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North Macedonia

Increasing accountability and promoting the concept of informed consumers and citizens, service users and rights through: (MK0080)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Macedonia, Second Action Plan, 2014-16

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Council for Consumer Protection of the Government of Republic of Macedonia and Organization of Consumers of Macedonia

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Economy

Policy Areas

Capacity Building

IRM Review

IRM Report: Macedonia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Increasing accountability and promoting the concept of informed consumers and citizens, service users and rights through:

IRM End of Term Status Summary

XIX. Open Government for Consumers 

Commitment 7.1: Open Government for Consumers

Commitment Text: 7.1. Increasing accountability and promoting the concept of informed consumers and citizens, service users and rights through: 1) Targeted awareness-raising] in the individual domains of consumer protection; 2) Significantly increased support to civil society working in the domain of education, counseling and consumer information (includes compulsory education); 3) Regular meetings Held of the Council of consumer of the Government upon constitution of [new members and publication] of findings and recommendations; 4) Workshops with all stakeholders in recognition of […] legislation and the need to further regulate. Meetings held with […] Consumer Councils at level of local government for cooperation in education, information and advice to citizens; 5) Held meetings with existing and newly formed Consumer Council at the level of local government for cooperation in education, information and advice to citizens.

Responsible institution(s): Council for Consumer Protection of the Government and Organization for Consumer Protection 

Supporting institution(s): Ministry of Economy

Start Date: 1/7/2014     End Date: 31/12/2016

Commitment aim

This commitment supported the implementation of the amended legal framework for consumer protection that, among other things, strengthened the operational structures.

Status

Midterm: Limited

There was little progress on this commitment at the midterm. No further information regarding this measure was contained in the government’s self-assessment report. Activities were focused on raising awareness and capacity building through workshops and training. Local consumer councils were established in some municipalities, including Skopje,[Note 149: EC, Annual Progress Report for 2014, 56.] but their work was limited in smaller and less developed municipalities. The national Consumer Council met only once in 2014.[Note 150: On 17-18 December.]

For more information, please see the 2014-2016 IRM midterm report.

End of term: Limited

The government’s self-assessment report did not contain any information on this commitment. In addition, there was no working group for this area during the second year of implementation or during consultations for the preparation of the third action plan. In its end of term self-assessment report, the government noted that the second OGP action plan focused on “six priority areas,”[Note 151: MISA, Information for the Work of the Working Groups for The Implementation of the OGP National Action Plan 2014-2016, along with an End-term Self-Assessment (Skopje: 2016), 2.] omitting the commitment on consumer protection. Although the government did not officially withdraw this commitment, the IRM researcher could not find evidence of any actions by the government in this area.

As in the first year of implementation, the activities carried out by the Organisation for Consumers Protection focused on education and capacity building.[Note 152: Organisation for Consumer Protection, Annual Report for 2015, (Skopje: OCP, 2016), available at: http://bit.ly/2dvpalU [in Macedonian].] The only exception was the cooperation with the City of Skopje, where the organisation effectively helped the city implement its program for consumer protection, including a study on consumer satisfaction and protection of utility services in Skopje.[Note 153: Marijana Loncar Velkova, Aleksandar Nikolov, Dusko Todorovski, Ivo Kostovski, Protection of Rights and Interests of Consumers of Utilities. (Skopje: OPM, 2016), available at: http://bit.ly/2iKfhFD [in Macedonian].] The EC also noted no progress in consumer protection.[Note 154: EC, Annual Progress Report for 2016, 76.]

Did it open government?

Access to information: Did not change

Civic Participation: Marginal

Consumers’ rights in Macedonia remain one of the most violated in the country,[Note 155: Ombudsman for the Republic of Macedonia, Annual Report for 2015, Skopje: 2016, available at: http://bit.ly/2cFiKPw. ] according to the number of annual complaints filed by citizens to the Ombudsperson. Civil society organisations and experts have identified the lack of efficiency of the current consumer protection structures, and have recommended further legal reforms.[Note 156: Marijana Loncar Velkova, Aleksandar Nikolov, Dusko Todorovski, Ivo Kostovski, Associations of Consumers in the System for Consumer Protection: Recommendations for Improvement of their position in Macedonia, (Skopje: OPM, 2016), available at: http://bit.ly/2dhMJQu [in Macedonian].] Some of the problems that consumers face include no unified system for receiving and handling consumer complaints, insufficient funding from the state for consumer protection, and legal barriers to collective legal action and representation in consumer protection cases. The commitment sought to support and advance consumer protection in the country, including through transparency and citizens’ participation.

