “Strengthening of Civic Activism in Bosnia & Herzegovina in Electoral and Post-Electoral Processes”””

The basic goal of this project was to build and promote an efficient, transparent and participative process of creating and implementing public policy in BiH through organized action and citizens’ and CSOs advocacy, with the purpose of building a political responsible and consistent authority at all levels of BiH society. During three-years period, planned project activities were implemented in a total of 36 local communities in both of BiH entities. In 2008, project activities were implemented in 15 municipalities in cooperation with local organizations: Velika Kladuša, Donji Vakuf, Trebinje, Rudo, Vlasenica, Modriča, Kalinovik, Bihać, Livno, Bugojno, Goražde, Tuzla, Sarajevo and Doboj.

Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia

Goals

With funding from the European Union, EPF began the Strengthening the Media’s Role as a Watchdog Institution in Georgia project, focused on increasing public access to high quality, professional, independent information.
Main activities of the project are the following:

• Perform a media landscape study through surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviewing.

• Link the Georgian Association of Regional Broadcasters (GARB) with a media association in a new EU member state and undertake activities aimed at institutional development of the GARB.

• Conduct trainings for media and legal professionals on the specifics of investigative journalism, media legislation, access to information.

• Establish the Georgian Media Legal Defence Centre (GMLDC) to provide free legal aid for journalists, media outlets, and lawyers and to advocate for legislative changes.

• Hold TV and public discussions involving all stakeholders to encourage broad, inclusive dialogue on the state of the media in Georgia.

• Conduct targeted grant competitions on investigative journalism.

Results

EPF’s Caucasus Research Resource Center has undertaken a study of the Georgian media landscape consisting of a survey of public attitudes to the media in Georgia, a series of focus groups with media consumers, in-depth interviews with media professionals, and media monitoring of Georgian TV news. The results of the study were presented at the “European Union-Georgia” Civil Society Human Rights Seminar on Media Freedom and Internally Displaced Persons organized by the European Commission Delegation to Georgia in November, 2009. The report provided a comprehensive picture of the current situation in the Georgian media and served as the basis for a vibrant discussion at the seminar.

Source: Eurasia Partnership Foundation. Read more about this project here.

‘Civic Society Anti-Corruption Response’, Croatia and Kosovo (2008)

The project implemented by SAR together with PSD Croatia and COHU Kosovo aimed to strengthen the ability of partner organizations to implement anti-corruption advocacy projects. The program monitored the entire process, from policy-making to research to advocacy.

Croatia

  • Report on conflicts of interest, distributed electronically to all stakeholders
  • Hold an international conference in May 2008, with the participation of all partners, to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility
  • Advocacy activities regarding the campaing entitled “Yes for Parliament with Clean Hands”, implemented by BURA before the parliamentary elections. The campaign was shaped after the Coalition for a Clean Parliament
  • Activities for consolidating the BURA NGO network, coordinated by PSD – meetings, public events, discussions

Kosovo

  • Report regarding conflicts of interest, the efficiency of statal instruments against corruption (including research on two conflicts of interest programs  and assets statements), distributed electronically to all the stakeholders
  • International conference in April 2008. The participants list included SAR, COHU and MJAFT. The conference aimed to to present the status quo on conflicts of interest, the mechanisms that can be used to disclose them and civil society involvement in projects that would increase civil servants’ responsibility

Implemented from January 1, 2008 to December 15, 2008

 

Center for legal advice for victims of corruption

The creation of the Center for Advocacy and Legal Advice addressed the need to raise the public awareness of the challenges confronting the Bulgarian society in fighting corruption and to provoke public interest in the ways and mechanisms of fighting the phenomenon. The purpose of the Center was and still is to allow citizens to play an active role in fighting corruption by providing them with free legal assistance in their efforts to deal with corruption-related crimes by public institutions and civil servants. The Center also aims to raise the capacity and readiness of state institutions to work with citizens regarding corruption complaints.

Transparency through Awareness/Threats and Opportunities of EU Structural Funds I and II

During the first phase, the project focused on monitoring and analyzing the areas of distribution and use of funds, especially on areas related to institutional conflict of interest, influence of political representation on project selection, access to information, structure of institutions involved in the process and their relationships, selection and execution of projects, financial management, evaluation and monitoring. The first phase of the project concentrated on building local capacity to deal with the issue. The project was implemented in cooperation with six international chapters of Transparency International from new EU member states (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia).The second phase aimed at raising awareness on the transparency and implementation of the anti-corruption tools during the process of distribution of the funds to the public administration. It also focused on the role of media and their capacity in the area of SF monitoring. The target area was NUTS III – city of Prague.