United Nations Development Programme
Montenegro Oslo Governance Centre Inkognitogata 37, 0256 Oslo, Norway www.undp.org/governance www.undp.org/oslocentre
Governance Assessments August 2011
United Nations Development Programme Bureau for Development Policy Democratic Governance Group 304 East 45th Street, 10th Fl. New York, NY 10017
The DGTTF Lessons Learned Series
Montenegro Governance Assessments Project Assessment
Author: Harry Garnett Project coordination: Darko Pavlovic Designer: Keen Media (DGTTF Series); of this report, Phoenix Design Aid UNDP Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication are the authorsâ€™ and do not necessarily represent those of the United Nations, including UNDP, or its Member States. For further information please contact: United Nations Development Programme Bureau for Development Policy Democratic Governance Group 304 East 45th Street, 10th Fl. New York, NY 10017 Oslo Governance Centre Inkognitogata 37, 0256 Oslo, Norway www.undp.org/governance www.undp.org/oslocentre www.gaportal.org United Nations Development Programme Montenegro Country Office Bulevar Svetog Petra Cetinjskog 1A 81000 Podgorica Montenegro www.undp.org.me Copyright ÂŠ2011 by the United Nations Development Programme. All rights reserved.
Table of Contents 4 Abbreaviations 5 Acknowledgements 6 Preface
10 Introduction 10 Objective, Scope and Approach 11 Structure of the report 12 Country context 12 Independence 12 European Union membership 12 Government 12 Governance 13 Economy 13 Population 14 Project Assessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in the Context of European Integration in Montenegro (2008) 14 Context and Strategy 14 Activities 16 Findings 16 Relevance 16 Innovation 17 Catalytic Effect 17 Scalability 18 Efficacy 19 Efficiency 19 Sustainability 19 Country-led governance assessments 21 Lessons learned and recommendations
23 Annex I: Codification of tools and instruments used 25 Annex II: List of persons interviewed 26 Annex III: Bibliography
Capacity Development Programme
Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund
EC European Commission EU European Union GDP
Gross Domestic Product
Gross National Income/Purchasing Power Parity
Local Project Appraisal Committee
National Democratic Institute
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Oslo Governance Centre
Request for Proposals
Stabilization and Association Agreement
United Nations Development Programme
Montenegro Project Assessment Report
Acknowledgments This report is published by the UNDP Democratic Governance Group through the Oslo Governance Centre, with funding from the UNDP Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund. The Oslo Governance Centre are grateful to the author, Harry Garnett, and all those who were interviewed and consulted in the preparation and writing of this assessment report, who are listed here in alphabetical order: Aleksandar Damjanovic, Boris Raonic, Branislav Radulovic, Dragan Djuric, Djordje Blazic, Kristina Blokhus, Lav Lajovic, Ljiljana Radonjic, Natasa Komnenic, Olivera Dimic, Sanja Bojanic, Sanja Elezovic, Slobodan Lekovic, Srdjan Milic, Stevo Muk and Zarko Sturanovic. Also, we would like to thank Joachim Nahem, Ingvild Ă˜ia and Henri Schumacher. Javier Fabra provided invaluable support to coordinating this publication series. Darko Pavlovic coordinated the project. August 2011
Preface The Millennium Declaration, a key outcome of the Millennium Summit in 2000, emphasizes the centrality of democratic governance to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. World leaders agreed that improving the quality of democratic institutions and processes, and managing the changing roles of the state and civil society in an increasingly globalized world, should underpin national efforts to reduce poverty, sustain the environment, and promote human development. The Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund (DGTTF) was created in 2001 to enable UNDP country offices to explore innovative and catalytic approaches to supporting democratic governance. The DGTTF Lessons Learned Series represents a collective effort to systematically capture lessons learned and best practices, to share them with all stakeholders, to serve as an input to organizational learning, and to inform future UNDP policy and programming processes.
focused on Parliament and its relations with the executive branch and other oversight organizations, relationships that are at the heart of the effective democratization required for EU accession. The project review shows that:
1. The project is relevant, innovative and well-aligned with Montenegro’s interests. The report, Transparency and Accountability in the Montenegrin Governance System, funded by DGTTF and prepared with support from National Democratic Institute (NDI) has been welcomed by Government, Parliament and NGOs as an excellent, detailed articulation of transparency and accountability in Montenegro, which is not available from any other sources. The questions in the revised framework and the analysis of the law offer a useful checklist for the legislature’s transparency and accountability, and its relationships with other branches of government.
