Promotion of the principles of good governance and increased citizens’ participation in the decision-making process in the Republic of Croatia

The project was primarily aimed at strengthening citizens, local civil society organizations (CSO), neighborhood councils, national minorities’ councils and local officials, at improving the communication between them through education on the principles of good governance and rule of law, as well as on the possibilities of involving in the decision-making processes on local level.

Coalition for Clean Universities

The CCU project was created as an exercise of watchdog and benchmarking, meant to give a complete image of the academic integrity in Romania.

The project developed an integrity ranking for Romanian state universities by applying an already tested methodology was used in a pilot phase of the same project (October 2007-May 2008, funded by a MATRA-KAP Grant of the Embassy of Netherlands in Bucharest).

External evaluators were selected for monitoring the integrity and transparency of the universities. The project started by mapping out the problems of integrity that exist in the Romanian higher education system, and classified them by categories.

  • the administrative transparency and probity – the publication of accounting documents; publishing income declarations and declarations of interests and those reflecting the status of not being involved in the communist political police; access to public records on acquisitions;
  • academic fairness – plagiarism, performance in research, academic unfolding process;
  • quality of governance – nepotism, involvement of students in decision making, usage of financial grants, filling teaching positions;
  • financial management – discretionary expenditure, managing public acquisitions processes.
  • 42 state universities were evaluated, out of a total of 56, during 3 months. At the end of this programme, the Coalition published the Integrity ranking of Romanian Universities.

The project received the support of the main stakeholders: The Ministry of Education, Research and Youth, Students’ Organisations (ANOSR), Trade Union (Alma Mater), The National Agency for Quality Evaluation in Higher Education (ARACIS), educational NGOs.
The Coalition for Clean Universities is composed of the following:

  • Centre for Independent Journalism (CJI),
  • Pro Democracy Association (APD),
  • Euroregional Centre for Democracy (CED),
  • National Association of Students Organizations from Romania (ANOSR),
  • The Group for Reform in Universities (GRU)
  • Group for Social Dialogue (GDS)
  • Romanian Academic Society (SAR)
  • University Solidarity Association (SU)
  • EduCer Association (EduCer)
  • Ad-Astra Association (Ad Astra)
  • Romanian Society of Political Science (SRSP)
  • FAR Association (FAR)
  • New Europe College Foundation (NEC)

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.

They (should) work for you – Learn how to evaluate your local councilors

The project aims at creating a set of efficient monitoring tools for measuring local elected officials’ mandate performance in – between elections, during electoral periods and six months after elections – with the direct scope of empowering civil society to accurately scrutinize the local governance act and hold elected representatives accountable for their work.

Assessment of FOIA compliance (2002/2005)

In November 2005 a financing contract was signed for a new project funded by the European Union through Phare program. The project started to be implemented at the end of 2005 and during 2006 we have conducted an evaluation of the respect of transparency laws by public authorities. According to the law each public institution is required to publish an annual report (activity and financial) but the rate of compliance with these procedures reached a feeble 4% of all public bodies (as presented by a quantitative evaluation conducted by the Romanian Government). Following an in-depth research, the project aims to identify best-practice models and to train representatives of the public bodies in how to collect data and to put them together in an annual report which will provide relevant and accurate information to the public.
This project is a follow-up of the advocacy campaign run by SAR in 2000 for the adoption of FOIA. A first assessment of its implementation was carried in 2002 and indicating unsatisfactory compliance with legal provision. For the current project we use the same methodology and sample as in 2002 allowing comparisons.

Partnership between the citizens and the municipal administration – a guarantee for transparency and accountability

The project aimed at increasing the capacity of the structures of the civil society in four municipalities in the fight against corruption. The capacity building refers to the capabilities of the civil society organizations to implement models and methods for monitoring and control over the public services provided by the municipal administrations . The project main activities included: 1. development of a local civil society partnership network; 2. survey of best practices in Bulgaria with regard to services of general interest provided by the local authorities 3. development of a web site for the partnership network in order to facilitate the communication between the target groups as well as to ease the monitoring process; 4. analyses of the existing deficiencies in the provision of services of general interest in the selected four municipalities and development of action plans for improvement; 5. realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society sector and the administration in order to discuss and improve the action plans; 6. monitoring over the implementation of the provided recommendations in the action plans; 6. analysis of the results of the project and dissemination of the good practices achieved.

Corruption in Bulgarian SMEs and measures to fight it

The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program. It aimed to identify the structure of corrupt practices related to SMEs in the country and to provide assessment of the inflicted losses in the business sector i.e. еstimate the costs of corruption in the SME sector. The project activities include surveys and publication of a book: “”Do-it-yourself”” Manual of Tools Designed to Build Ethical and Transparent Corporate Culture For SMEs.”