This commitment improved civic participation for consumers only marginally. This was mostly due to cooperation between the Organisation for Consumers’ Protection and the City of Skopje, in which the organisation assessed citizens’ satisfaction with utilities and proposed recommendations for improvements. The IRM researcher found that the number of municipalities that have established a council for consumer protection increased from eight in 2014 to 29 in 2015, but no evidence of their work was available on their websites or through a review of electronic media.[Note 157: The following local self-governments have councils: Skopje, Tetovo, Cashka, Ohrid, Petrovec, Gazi Baba, Mavrovo i Rostuse, Gostivar, Bitola, Zrnovci, Kocani, Vasilevo, Centar, Valandovo, Kicevo, Ohrid, Shtip, Kavadarci, Veles, Ceshino-Oblesevo, Prilep, Karpos, Aerodrom, Krivogashtani, Vinica, Kriva Palanka, Kisela Voda, Bogdanci and Berovo. ] The IRM researcher contacted 12 randomly selected municipalities.[Note 158: Skopje, Tetovo, Cashka, Ohrid, Petrovec, Gazi Baba, Mavrovo i Rostuse, Gostivar, Kocani, Vasilevo, Centar, and Veles.] Apart from the City of Skopje, no other municipality has active councils. Six stated that there was no established council, while five contended that a formal council existed, but did not hold meetings in 2015 or 2016.

The IRM researcher also could not find evidence in the online media or from the review of the website of meetings by the national Council for Consumer Protection. Finally, the Organisation for Consumer Protection published an analysis of the capacity of civil society working in this area. It found significant gaps in the legislative, institutional, and financial framework supporting their work.[Note 159: Ibid, endnote 7.]

Regarding access to information, the IRM researcher could not find evidence online, through phone interviews with municipal officials, or consultations with local civil society, that the commitment furthered the quantity or quality of information presented on consumers’ rights. All available brochures and bulletins were published before the country adopted these commitments, except a new website launched after the period covered in this report that provides information on organic food, shops, and producers.[Note 160: http://organskisvet.mk/ .]

Carried forward?

This commitment is not reflected in the new action plan. In case the government reconsiders its pledge in consumer protection, the IRM researcher recommends focusing on the following priority areas:

       Legal reform in line with the recommendations of civil society and EU legislation;

       Adequate core support to organisations to effectively monitor protection of the rights as well as effectiveness of the system for consumer protection.


North Macedonia's Commitments

  1. Awareness-raising about Access to Information Rights

    MK0121, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Public Access to Central Register of the Republic of Macedonia

    MK0122, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  3. Mapping homeless and socially endangered families and individuals

    MK0123, 2018, E-Government

  4. Monitoring property status of elected and appointed officials

    MK0124, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  5. Assessment of anti-corruption legislation

    MK0125, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  6. Open Treasury

    MK0126, 2018, E-Government

  7. Publishing procurement information

    MK0127, 2018, E-Government

  8. Health Sector Transparency and establish a cost impact assessment mechanism

    MK0128, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Employment program transparency and impact assessment mechanism

    MK0129, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Cataloging data sets in state institutions

    MK0130, 2018, E-Government

  11. regional open data initiatives

    MK0131, 2018, Open Data

  12. Financial Transparency Tools

    MK0132, 2018, E-Government

  13. Improvement in Local Public Service Delivery

    MK0133, 2018, Beneficial Ownership

  14. Inclusive local decision-making

    MK0134, 2018, Gender

  15. To resilient Skopje via data availability

    MK0135, 2018, Infrastructure & Transport

  16. Access to Justice Development

    MK0136, 2018, Justice

  17. Improving access to justice for marginalized groups of citizens

    MK0137, 2018, Capacity Building

  18. Awareness-raisinga about Climate Change

    MK0138, 2018, Environment and Climate

  19. national assembly capacity-building

    MK0139, 2018, Capacity Building

  20. Increasing the financial transparency of the Assembly of RM

    MK0140, 2018, Fiscal Transparency

  21. Better Access to Information

    MK0140, 2018, E-Government

  22. Parliamentary TV channel

    MK0141, 2018, E-Government

  23. Citizen participation in Assembly

    MK0142, 2018, Legislature

  24. Creation of open data standards

    MK0089, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  25. Improvement of the open data platform and its approximation to the citizens