This report’s findings are the result of an assessment of a DGTTF-funded project, Assessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in the Context of European Integration in Montenegro. The project, which took place in 2008 with a DGTTF grant of $150,000, plus $20,000 from the Country Office, included workshop design, implementation of a qualitative assessment and the production of a report.
2. The main catalytic force behind reforms in transparency and accountability is Montenegro’s aspiration towards EU membership. The report became more valuable as this key driver of reform began to be taken seriously. The weaknesses in democratic governance, particularly in parliamentary oversight, identified in EU and OECD/Sigma assessments in December 2010, have done most to incentivize Government and Parliament leaders to improve transparency and accountability.
This project review focuses on the extent to which the project was innovative and catalytic in the country context. It asks what has made the project succeed or fail, and why. And it helps to inform UNDP’s future strategic policy and programme planning processes in the democratic governance focus areas.
3. The report has had a significant impact on the adminis-
The project’s objective was to establish an appropriate system of governance indicators on Copenhagen political criteria for European integration. It did that by facilitating cooperation between the Government and civil society, and designing and piloting a nationally owned methodology. The project team focused its assessment on the transparency and accountability of the legislature and implementation bodies of the executive branch, and independent institutions established by, and having a direct legal relationship to, the legislature. The project’s intended outputs were
1. Report on Democratic Governance Indicators: Assessing the State of Governance in the context of European Integration in Montenegro.
2. Nationally owned governance indicators.
tration of the Parliament. Parliamentary leaders have been able to use the report to identify the changes in legislation, regulation and procedures that would respond to the EU criticisms. MPs and parliamentary administrators have benefited greatly from hiring a Montenegrin NDI team member who worked on the report. Several changes in the administration of Parliament were taken directly from the report, including:
a Calendar of activities a Law on overseeing security services a Professional support to party caucuses a Stronger emphasis on oversight generally, with committee staff preparing expert not political review of legislation a Annual performance report plus plan for the following year a Electronic filing of documents a Human resources strategy for Parliament
The project’s strategy focused on facilitating Montenegro’s accession to the EU, with tools to guide the creation and implementation of the laws, policies and reforms necessary for membership and effective democratic governance. The project
6. It may yet take some time for the project to have its full
When Parliament had to respond to the EC’s Opinion and the OECD/Sigma report earlier in 2011, they consulted the plans to reform Parliament that were based on the report.
intended impact. It has helped to improve at least the administration of accountability, in particular Parliament’s oversight capacity. But many of those outside government interviewed by the team believed that only limited progress had been made in Parliament’s effectiveness in actually holding the Government accountable. This is always going to be a difficult objective to achieve in a Government run by a party that has been in power for many decades and is by far the largest party in Parliament. The limited progress includes the introduction of Question Time and a rising number of amendments to the Government’s legislative proposals.
4. National ownership was a particular challenge for the project from the outset. After two failed requests for proposals from organizations interested in implementing the project, the NDI (an American-based organization, registered as an NGO in Montenegro, but now no longer in Montenegro) agreed to implement the project. It worked with the National Council for European Integration, which first met in the project’s tenth month, providing oversight. The assignment was transparent, participatory and inclusive, and the report reflects what was and is needed in Montenegro to improve transparency and accountability. The report’s presentation was not followed by particularly proactive communications – but ownership of the assessment framework is now much stronger, if quite narrow. Ownership of the assessment is limited to the former NDI team members, some parliamentary committee chairs, administrators in Parliament, and some NGOs who use the report in their work on transparency and accountability. Most of those interviewed were not familiar with the report, although they found its framework useful and consistent with activities undertaken as part of the EU membership process. There are no plans to replicate this project for other aspects of democratic governance, although considerable attention is given to democratic governance by the Government and NGOs, because of the impending negotiations on EU membership.
Key recommendations from the project review are:
1. This project’s experience supports two recommendations of the 2007-2008 DGTTF evaluation, which took place at about the same time as this project:
i. Two year projects should be permitted (which is now the case with DGTTF)
ii. The institution that will take responsibility for the project should be identified before the application is submitted, bearing in mind that, since the application might be rejected (before 2008, very few were), expectations should not be unreasonably raised.
