Think Locally – Act Locally! – Fight against Corruption at the Local Level

Although the problem of corruption at national level is one of the key challenges that Montenegro faces in democratization and Europeanization, corruption at the local level has not been for long time recognized as an issue to be addressed. And it is precisely the lack of efficiency and accountability at the local level that have resulted in enormous debt of Montenegrin local self-governments, which has in the first quarter of 2015 amounted to EUR 349 million, whereby the responsibility system basically does not exist in practice and examples of effective processing of corruption cases at the local level by competent authorities remain rare.

Based on the results of the previous project “Corruption at the Local Level – Zero Tolerance!”, which the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) conducted with partners, the project “Think Locally – Act Locally! – The Fight against Corruption at the Local Level” was developed and implemented by the CCE, in cooperation with NGO Bonum from Pljevlja, NGO Incubator – The space for independent cultural initiatives from Kotor and NGO Centre for Investigative Reporting – CIN from Podgorica, in the period from December 2015 to November 2017. The project was funded by the European Union within the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession assistance (IPA) 2015, and co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This action was in accordance with the Revised Action plan for Chapter 23, which envisaged the preparation and adoption of action plans for fight against corruption for each unit of local self-government.

Are the existing capacities and mechanisms for the prevention and repression of corruption at the local level sufficient for municipalities to deal with this phenomenon? What are the results of municipal work and in which manner the system should be improved so that these results are more visible, efficient and sustainable? How can CSOs contribute to the fight against corruption at the local level? To what extent citizens are familiar with the harmful forms and consequences of the corruption at the local level and how do they evaluate anti-corruption mechanisms and institutions, as well as other actors who can improve or slow down the fight against corruption? These are some of the numerous issues that the project “Think Locally – Act Locally! – The Fight against Corruption at the Local Level” addressed.

Think Locally – Act Locally!

The overall objective was to contribute to civil society participation in the implementation of anti-corruption policies through monitoring, reporting and watchdog activities at the local level in Montenegro. The specific objective of the project was to increase capacities of small civil society organisations in Montenegro to monitor anti-corruption strategies and activities at the local level through exchange of information, experience and financial support.

During the project implementation, the focus was on the analysis and assessment of the capacities of local self-governments in Montenegro to effectively prevent and fight corruption, through the prism of the track record in implementation of the measures included in key anti-corruption documents at the local level, but also through the perceptions of the citizens. Furthermore, direct support to CSOs of different degrees of development was provided, by allocation of financial resources for implementation of projects within their local communities, strengthening their capacities for successful implementation of projects in lined with the EU rules, and providing mentoring and continuous counselling throughout project duration. Hence, CSOs that were not beneficiaries of the IPA programme in Montenegro had the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in the field of the fight against corruption, but also to learn about EU funded projects management. Besides that, aiming to incorporate citizens in the fight against corruption in their local communities, extensive informative campaign was carried out in Montenegrin municipalities, while the series of published investigative articles about specific cases of corruption additionally drew attention of the public to the devastating consequences of this phenomenon.

The project produced a number of recommendations and possible solutions to problems caused by corruption at the local level through direct cooperation with civil society organizations (CSOs), citizens, local authorities and other stakeholders.

Through the project, a public opinion survey on the perception of corruption at the local level was conducted, whose results can be found HERE.

Materials for Call for support of CSOs in Montenegro in the area of local anti-corruption activities – II Call

IPA Call II 2016
IPA II Guidelines 2016
IPA II Application form 2016
IPA II Annex I Logical Framework Matrix 2016
IPA II Annex II Budget 2016

Materials for competition for support of CSOs in Montenegro in the area of local anti-corruption activities – I Call

IPA Competition 2016
IPA Guidelines 2016
IPA Application form 2016
IPA Annex I Logical Framework Matrix 2016
IPA Annex II Budget 2016
IPA 2016 Clarifications
IPA 2016 Correction of the IPA Call II 2016

Information on supported projects for both calls can be found HERE.