    MK0090, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Rising awareness of open data

    MK0091, 2016, Capacity Building

  27. Cataloging and categorization of data sets held by state institutions

    MK0092, 2016, E-Government

  28. Open data Linking on the state institutions’ portals

    MK0093, 2016, E-Government

  29. Improvement and facilitation of the access to information

    MK0094, 2016, Capacity Building

  30. Implementation of the Law on Whistle-Blower Protection and raising the awareness for whistle-blowing

    MK0095, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  31. Open data on property status of elected and appointed persons

    MK0096, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Promotion of integrity, transparency and accountability on local level and monitoring the progress

    MK0097, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  33. Promotion of cooperation and increased proactivity in the prevention of corruption and conflict of interests

    MK0098, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  34. Starred commitment Open budget initiative

    MK0099, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  35. Open Data on Health Programs

    MK0100, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  36. Creating a legal obligation for the contracting authorities for mandatory publication of information regarding the public procurement contracts on their websites

    MK0101, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  37. Involving representatives of associations and foundations, as well as other civil society organizations, in transparent and objective manner in sector working groups for planning and programming of IPA 2

    MK0102, 2016, Public Participation

  38. Publication of data on signed contracts and received assistance through Infrastructure Development Program (ORIO) Netherlands

    MK0103, 2016, Aid

  39. Introduction of a publicly accessible register of concession contracts

    MK0104, 2016, E-Government

  40. Increased budgetary fund benefits in preventive and curative health protection for citizens

    MK0105, 2016, Capacity Building

  41. Publication of data on planned and realized domestic and foreign assistance for rural development and agriculture on a quarterly basis

    MK0106, 2016, Aid

  42. Determination of data on state assistance to be published and their publication

    MK0107, 2016, Aid

  43. Developing standards for transparency and open data on local level

    MK0108, 2016, Capacity Building

  44. Establishment of new tools to improve financial transparency and accountability of Local self-government units

    MK0109, 2016, Capacity Building

  45. Improvement of the institutional consultation mechanism at the local level

    MK0110, 2016, Capacity Building

  46. Capacity strengthening for cooperation between the local self-government units and civil organizations

    MK0111, 2016, Capacity Building

  47. Monitoring and evaluation of service quality at the local level

    MK0112, 2016, Capacity Building

  48. Improvement of the local level social services

    MK0113, 2016, Capacity Building

  49. Improvement of disabled people social inclusion at the local level

    MK0114, 2016, E-Government

  50. Improvement of the local level communal services

    MK0115, 2016, Capacity Building

  51. More information for the citizens on the Ombudsman institution

    MK0116, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  52. Favorable legal environment for social contracts

    MK0117, 2016, Civic Space

  53. Developing climate policies at national level in a transparent and participatory manner

    MK0118, 2016, Environment and Climate

  54. Open data on climate change at national and local level

    MK0119, 2016, Capacity Building

  55. Ensuring private sector accountability and involvement in national climate change action

    MK0120, 2016, E-Government

  56. Advancement of the consultation process with stakeholders in the policy creating process

    MK0087, 2016, E-Government

  57. Cooperation advancement with the civil sector

    MK0088, 2016, Capacity Building

  58. Enhancement of the ENER portal and optimization of the process of public consultation

    MK0036, 2014, E-Government

  59. Implementation of the measures from the Strategy for Cooperation of the Government with the Civil Society (2012-2017)

    MK0037, 2014, E-Government

  60. Strengthening the rules for work and use of ENER

    MK0038, 2014, E-Government

  61. Publication of the results of using ENER - " Mirror of the Government "

    MK0039, 2014, E-Government

  62. Monitoring of openness of government institutions in the processes of policy making and law drafting "Mirror of the Government: public participation in the process of law drafting" Annual Report – assessment of:

    MK0040, 2014, Public Participation

  63. Capacity building of civil society organizations to monitor the implementation of policies

    MK0041, 2014, Capacity Building

  64. Raising the awareness about the benefits of Open Government Partnership:

    MK0042, 2014, Capacity Building

  65. Greater public awareness and use of participatory policy making through the internet portal e-democracy by the institutions, companies, chambers, civil society and citizens

    MK0043, 2014, E-Government

  66. Starred commitment Establishing of an advisory body to promote cooperation, dialogue and encourage the development of the civil society, composed of representatives of the Government, administrative bodies and civil society organizations

    MK0044, 2014, Public Participation

  67. Improved implementation of the Code of Good Practice for the participation of civil society in the policy making process

    MK0045, 2014, Capacity Building

  68. Open data of the bodies and public sector institutions according to their technical features which they create in exercise of their powers that will be made available for use

    MK0046, 2014, Open Data

  69. Setting of technical standards for the data format and the manner of its publication prescribed by the Minister of Information Society and Administration.

