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Serbia

Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking (RS0011)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia First Action Plan 2014-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Office for cooperation with civil society Ministry in charge of local self-government Ministry in charge of public administration

Support Institution(s): Civil Society Organizations

Policy Areas

Civic Space, Public Participation

IRM Review

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

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Although the fact that in the last decade a number of state administration authorities significantly improve communication and cooperation with civil society organizations, the next step should be taken towards enabling the overall system for participation of civil society at all levels, in the preparation of regulations. To facilitate the active participation of civil society in the preparation of regulations, the new forms and mechanisms of cooperation at all levels of participation should be established, that is, existing forms should be improved. For this purpose Office for Cooperation with Civil Society initiated the creation of the first strategic framework for the creation of an enabling environment for civil society organizations - the First National Strategy for the Enabling Environment for the Development of Civil Society, for the period 2015-2018. The aim of the strategy is to establish a framework for the development and sustainability of civil society, improvement of cooperation between state administration authorities and civil society organizations, as well as the definition of measures for greater involvement of the public in policy-making and policy implementation processes, for further development and democratization of our society, and the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms. The start of the Strategy development was marked by a national conference attended by over 300 representatives of institutions, state administration and local self-government authorities, and civil society, who, through Open Space Technology, launched a broad participatory process of developing a strategic document, prioritized areas and objectives of the Strategy, and thus made a basis for creation of the document.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 11. Cooperation with civil society organizations in public policymaking

Commitment Text:

1.     Drafting the National Strategy for the Enabling Environment for the Development of Civil Society for the period 2014-2018, and Action Plan for implementation of the Strategy, through a wide consultative process with all stakeholders throughout Serbia.

a.     Preparation of the text of working version of National Strategy and Action Plan

b.     Conducting 10 consultative meetings throughout Serbia with representatives of local and regional institutions, civil society organizations, and business sector

c.     Determination and publishing of Public Hearing Program

d.     Conducting public debate

e.      Submitting Proposal National Strategy and Proposal Action Plan to the Government for consideration and adoption

2.     Amending the Law on Local Self-Government, so to especially consult the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities with the aim of cooperation between state administration authorities and local self-government units

a.     Submitting Draft Law to the Government for consideration and formulation of the Bill

Responsible Institution(s): Ministry of Public Administration; Office for Cooperation with Civil Society; Ministry of Local Self-Government

Supporting Institution(s): CSOs

Start Date: Quarter III 2014                                                    End Date: Quarter II 2015

Commitment aim:

This commitment aimed to improve the processes of collaboration and cooperation mechanisms between government and civil society stakeholders. The milestones to achieve this aim were the drafting of the National Strategy for the Enabling Environment for the Development of Civil Society for the period 2014-2018 and the related action plan, which were to be created in a collaborative manner, including both civil society and the wider public. Additionally, the Law on Local Self-Government was supposed to be amended in consultation with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM).

Status

Midterm: Substantial

All of the activities related to the national strategy were completed, including holding consultative meetings and public discussion, except the Proposal of the National Strategy and the Proposal of the Action Plan to the Government was not submitted for consideration. The amendment of the Law on Local Self-Government had more limited completion given that, although the law was amended, the amendments were not fully aligned with those envisioned in the action plan. For more information, please see the 2014-2015 Serbian midterm IRM report.

End of term: Substantial

The strategy and action plan were not submitted to the Serbian Government for consideration and adoption. The Law on Local Self-Government was amended,[Note 44: Republic of Serbia, “Law on Local Self-Government,” Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, No. 129/2007 and 83/2014, [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2gbtx7t%5D but it does not include the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, which was supposed to facilitate collaboration between the central and local administrative levels. Its “limited” completion level could be viewed as a generous rating. However, because efforts were made in the amendment process, the commitment could not be rated “not started.” Hence, the overall completion level of this commitment remains substantial, with no significant developments after the midterm-reporting period.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Marginal

Civic participation: Marginal

Serbia’s approach to improving civil society and government participation and collaboration, as well as creating a participatory policymaking process, is not systematic. It leads to civil society participation that is often ad hoc, untimely, and reactive, rather than truly participatory.[Note 45: Amanda Orza, “Civil Society and Government: Participatory Policy Formulation in Serbia,” European Policy Centre, 2014, http://bit.ly/2fIo8qy%5D

The process of drafting the national strategy and its implementation was supposed to enhance the participatory framework for CSOs, especially given the fact that CSOs were consulted on both the strategy as well as the action plan. Moreover, the amendment of the Law on Local Self-Government was supposed to introduce the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities as an intermediary institution and catalyst for the cooperation between local government and civil society stakeholders. However, the national strategy draft was substantially completed, while the amendment of the law remained at a limited completion level; thus, this commitment had only a marginal effect on creating a participatory policymaking environment in Serbia and enabling more access to information.

The marginal effect on access to information and civic participation stems from the participatory manner in which the first milestone was implemented. The three public discussions[Note 46: Public discussion, Belgrade, 30 July 2015; Public discussion, Novi Sad, 3 August 2015; Public discussion, Niš, 19 August 2015. ] and 10 consultative meetings[Note 47: Consultative meetings, ten different cities, October to November 2014. The schedule of the consultative meetings held can be accessed here [Serbian]: http://strategija.civilnodrustvo.gov.rs/javni-pozivi/onlajn-konsultacije-o-strategiji-otvorene-1-12-2014-godine. ] organized as a part of this milestone presented a step toward more open policymaking in Serbia. Hence, the IRM researchers recognize that the national strategy draft adds to the foundations of the civil society and government collaboration process. Further, the effects may increase in the long term if the national strategy is adopted. The strategy is available on a website, but the IRM researchers found the page was last updated on 19 August 2015, confirming that little progress was made on this milestone.[Note 48: National Strategy for the Enabling Environment for the Development of Civil Society, http://strategija.civilnodrustvo.gov.rs/%5D

Carried forward?

The commitment was substantially completed and was not directly carried over to the 2016-2018 action plan. However, the action plan contains a complementary commitments focused on providing civil servants and CSO representatives with quality consultation processes. Namely, commitments 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 aim at improving the consulting process of public policy documents with the civil sector at the national and local level, as well as increasing the role of citizens in the public policy management system.


Serbia's Commitments

  1. Develop a Model of Job Description or Part of Job Description of an Officer Responsible for Cooperation with Civil Society in Local Administration

    RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Organise Trainings for Public Administration Officers in Connection with the Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Organise Trainings for CSO in Connection with Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Improve the System for Collecting Initiatives from Citizens and Businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  5. Introducing Standards for Civic Participation in the Public Policy Management System

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Improving Proactive Transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  8. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Draft a Bylaw Based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Improve the Institute of Public Hearing in the Drafting of Laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Development of a Uniform Methodology for Planning, Monitoring and Performance Evaluation of Programmes and Projects Implemented by Civil Society Organisations and Monitoring the Spending of Allocated Funds

    RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest Implemented by Associations

    RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Establish a Single Public Register of Administrative Procedures and Other Conditions for Pursuing a Business Activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  16. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  18. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  19. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  20. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  21. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  22. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  23. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  24. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  25. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  26. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  27. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls