Due to factual omissions in the press release of the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) to the statement of the NGO Coalition Cooperation to the Goal, regarding the adopted Strategy for improving the incentive environment for work of NGO 2018-2020, we feel obligated to inform the public on the following facts and to initiate direct questions to this department.
In this press release, the MPA states that representatives of the NGOs participated in drafting Strategy. We remind the public that the NGO representatives, who were primarily chosen to participate in the work of this body, left this working group, and no other calls for the NGO sector were announced. Therefore, the development of the document only started with the participation of the NGO, but the procedure was completed without their involvement. The document was in the initial phase when the NGO representatives left, and all key solutions were brought after that. If any NGO was involved in this process until the end, we call the MPA to publicly announce the name of the organisation.
When it comes to the participation in the public debate, which was also mentioned in the reaction of the MPA in the context of our influence on this document, we remind that the Coalition timely submitted comments as well as proposals for the formulation of specific measures during the public debate, in order to genuinly contribute to the improvement of this document. The Coalition does not deal with the wishlist of the NGO sector, but it assesses the needs of the sector that are contained in domestic and European documents, and in which we found the base for all our proposals. Only one proposal was essentially accepted. The Coalition did not state that all of our proposals must be brilliant and hence integrated into the document, but we pointed to the lack of key measures for the further development of the sector that are missing in the Strategy, and which are also contained in the European documents that the MPA refers to so much.
We are asking the MPA, if the NGO sector is the partner of the state, as it was pointed out at several occasions in the reaction, how is it possible that the NGO sector is not recognised as the partner in the implementation of any single activity within the Strategy? If the Government truly sees us as partners, why is the NGO sector treated differently than other partners important for the development of Montenegrin society? If the Government supports the development of the entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized enterprises through business incubators, different forms of training, consultancy services and other, isn’t it logical to provide some capacity-building support for the “partners” from the non-governmental sector. If the Government really wants a developed NGO sector, this can be easily formulated into several measures.
And when it comes to the conclusion of the Ministry that is addressed to the NGO Coalition Cooperation to the Goal, about our “misunderstanding of the role of the state in the development of NGO sector”, we remind them that this Coalition is made up of NGOs that have been working for more than 20 years in Montenegro, that started the development of the non-governmental sector in the country, and that the Coalition initiated the creation of the first Strategy for NGOs in Montenegro, at that time educating the Government and its servants about their role in this process. After that, we initiated, or in its entirety offered the Government solutions for the development of all policies related to the non-governmental sector. Often we were expressed gratitude by these institutions for our work and efforts to help the Government to understand its role in this process. Therefore, we will refrain from such ratings, as we believe that citizens can make the best assessment of who genuinly understands the matter.
The Coalition of NGOs Cooperation to the Goal currently brings together 99 NGOs from the entire Montenegro and represents a largest organized coalition of NGOs in Montenegro.
Ana Novaković, president of the Management Board
- Centre for Civic Education (CCE) is a member of the Coalition of NGOs Cooperation to the Goal, and in this capacity has a representative in the MB.