    MK0047, 2014, Open Data

  70. Establishing a Central catalog of public sector data published for use based on a catalog of data from the bodies and the institutions of the public sector www.otvorenipodatoci.gov.mk (opendata.gov.mk)

    MK0048, 2014, E-Government

  71. Establishing a database for the contact person in the bodies and institutions of the public sector where a contact person shall be appointed responsible for the technical adaptation and publishing of data for use, their publication on the website of the authority and responsibilities for the accuracy of the catalog data www.opendata.gov.mk.

    MK0049, 2014, Open Data

  72. Introducing the possibility for submission of a request by the interested parties for new datasets for use.

    MK0050, 2014, Open Data

  73. Establishing a platform for data mashing (pilot 11 institutions)

    MK0051, 2014, E-Government

  74. Trainings for implementation of the Law on Use of Data from the Public Sector

    MK0052, 2014, Capacity Building

  75. Raising public awareness about the right to free access to public information through the created and conducted media presentations and educational campaign

    MK0053, 2014, Capacity Building

  76. Establishing of inter-sector working group for determining the compliance with the Convention of the Council of Europe for access to public documents and setting national legal requirements for accession to the Convention

    MK0054, 2014, Public Participation

  77. Educating officers and officials at the information holders (Commission for Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information)

    MK0055, 2014, Capacity Building

  78. Making a new web site of the Commission (Ministry of Information Society and Administration)

    MK0056, 2014, E-Government

  79. Regular posting and updating the list of information holders

    MK0057, 2014, Capacity Building

  80. Availability of all public information on the web sites of the information holders (all holders)

    MK0058, 2014, Capacity Building

  81. Improving the financial and human resources of the Commission (Ministry of Finance, the Commission for Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information and the Ministry of Information Society and Administration)

    MK0059, 2014, Capacity Building

  82. Increasing the cooperation of the Commission with associations and foundations and municipalities in RM through Memorandum of Cooperation

    MK0060, 2014, Capacity Building

  83. Publishing information about budget and program implementation of health budgets, with particular focus on the budgetary and financial implementation of preventive programs of the Ministry of Health, obtained through a procedure of access to public information www.esem.org.mk

    MK0061, 2014, E-Government

  84. Amending the Law on Free Access to Public Information (Ministry of Justice)

    MK0062, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  85. Starred commitment Adoption of amendments to the Law on Prevention of Corruption in the direction of:

    MK0063, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  86. Implementation of activities to raise awareness of public administration and citizens to report corruption and other unlawful and impermissible actions

    MK0064, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  87. Introducing guidelines to the integrity system and their further piloting in the municipalities and central level institutions

    MK0065, 2014, Capacity Building

  88. Defining a methodology for assessing the risks of corruption by updating the concept of integrity

    MK0066, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  89. Developing a methodology for monitoring the progress of implementation of integrity systems (integrity index) for local self governments

    MK0067, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  90. Developing a methodology for monitoring progress in implementation of integrity systems by the civil society (through tools for social responsibility)

    MK0068, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  91. Continuously promote the use of IT tools for social responsibility in the municipalities and other institutions

    MK0069, 2014, Capacity Building

  92. Building the capacity of civil society organizations to monitor anti-corruption practices at the local level through research and a LOTOS study

    MK0070, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  93. Defining the scope of the elected and appointed persons who are obliged to submit declarations of assets and interests statement - Preparation of the Register

    MK0071, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  94. Implementation of the Open Budget Initiative

    MK0072, 2014, Fiscal Transparency

  95. Starred commitment Public procurement

    MK0073, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  96. Foreign aid and foreign investment