The Coalition for Clean Government

The initiative continued the work of the successful Coalition for a Clean Parliament. The members of the CCP decided to continue the monitoring of the public arena creating a Coalition for a Clean Government bringing up new issues and new approaches:

  • Declarations of wealth and interests – In the spring of 2005, SAR together with other members of the coalition argued for the improvement of the declarations of wealth and interest especially for high-level civil servants and dignitaries. SAR participated in several discussions and got involved in a working group created for drafting of new forms for the declarations of wealth and interest that would enable the public scrutiny of the wealth and interests of politicians and public servants. The effects of the new legislation were visible. Journalists used these instruments as means to monitor, identify and signaled existing irregularities in the 2005-2006 declarations. Furthermore the Prosecutors Office has also started investigations on these issues. All these indicate a better fit of this format and transformed it into an effective instrument. However six members of Parliament have initiated a new law attempting to replace again the established format with a vague and less detailed one. Unfortunately the law received tacit approval in the Senat in mid February 2006 but due to the critical stance taken by SAR representatives in the media, the Social-Democratic Party expressed their opposition to the project and the initiators (members of SDP) have spoken about the withdrawal of their proposal.
  • Increase transparency in public acquisitions – the coalition has addressed the issues of transparentization of public contracts. In October 2005 sixteen organizations made a public appeal for the legal endorsement of the principle that any contract of public acquisition, public-private partnership, concession, privatization etc should become automatically public from the moment of its signature, excluding thus any confidentiality clauses. The Government was opened to NGOs proposal and formed a working group, inviting SAR and other NGOs to participate. The working group has already drafted changes of the legislation that not only complies with the European acquis, but set even higher standards and it might become a model of transparency in public acquisitions. The project is now on the table of the Government to decide on the most appropriate procedure for approval.
  • Support anti-corruption policies – the efficiency of the anti-corruption fight was one of the most critical issues for the European integration of Romania. In December 2004, the Brussels European Council decided the conclusion of the accession negotiations with Romania but included specific safeguard clauses that would allow the postponement of the date of accession with a year. anti-corruption fight was one of the red-flagged areas and significant improvement of its efficiency is needed in a very short time. Although significant steps had been taken in the right direction, the reforms were still on the edge as they were facing the (open or hidden) opposition from people in decision positions feeling threatened by recent developments. Therefore a close public scrutiny of the whole process was needed to early signal and to prevent any potential derailment from the right track as it had been seen in the rejection of the law approving the OUG 134/2005.

Monitoring and evaluation of the possibilities for improving the transparency of the municipal administration

The goal of the project was to increase the capacity of the civil society organizations for improving the transparency of the work of the local and municipal administrations. The project offered practical guidelines for representatives of the civil society for better cooperation with the municipal administration and created a local network for monitoring and evaluation. The initiative included: 1. a round table on the topic “Transparency in the administration and the involvement of the civil society””; 2. a survey among representatives of the target groups; 3. an analyses, followed by recommendations, on the legal framework and the internal procedures guiding the work of the municipal administrations in their cooperation with the civil society; 4. development of an web site for the ease of the civil society network.”

Sofia University legal database

The project aimed to a transparent control and management system to oversee and update university regulations and departmental decisions concerning students, administrative and academic staff. By doing so, the project aimed to increase the transparency and accountability of the academic institution and to incorporate practices of good governance. The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program.”

Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (ACTION) in Combating Corruption in Ukraine

The Project supported non-governmental monitoring and advocacy on priority areas in the fight against corruption, focusing particularly on issues identified by the Government of Ukraine in its Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Threshold Country Plan. The ACTION Project carefully tracked corruption indicators in a consistent, detailed and regularized fashion using large national surveys, special sector surveys, citizen report cards, indicators that monitor procedural transactions and outcomes, and focus groups. The objectives of this tracking were to define a baseline for corruption levels in particular functions and sectors, to monitor progress (or backsliding) in advocacy or reform strategies, to mobilize civil society, business and the mass media to action, and to demonstrate to government the critical nature of corruption in an objective way that is hard to refute. The Three Key Components of the Promoting Active Citizen Engagement in Combating Corruption in Ukraine (ACTION) Project: 1) Measuring the Government of Ukraine’s (GOU) progress and long-term commitment in their fight against corruption; 2)Supporting for civil society advocacy and monitoring efforts; 3) Supporting investigative journalism and various other anti-corruption efforts concerning the media.