2. The report represents a particularly effective articulation of transparency, accountability and parliamentary oversight that could be replicated in other countries. The form of the Improved Governance Assessment Framework proved highly applicable to a Parliament supporting entry to the EU through the attainment of EU standards of transparency and accountability. The framework, too, could serve as a guide for other countries.
5. The project’s timing is an issue. It may have had more immediate and better support had it been carried out a year or two later, giving some distance from Montenegro’s independence and more proximity to the start of EU membership negotiations. It proved very difficult to find an organization willing to work on the project after it had been approved for DGTTF funding. There were no responses to the two Requests for Proposals. Eventually, NDI took responsibility and began work in October 2008, three months before the end of the DGTTF funding. The report was published in February 2009. A lack of capacity in the NGO and consulting community in 2008 may have contributed to the lack of interest. There are now many NGOs working on transparency and accountability that were not active in 2008. The issues were also not seen as proximate. Transparency and accountability now receives far more attention, because of the forthcoming EU membership negotiations. Many referred to an exponential reform curve, very slow at first (when this project was carried out) and much faster now.
3. It is probably important to include a more assertive communications strategy associated with the preparation of such a governance assessment framework. Most officials that the team met had not seen the report until just before the meeting, although all thought the report was aligned with their country’s and institution’s aspirations. Although the OECD/Sigma report identified the very issues the report covers, there is not a single reference to it in its own report.
4. Evaluations such as this offer a further opportunity to promote, sustain and scale up governance indicators. Negotiations are set to begin in 2012 and, with the EU outli-
Montenegro Project Assessment Report ning seven areas requiring improvement, now might be a good time to find a longer term, and truly indigenous, home for a broader range of nationally owned governance indicators.
5. OGC and its Global Programme on Governance Assess ments have an important role in these kinds of DGTTF funded projects. This is clear from OGC’s various interventions. Two OGC staff participated in the March 2008 round table, explaining the importance of nationally owned governance indicators. In December 2008, OGC provided helpful comments on NDI’s work. Because governance assessments are such a new topic for countries like Montenegro, which have in the past experienced weak transparency and accountability systems and practices, it may be that OGC needs to take a more proactive role from the beginning of these projects.
a Efficiency Efficiency measures the outputs in relation to the inputs. Were activities cost-efficient and were objectives achieved on time?
aInnovation Innovative projects address recognized critical democratic governance issues that, if resolved, may lead to substantial improvements in democratic governance. They are initiatives, in terms of the problem addressed or the approach taken, that have never before been attempted in a given country. And although they may be potentially risky or less certain of success than traditional projects, they will position UNDP as a key player in democratic governance, one that ‘pushes the frontier’.
a Catalytic effect A catalytic project has a high likelihood of receiving support from government or other governance institutions (including other donors) for scaling up or following up, if the project is successful.
Objective, Scope and Approach The objective and scope of the project Assessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in the Context of European Integration in Montenegro (2008) was to establish an appropriate system of governance indicators on political criteria for European integration. It aimed to do this by facilitating cooperation between the Government and civil society, and designing and piloting a nationally owned methodology.
a Sustainability Sustainability is concerned with measuring whether the benefits of an activity are likely to continue after donor funding has been withdrawn. Projects also need to be financially sustainable. The project review also considers four key strategic principles of UNDP’s policy on country-led governance assessments: ownership, alignment, national capacity development, and strengthening accountability. It was expected that the review would shed light on the usefulness of these principles, and also lead to further elaborations on how to optimize the operationalization of these principles.
With the later agreement of UNDP, which recommended that the project be treated as a pilot (rather than, as initially planned, covering all political criteria for European integration), the project team focused its assessment on the transparency and accountability of the legislature and implementation bodies of the executive branch, and independent institutions established by, and having a direct legal relationship to, the legislature.
The report was prepared by a consultant working under the supervision of the Oslo Governance Centre. The consultant solicited, received, reviewed, and consolidated country-specific data and information from national counterparts, the UNDP Capacity Development Programme (CDP) in Montenegro, and the UNDP country office. The assignment entailed a combination of home-based work (review of all relevant project documents, preparation of draft country project report, and preparation of final report) and a five-day mission in Montenegro.
This project review focuses on the extent to which the project was innovative and catalytic in the country context. It asks what has made the project succeed or fail, and why. And it helps to inform UNDP’s future strategic policy and programme planning processes in the democratic governance focus areas. It assesses the project’s impact in terms of relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, innovation, catalytic effect, and sustainability, defined according to these DGTTF guidelines:
The review team sought information on the interviewees’ experience of the project’s implementation and of its outcomes and impacts. At the end of each day, issues arising from these interviews were discussed with CDP staff.
a Relevance How relevant is the project to the country’s priority needs, and was the right strategy applied within the country’s specific political, economic, and social contexts?
A key challenge in such an assessment is to link impacts to outcomes to outputs and inputs: in other words, to link success or failure or lessons learned to the project. In DGTTF projects, which are small and short, it is particularly difficult to achieve
a Effectiveness Effectiveness is a measure of the extent to which an aid activity attains its objectives.
Montenegro Project Assessment Report this attribution, because the project is not likely to be the sole cause of changes in democratic governance. This problem of attribution certainly applies in this case. It became clear from the evaluation’s onset that the reforms needed for EU membership are a major driver of change, but that this project has had, and still has, a role to play. There is good evidence that the project did have a unique and attributable impact on Parliament, even if it was not the main driver of change.
Structure of the report The report is structured in four sections:
1. To position the DGTTF project, the first section, Country Context, presents an overview of the country’s socio-economic and political situation at the time of the project’s design.
2. The second section outlines the activities of the ssessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in A the Context of European Integration in Montenegro (2008) project.
3. The third section analyses the DGTTF project’s impact, following the criteria discussed above.
4. Finally, section four discusses lessons learned from the review and offers recommendations for next steps in Montenegro, the UNDP governance assessments programme, and the UNDP Democratic Governance Group generally.
What is referred to in Montenegro as “The Government” is the executive branch. The Government is headed by the Prime Minister, and consists of deputy prime ministers and ministers. The public administration has about 44,000 staff in central and local administration and service delivery. One-quarter of these are in education and about one-fifth are in health.
Both the President and Prime Minister are relatively young. Those interviewed for this evaluation described them as “reformers”, committed to the standards required for EU membership. The Parliament of Montenegro is a unicameral legislative body. It passes laws, ratifies treaties, appoints the Prime Minister, ministers, and justices of all courts, adopts the budget and performs other duties established by the Constitution. Parliament can pass a vote of no-confidence in the Government by a simple majority. One representative is elected per 6,000 voters. The present Parliament, from the 2009 parliamentary election, has 81 seats, with a 47-seat majority currently held by the Coalition for a European Montenegro. The opposition consists of one medium sized party, which opposed independence, and several very small parties, most of which also opposed independence, and some of which are ethnically based (Serbian and Albanian nationalists, for example).
Independence Montenegro was formerly part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and then the State Union of Serbia. Montenegro became an independent and sovereign state in 2006. After the May 2006 referendum on Montenegro’s state status, in which a narrow majority of 55 percent voted for independence, the European Union decided to continue its relations with Montenegro as an independent and sovereign state. In September 2006, the EU continued negotiations on a Stabilization and Association Agreement, which was signed on 15 October 2007 in Luxembourg. Parliament ratified that agreement a month later with overwhelming support. The Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-Related Matters took effect on 1 January 2008. The Stabilization and Association Agreement was initialized on 15 March 2007 and officially signed on 15 October 2007. That same week Montenegro adopted a new constitution.
The Parliament of Montenegro, a major focus of this DGTTF pilot project, supported the strategic priority of European Union membership. From 2005, Parliament received quarterly reports from the Government on progress towards membership. In December 2007, Parliament adopted a Resolution on Fulfilment of Commitments of Montenegro under the Stabilization and Association Agreement, which established the practice of monthly reports from the Government on the agreement’s implementation. In addition, from time to time the Committee for Foreign Affairs and European Integration invites Government representatives responsible for European affairs to make presentations and discuss the reports.
European Union membership Even before its formal status as an independent state, EU membership was a key strategic priority for Montenegro. The National Programme for Integration (2008 – 2012) was adopted in June 2008. In December 2008 (the final month of this DGTTF project), Montenegro formally submitted an application to the EU for status as a candidate country for membership.
Governance Montenegro has governance weaknesses when compared with some countries in the region at a similar stage of development. The presentation made by UNDP at the project’s initial roundtable refers to three international measures of good governance: the Global Index of Integrity, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, and the World Bank’s Control of Corruption. For two of these, Montenegro has a lower index than either of the two comparators used by UNDP, Armenia and Azerbaijan. For the other indicator, it ranks second. The World Bank’s Governance Matters data permit regional comparisons on several aspects of good governance that are the concern of the DGTTF-funded project. For all, Montenegro stands slightly below the regional average, but
Government The President of Montenegro is the head of state, elected for five years through direct elections. The President represents the republic abroad, promulgates laws by ordinance, calls elections for the Parliament, and proposes candidates for Prime Minister as well as the Constitutional Court president and justices to the Parliament. The President also proposes a referendum to Parliament, grants amnesty for criminal offences prescribed by the national law, confers decoration and awards, and performs other constitutional duties. The President is also a member of the Supreme Defence Council.
Montenegro Project Assessment Report more so for control of corruption and regulatory quality. In all cases, Montenegro is at about the 50th percentile worldwide. For accountability, Montenegro is at the 52nd percentile, compared with a regional average of 56. Economy Montenegro’s economy is largely service-based and is in late transition to a market economy. Per capita income is about $13,000, slightly less than half the EU average. GDP grew by 10.7 percent in 2007, and 7.5 percent in 2008. The economy entered recession in 2008, consequent to the global recession, with GDP contracting by 7 percent in 2010. Inflation is low. However, Montenegro remains a target for foreign investment, the only country in the Balkans to increase its amount of direct foreign investment. The economy’s significant dependence on foreign direct investment (about 20 percent of GDP) leaves it susceptible to external shocks and a high export/ import trade deficit. In 2007, the service sector made up 72 percent of GDP, with industry and agriculture making up the balance at 18 and 10 percent respectively. Aluminium and steel production and agricultural processing constitute most of Montenegro’s industrial output. Tourism is an important contributor to the economy, with approximately one million tourists visiting Montenegro in 2007, bringing in €480 million of tourism revenue. With tourism considered the prime generator of future economic growth, government expenditures on infrastructure improvements are largely targeted at that goal. Population About 43 percent of the population is ethnically classified as Montenegrin, 32 percent Serbian, with small ethnic groups making up the remainder. Almost two-thirds speak Serbian as their first language, and about one-fifth Montenegrin. Three-quarters are Orthodox Christians, and less than onefifth are Muslim. Almost everyone is literate. The population is declining at 0.7 percent per annum. Over 60 percent of the population lives in urban areas, the largest by far being Podgorica with about 136,000 people.
The purpose of the roundtable was to increase understanding of democratic governance and the reasons for measuring it, as well as the relevance of democratic governance for an EU accession country. Participants benefited from presentations on comparative experiences in methodology and definition of governance indicators, with a specific focus on indicators on the political criteria for European integration, and methodological issues for assessing governance using multiple approaches.
Project Assessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in the Context of European Integration in Montenegro (2008)
A request for proposals was issued for a national organization to implement the project. No applications were received, nor were any received after the request was readvertized. The National Democratic Institute (NDI) agreed to become the project’s local partner. The project asked NDI to
a Analyse existing information on Governance in MonteneContext and Strategy
Membership of the European Union was a key policy objective for Montenegro even before the electorate voted for independence. The project aims to facilitate Montenegro’s accession with tools to guide the creation and implementation of the laws, policies and reforms necessary for membership and effective democratic governance. The reports that Montenegro has to submit in support of its membership of the EU in accordance with the Copenhagen criteria are normative rather than operational documents. Progress reports prepared by the EC and OECD/ Sigma outline weaknesses and set general targets, but do not specify the steps required to achieve the required standards. This project was based on the assumption that Montenegro would benefit from a more detailed assessment of progress founded on a set of measurable indicators. Such an assessment would provide the Government, Parliament, civil society, and the media with a more incremental, action-oriented perspective of Montenegro’s EU accession. The project focused on Parliament and its relations with the executive branch and other oversight organizations, relationships that are at the heart of the effective democratization required for EU accession.
a Complete the assessment framework/set of indicators a Compile a Final Report detailing the assessment’s findings. The National Council for European Integration, an official council that guides and oversees European integration, became the project’s steering committee. It consists of key stakeholders, such as government officials, opposition and ruling party MPs, and representatives of civil society and academia. The NDI Project Team in cooperation with the Capacity Development Programme (CDP) conducted desk research on governance in Montenegro and developed the data matrix. This focused on two broad areas related to the political dimensions of the EU’s Copenhagen Criteria1: democracy and rule of law, and human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. NDI then agreed with CDP to narrow the focus still further to democracy and rule of law. There was a further sharpening of the focus, to transparency and accountability, common weaknesses in all applications for EU membership and to the legislature and its relationship and the implementing bodies of the executive branch and independent institutions established by and having a direct legal relationship to the legislature.