    MK0074, 2014, Aid

  97. Developing capacities at local level for the implementation of mechanisms for proactive communication with citizens

    MK0075, 2014, Capacity Building

  98. Establish an electronic platform (dashboard) with indicators for the budget and delivery of local services

    MK0076, 2014, E-Government

  99. Improving local services through direct collaboration with citizens

    MK0077, 2014, Public Participation

  100. Transforming the part of local services in e- services

    MK0078, 2014, E-Government

  101. Participatory policy making at the local level- obligatory consultations with citizens in drafting/amending of the most important acts and documents in the local government (budget, strategies, urban plans, statute)

    MK0079, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  102. Increasing accountability and promoting the concept of informed consumers and citizens, service users and rights through:

    MK0080, 2014, Capacity Building

  103. Publication of the results of the projects for evaluation of public administration

    MK0081, 2014, Capacity Building

  104. Inclusive elementary and secondary education for persons with disabilities

    MK0082, 2014, Education

  105. Enforcement activities of the Center for Safer Internet Action Plan in accordance with (Inhope Macedonia)

    MK0083, 2014, Capacity Building

  106. Analysis of the results obtained in field research at the national level to implement the program

    MK0084, 2014, Capacity Building

  107. Informing women on the rights and the services available to them with the Programme

    MK0085, 2014, Capacity Building

  108. Increasing responsibilities and promote the concept of environmental protection (DEM – AD Treska, Makedonski Brod and other stakeholders):

    MK0086, 2014, Environment and Climate

  109. ENER on line participatory tool in legislation drafting; 1)Publishing draft laws; 2)ENER usage data

    MK0001, 2012, Public Participation

  110. www.e-demokratija.gov.mk - on line tool for participatory policy making

    MK0002, 2012, E-Government

  111. Introduction of online petitions

    MK0003, 2012,

  112. Implementation of the Strategy for Cooperation of the Government with the Civil Society Sector

    MK0004, 2012, Public Participation

  113. Code of Best Practices for NGO Involvement

    MK0005, 2012, Capacity Building

  114. www.opendata.gov.mk

    MK0006, 2012, E-Government

  115. Development of business model for open data

    MK0007, 2012, Open Data

  116. Prioritizing opening of data

    MK0008, 2012, Open Data

  117. Use of inter-operable services as guidance in opening data

    MK0009, 2012, Open Data

  118. Plan and monitor the implementation of the plans for opening the state institutions information.

    MK0010, 2012, Open Data

  119. Analyses of the legal framework enabling open data.

    MK0011, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  120. Improving services through www.uslugi.gov.mk

    MK0012, 2012, E-Government

  121. Integration of Citizen Logs, their update and publishing

    MK0013, 2012, E-Government

  122. ‘Traffic light’ project for citizens’ evaluation of the administration.

    MK0014, 2012, Public Participation

  123. Provision of the Government services through cloud computing.

    MK0015, 2012, E-Government

  124. Introduction of one-off request for the information from the citizens.

    MK0016, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  125. Use of harm test. and 2. Publication of information gathered through the Free Access Law

    MK0017, 2012, Right to Information

  126. Publication of easy to search public information.

    MK0018, 2012, Right to Information

  127. Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Public Documents.

    MK0019, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  128. Electronic submission of requests for access to public character information.

    MK0020, 2012, E-Government

  129. Training of access to information officers.

    MK0021, 2012, E-Government

  130. Identification of low interest areas for business investments. 2.Publication of research.

    MK0022, 2012, Education

  131. Scientific and research cooperation through the Internet.

    MK0023, 2012, E-Government

  132. Publication of information from the State Statistical Office for further scientific purposes.

    MK0024, 2012, Education

  133. Available information about the Inspectorates

    MK0025, 2012, Justice

  134. Introduce integrity systems for anticorruption policies in the public administration.

    MK0026, 2012, Capacity Building

  135. Open Budget initiative

    MK0027, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  136. Public Procurements

    MK0028, 2012, E-Government

  137. Foreign assistance and foreign investments

    MK0029, 2012, Aid

  138. Opening of information by the Municipalities

    MK0030, 2012, Open Data

  139. Free access to information training local self-government officials

    MK0031, 2012, Capacity Building

  140. Integrity system on local level.1. Established methodology. 2. Piloting in 10 municipalities.

    MK0032, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  141. Promotion of consumers information in selected areas.

    MK0033, 2012, Gender

  142. Availability of information related to: roads safety, air quality, safety of workers

    MK0034, 2012, E-Government

  143. Public health information

    MK0035, 2012, Health