Consultative meeting Open Government in Serbia: “Implementation of Action plan for execution of Open Government Partnership 2014-2015” was held today in The Palace of Serbia, in organization of European Policy Centre.
The topic of the meeting was assessment of mid-term implementation of measures and activities predicted by the Action plan.
Jelena Miletic, CEP, stressed the importance of taking participation in Open Government Partnership (OGP) as unique initiative that highlights principle of cooperation between the Government and civil society during the making and implementation of the reforms, in order to achieve more open and responsable governance.
The role of European Policy Centre in this process was elaborated by Milena Lazarevic, CEP senior program manager: “European Policy Centre, as Independent Reporting Mechanism provides an assessment of the level of realization of measures and activities of the Action Plan, and evaluates to what extent the Action Plan, and its obligations are presenting the values of the Partnership in the context of Serbia”. She also stressed that in the circumstances of the negotiations on Serbia’s membership in the European Union, monitoring of reforms implementation and evaluation of achieved results are becoming particularly significant.
Drazen Maravic, State Secretary, spoke on behalf of Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government, the authorized institution for coordination of preparation, implementation and reporting of the Action Plan for the implementation of OGP initiatives.
He invited civil society organizations to get involved in this initiative, each in their own expertise and thus help the public administration to achieve the expected results. “Today, we are more focused on the processes than the results, and that’s why we need independent mechanisms for reporting on state performance,” said Maravic. He added that OGP defines the necessary framework for cooperation with CSOs.
Jelena Milic, the director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, presented the general conclusion that “Unfortunately, OGP in the current Action Plan had not gone a step further when it comes to reform processes. Usually, those were activities already provided by existing strategies.” She also noted that “some institutions that fall under their jurisdiction directly in the possible partners for certain measures foreseen in the Action plan, are not recognized as such and therefore are not included in the Action Plan, such as, for example, the institution of the Ombudsman when it comes to protecting whistleblowers”. Marijana Trifunovic Stefanovic, on behalf of USAID Judicial Reform and government Accountability Project, agreed that the concept of measures was taken from the other strategic documents, but also stated that Serbia is in the process of learning, and that is certainly better to “commit to less, deliver more”.
The presentation of the findings of the Action Plan monitoring, delivered by the CEP representatives Amanda Orza and Jelena Miletic, was followed by a discussion in working groups. The work of the participants was divided by areas that corresponded to the obligations of the Action Plan: fiscal transparency, fight against corruption, access to information and public participation. They talked about the problems, challenges and successes in implementing the Action Plan on these fields, as well as the main obstacles and possible ways to overcome them.