Activities A roundtable on comparative experiences in measuring governance indicators was held in April 2008. Participants were representatives of state institutions and civil society, including: General Secretariat of the Government of Montenegro, Secretariat for European Integration, Government Office for Gender Equality, Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs, Assembly of Montenegro, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognoses, Centre for Entrepreneurship. There were also representatives of International Crisis Group and Oslo Governance Centre (OGC).
The NDI team designed a set of mainly qualitative tools to assess the legal framework in terms of effectiveness and inclusiveness
1 The Copenhagen criteria are the rules that define whether a country is eligible to join the European Union. For more information, see European Commission, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/enlargement_process/accession_process/criteria/index_en.htm , last access: 1 July 2011.
Montenegro Project Assessment Report through analysing relevant laws and documents and conducting interviews with 62 people and 35 institutions.
o Provide clearer legal guidelines on how to decide what is to be made public (proactively) o Fix websites and keep them updated o Compel respect for Freedom of Information Act
The report was finalized in February 2009. It includes:
1. A discussion of the concept of governance, transparency
a Parliamentary oversight capacity
2. Findings on Montenegro’s governance, law, and practice 3. Conclusions and recommendations on the Government’s accountability to Parliament; the accountability of independent institutions; vertical transparency of independent and public institutions (relationships between the citizens and the state); Parliament’s oversight capacity; and Parliament’s accountability.
The NDI study director presented the report in June 2009 to a large group of key governance stakeholders, including representatives from Parliament (including the Speaker), Government (including the Deputy Prime Minister and a number of ministers), the judiciary, the Constitutional Court, the Audit Institute, the Conflict of Interest Commission, the Ombudsman, the Central Bank, universities, and NGOs, as well as members of the National Council for European Integration.
a Accountability of Government to Parliament
o Election of government and establishment of policy objectives o Authorizing budgets and reviewing financial performance o Adopting Legislation o Periodic Review of Government Performance • MP Question Period • Interpellation • Civilian Oversight of Security Sector • Control Hearings/Committee Operations • MPs’ Right to Information
a Accountability of independent institutions
o Appointments to independent public institutions o Conditions for independent and autonomous conduct o Periodic Parliamentary review of performance of independent public institutions
a Vertical transparency of public institutions
o Elections: Party, Voter o Constitutional Court o President o NGOs
Two hundred copies of the report were printed in Montenegrin, along with 50 in English. Sharing the draft report with the National Council for European Integration was delayed because of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections and political sensitivity of the report.
The report’s recommendations, based on the above analysis, cover:
Rules of Procedure Professionalization of MPs Establish Parliamentary Calendar Increase Parliamentary Resources
a Accountability of Parliament
The annexes include an original and revised governance assessment framework. The second framework is in the form of a series of questions on the law and its implementation. Almost half the report consists of a summary of transparency and accountability laws.
o o o o
o Guided by obligation to serve public interest and explain decisions
MPs really wanted to oversee the activities of the executive. Increasing technical capacity of parliamentary administrative activities would be crucial in ensuring better parliamentary performance both in producing legislation and, especially, in controlling the government. The assessment is also critical of Parliament’s effectiveness in the budget process. Discussions are not sufficiently “complex” (the word used in the report), and Parliament’s involvement in the process (in November, when the budget has to be finalized by the end of the year) is too late to effectively analyse the proposed budget.
These are all issues at the very heart of the DGTTF project: transparency and accountability issues concerning Parliament and its relations with Government and other public institutions.