Accountability Program in the Western Balkans II

This regional programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia aims strenghting implementation Access to Information law. The programme also aims at involving civil society in actively promoting and monitoring law.
Project goals:
– To improve the quality of Access to Information laws;
– To monitor and encourage harmonization with European standards;
– To maintain popular and media support for anti-corruption initiatives;
– To generate a body of knowledge on Access to Information for use in the region and beyond.
The one-year project was implemented by the TI National Chapters in the respective countries and coordinated by he TI International Secretariat.

The project included the following activities:
– Improving legal standards;
– Testing effectiveness of laws/analysis of obstacles to implementation;
– Assisting users of the law;
– Improving government capacity to implement laws;
– Exploring development of legal cases (e.g. preparation of pilot cases to challenge implementation of FOIA laws, or provisions of information to those preparing cases).

Civil control – a guarantee for transparent and accessible local authority

The project seeks to improve the role of the structures of the civil society in the city of Gabrovo in the formulation of policies and programs at municipal level. Some of the main project activities were: 1. realization of surveys aimed to define the main problems and deficiencies in communication between the local administration and the civil society at large; 2. monitoring activities regarding the work of the administration and development of precise recommendations for improvement; 3. organization and realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society and experts from the municipal administration aimed to encourage the dialogue and partnership between the two target groups; 4. realization of educational seminars regarding the civil control over the work of the administration; 5. realization of a regional information campaign “Civil society organizations – factor for increasing the transparency and accountability of the municipal administration””.; 6. development of precise recommendations for the public administration on how to incorporate good practices and procedures, which will ease the access to information for the citizens and the business and engage the civil society into the decision making process regarding the provision of services of general public interest.”

More active civil society – more trust in the work of the local administration

The project aimed to improve the cooperation between the structures of the civil society and the public administration in the Southwest region (NUTS II) in Bulgaria in order to: improve the civil control and monitoring; prevent the corruptive practices; and increase the accountability of the administration. The project included: 1. survey of the public opinion in the region regarding the work, transparency and accountability of the local and regional administrations; 2. realization of educational seminars for representatives of the civil society regarding mechanisms for monitoring, control and prevention of corruption in the administration; 3. realization of round tables with representatives from the civil society sector and the public administration; 5. development of a web site of the initiative.

Advocacy and Legal Advice Centers

Goals of the project:
Provide the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina with an effective instrument for combating corruption in their everyday lives;
Provides citizens with free legal advice for reporting complaints of suspected corruption of public officials, or where the citizen is a victim or has knowledge of corrupt practices;
Makes information on citizens’ rights easily available and accessible to the public;
Raises citizen’s awareness of their rights and possibilities to take actions against corruption;
Opens a dialogue with the national institutions to support the establishment of appropriate mechanisms for citizens’ complaints in order to systemize and organize fight against corruption;
Monitor the work of responsible public institutions during processing of cases of corruption.
PROJECT ACTIVITIES:
Case studies of citizen’s complaints against corruption, using statistics and qualitative examples (who complains about what, which agencies were involved, which authorities were most vigilant in pursuing corruption, etc.);
Monthly press releases and reports to the public;
“Should I complain?” an ethical brochure for citizens about why individual action is important for combating corruption;
Training manual for government agencies on dealing with citizen’s complaints and obligations under freedom of information and conflict of interest;
Cooperation with journalists and radio and TV broadcasters on small programs about corruption cases.

Civic initiative – anti-corruption

The project was realized in the course of Coalition 2000 and USAID Open Government Initiative Project: “Civil Society Against Corruption”” – Small Grants Program. The current initiative aimed to provide mechanisms for monitoring and support to the public administrations in the region of Sliven in order to improve the transparency and accountability in the provision of administrative services within the municipalities in the region. The activities of the project were designed to provide greater civic control and involvement of the local structures of the civil society in the formulation and implementation of local economic and social policies.”

Coalition “Transparent Foreign Aid to Georgia” (in-house project)

The project intended to support the forming of a Coalition of 7 NGOs focused on rising and improving monitoring, transparency and accountability. The goal of the TFAG Coalition is to analyze, evaluate and monitor projects funded within the foreign aid package allotted to Georgia after the August 2008 armed conflict; to provide wide coverage of monitoring reports and to advocate for the elaborated recommendations.