The project was relevant in the context of Montenegro’s weak transparency and accountability systems, in particular with regard to Parliament and its relationship with the Government and other public institutions. The project is particularly relevant now as Montenegro approaches negotiations for EU membership (expected to begin in 2012), and Parliamentary oversight has been identified as a major weakness by the EC and the December 2010 OECD/Sigma review. Although Parliament is strongly committed to European integration, on which there is political consensus in Montenegro, the Analytical Report in the EC’s November 2010 Opinion on Montenegro’s Application for Entry into the European Union identifies several problems with Parliamentary oversight:
The project was innovative. No similar project had ever been carried out before in Montenegro. As an articulation of transparency and accountability, particularly with respect to the role of parliaments, the project could serve as a model for other pre-accession countries. The project was so innovative that it proved impossible to find any organization to carry out the project even after requests for proposals had twice been issued. The organization that finally did implement the project, NDI, is of American origin, although it had been active in Montenegro since 1999. The key stakeholders interviewed in Government and Parliament, and the academic and NGO community all agreed that no such report had ever been prepared in Montenegro. Since the report was published (but not because it was), many governancefocused NGOs have either been established or existing ones have given more attention to transparency and accountability issues, particularly in the context of the EU accession process. The NGOs met in the course of this project assessment were well aware of the report, and often used it in their own work.
a Impact assessments should be used more systematically when passing new laws
a The full array of oversight tools is not used a Administrative capacity should be improved a The State Audit Institute is not as independent as it
A particularly appealing aspect of the report to those interviewed is the very detailed articulation of what transparency and accountability means and the kinds of questions that need to be answered not only to assess transparency and accountability performance, but to identify what needs to be done to improve performance (Annex I). The report is seen as an excellent complement to the more general recommendations in the EU Opinions and the OECD/Sigma Assessments on Parliamentary oversight. The report could be a model for other countries. Although NDI’s Improved Governance Framework was designed for Montenegro, the list of questions that need to be answered are not necessarily specific to Montenegro.
should be In the main Opinion report, strengthening Parliament’s legislative and oversight role is identified as the first of seven reform priorities. The OECD/Sigma Assessment of December 2010 comments on Parliamentary effectiveness: Parliament[‘s]…effectiveness is to be questioned. The instruments available to Parliament are not used sufficiently or effectively. Much more could be done in committees if
Montenegro Project Assessment Report
Although the project was eventually catalytic, the difficulty in finding an institutional home and the project’s slow take-up following the report’s publication seems to weigh against this being judged a potentially catalytic project when the project was designed and approved in 2007. Catalytic in this context is defined by DGTTF as “having a high likelihood of receiving support for Government or other governance institutions for scaling up or following up, if the project is successful.” 2 Perhaps the catalytic impact would have been greater had the project been implemented closer to the preparations for EU accession. Montenegro only submitted its application for membership in the month the DGTTF project ended. One result of the lag between the end of the project and this assessment is that many of those interviewed for the review, especially those in senior positions, knew nothing about the report until they read it immediately prior to the meeting (at which they said they agreed it was highly relevant and consistent with what they had been doing to prepare for EU membership). When the project was carried out, so soon after the independence vote and before many were focused on EU membership, few appreciated the importance of the issues addressed by the project.
The project has had a catalytic effect some years after the project was completed, with more attention paid by Parliament to the EU membership requirements. A number of those interviewed referred to an exponential rise in concerns about transparency and accountability. Parliament became so sensitive to the need to improve legislative and oversight capacity that it hired one NDI team member, its Deputy Director for Parliamentary Programs, into the Secretary General’s Office. Many of the reforms implemented by Parliament were taken directly from the report, including:
a Calendar of activities a Law on oversight of security services (an NGO referred to this as a very important recommendation in the report)
a Professional support to party caucuses a Generally, more emphasis on oversight – all committee staff must prepare briefings on proposed legislation that are technical rather than political
a Annual reports and plans – there is now a very detailed
The project supports a related UNDP project, the Capacity Development Programme in Montenegro. Its objective is to support the Montenegrin administration to meet the challenge of European integration. The project could be used as a mechanism to scale up the impact of the DGTTF project. Once the report was published, it widened the Capacity Development Programme service portfolio to meet the demands of the Stabilization and Association Agreement ratification and implementation as well as the acquis approximation process. In the third and current phase, from 2010 onwards, the Capacity Development Programme will build the Montenegrin administration’s capacity, helping it to meet the full challenge of preparation for EU membership, including responding to requests from the EC that transparency and accountability systems be improved. However, despite the obvious linkages between the DGTTF project and the Capacity Development Programme’s objectives, the programme’s September 2009 Final Evaluation Report makes no reference to the report as a complementary activity.