Advocacy, Implementation and Evaluation of the National Integrity System, with Particular Focus on the Privatizations of Strategical Enterprises in BH

The aim of the project was the adoption of the document “Improvement of the National Integrity System-Proposal for Anti-corruption Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina“ supported by the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has authority to provide measures of this document and monitoring full scale of improvement mentioned measures. The focused particularly on the privatizations of strategical enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina and another form of private investment, monitoring public company in strategically areas, comprehension with civil partnership organizations and media. All mentioned partnership organization must have access to current process in their community that would bring transparent process of privatization in accordance with the law and world’s best practice.
PROJECT ACTIVITIES: Improvement of the National Integrity System – Proposal for Anti-corruption Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Analysis legislation in field of privatization and alignment with international standards and best practice
Monitoring and reporting individual cases of privatization
Cooperation and networking with partnership organizations
Preparing recommendations using best practice

Corruption monitoring system of Coalition 2000

Corruption Monitoring System (CMS) of Coalition 2000 was a system of empirical studies and analytical reports and represents one of the three main components of the activities of the anti-corruption initiative Coalition 2000, realized in the period 1998-2004. The main objective of CMS was to periodically present information, which would enable conclusions about the scope of corruption in the country, as well about the related public attitudes, assessments and expectations. The other functions of the CMS were to provide reliable feedback about the effectiveness of the anti-corruption initiatives of the Bulgarian society, as well as assessment of the effectiveness of the anti-corruption activities of Coalition 2000 itself.

Integrated strategies for natural resource exploitation

The project aimed at:
– creating a virtual information center for monitoring the exploitation of natural resources in Romania;
– developing local civil society representatives’ capacity to actively participate in the development of regional strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– raising awareness among local and central authorities in resource rich areas about the necessity to design local sustainable development strategies for the exploitation of natural resources;
– advocating for transparency and accountability of central authorities’ management of natural resources.

Corruption as an election issue

A research on public opinion was conducted in September 2002. Its results were presented in the media. The project raised the public awereness about corruption, promoted important values of transparency and dedication in fighting the poverty, influenced political parties to pay attention to corruption issues in their activities. The project put pressure on non transparent politicians and their political parties and supported the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy. This project also reinforced the civil society organisations’ role in fighting corruption as well as the role of Transparency International in the monitoring of political system in Bosnia.

Policy Forum

The Anti-Corruption Policy Forum is a high profile public event for anti-corruption initiatives, supporting the efforts of the civil society and public institutions in the fight against corruption. The Policy Forum convenes once a year to review the results of the preceding period, and to provide guidelines for the work over the next year. Members of the Policy Forum are prominent public personalities with established integrity and reputation as well as representatives of public and private institutions. The main purpose of the Forum is to discuss the annual Corruption Assessment Report of the Center for the Study of Democracy.

European policies (2003-2005/2008-2010)

The project aimed at assessing the state of civil society in Bulgaria. It provided a Civil Society Index as an action-research initiative covering more than 60 countries with a view of creating knowledge base and an impetus for civil society initiatives. Bulgaria takes part in the global survey for the second time (first phase was implemented by Balkan Assist 2003-2005). The survey seeks the answers to key issues within the development of civil society in Bulgaria through quantitative and qualitative methods. The project implementation tools include: 1. set-up of a national implementation team; 2. set-up of a project Advisory Committees; 3. identifying key issues within the civil society in the national context; 4. mapping of secondary data on civil society in Bulgaria; 5. quantitative surveys; 6. regional focus groups; 7. public discussion on the main findings; 8. summing up the main findings and recommendations in analytical report and policy briefs; 9. drafting of specific recommendations targeting the main areas of concern.

From good practices towards effective anti-corruption policies: Partnership between civil society structures and the public administration as a guarantor for enhancing transparency and accountability on national and local level

The project aimed to raise the capacity and create conditions for active involvement of civil society structures and public officials at local and regional level in the fight against corruption, as part of the general efforts to reform the public institutions in order to achieve higher efficiency, transparency and accountability. The basic goals of the project were: 1. to enhance the competencies and practical skills of civil society organizations and local and regional administrations in counteracting and preventing corruption by devising and applying concrete policies and practices of civil control and monitoring; 2. to raise the capacity of civil society structures and local and regional administrations for drafting of concrete strategies and project proposals for good governance; 3. to improve partnership skills between civil society organizations and Bulgaria’s public administration.

Civic pressure on corruption and incompetence at local and state administration levels regarding illegal construction

The project was designed to fight against corruption in the municipal and state administration in the sphere of illegal construction. for the purpose an expert group monitoring the process of issuing construction licenses in the municipalities of Sofia was established during the actual project implementation. The project activities included: 1. analytical report on corrupt practices in cases of illegal building in Sofia Municipalities based on one-year survey; 2. development and dissemination of a brochure: “What Should We Know in Case of Illegal Building and Reconstruction””; 3. setting up of a citizens “”Complaints and Information Desk”” for legal assistance and lodgment of signals; 4. research and publicity on the municipal-level process of issuing construction licenses; 5. active public and media campaign to educate citizens about their rights in cases of illegal construction and to present the made disclosures of corruption in this field.”