Performance Report of the Parliament of Montenegro
now has a human resources development
a There is a question time every two months, in which the Prime Minister and Ministers appear before Parliament
a There are more, and more effective, Parliamentary hearings a Parliamentary
participation in the budget process in more effective, and the draft budget is brought to the Parliamentary committee earlier than in previous years
When Parliament had to respond to the EC’s Opinion and the OECD/Sigma report earlier in 2011, they consulted the plans to reform Parliament that were based on the report. It should be added that the Westminster Foundation’s technical support has also been a source of Parliamentary reforms and capacity building.
Although the evaluation even refers to “Enhancing the capacity of the Parliamentary Committees for International Cooperation and European Integration and for Constitutional Issues (July 2007 – December 2008)” as a programme activity, it does not acknowledge that the Capacity Development Programme is explicitly based any of the activities that scale up the DGTTF
The report is used by NGOs preparing briefings on transparency and accountability issues, although it cannot be said that the project led to their interest. What is perhaps surprising is that there is no reference to the report in any of the EU or OECD/ Sigma reports even though the report is very supportive of their assessments and recommendations.
This project was approved before the recommendations of the DGTTF Evaluation were implemented.
Governance Assessments Although the outputs remained the same in the Annual Report as in the Project Document, two revised output targets are referred to in the Annual Report:
project. Capacity Development Programme staff expressed the view that the project may have been implemented too early in the EU membership process and that the time may now be more appropriate to scale up the project’s scope (its focus on transparency and accountability and Parliament) to include other aspects of democratic governance.
1. The first report on “Democratic Governance Indicators: Assessing the State of Governance in the context of European Integration in Montenegro” produced
The DGTTF project is consistent with the country’s overall governance agenda rather than promotion of that agenda, at least in the year of the project’s implementation and in the following two years. The NGOs now focusing on governance issues, while respectful of the report, did not identify it as a major promotional force or a significant origin of their own interest in transparency and accountability. Similarly, it is very clear that the main driver of the Government’s interest in governance is the EU accession and the reports coming from Brussels and Paris.
2. Nationally owned governance indicators established The changes reflect the narrowing of the project’s focus. The first output was achieved. The report is highly respected, although its coverage is more limited that in the first output target. As for the second output, there is now, some years later, quite strong ownership of that report and its process and indicators in the Parliament, and particularly in the office of the Secretary General, where the former member of the NDI team now works. The president of the important Parliamentary Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget (the only president of a committee from an opposition party) has strong ownership of the indicators, because he was involved from the early stages of the DGTTF project. But it must be repeated that the principal driving force behind the improvements in transparency and accountability in Parliament and its relations with the Government and other public institutions is the fast approaching negotiations over EU accession. Ownership has come via this route.
The project is now a highly respected model for addressing legislatures’ transparency and accountability, and their relationships with the executive branch and other public organizations. However, such projects might best be implemented somewhat closer to EU membership than was the case in Montenegro, and perhaps not immediately following independence.
Efficacy This is understood to mean the effectiveness of the project, measured by the extent to which the project achieved its objectives. This project had to adjust its objectives to give it a manageable scope and to address the lack of an institutional home issue.
The outcome indicator seems inappropriate given the revisions to the project and its outputs. The focus has been on the legislative part of “government” (notwithstanding that in Montenegro “government” means the political leadership in the executive branch, often referred to elsewhere as the council of ministers). The project had little to do with the “government” leading the policy process and service delivery.
The Project Document’s outcome indicator, following the Local Project Appraisal Committee (LPAC) meeting, was:
E fficiency and transparency of Government improved in order to effective lead policy formulation, coordination and service delivery in accordance with EU requirements.
As a measure of effectiveness, it is worth exploring the extent to which this project, taken together with the drive for EU membership, has in a real sense improved transparency and accountability. At first sight, the project seems to have helped improve only the ‘administration’ of transparency and accountability in Parliament, rather than achieving a result in terms of Parliament holding the executive branch genuinely accountable or having a significant influence on legislation. The OECD/Sigma report sees Parliament as having no significant impact in that regard; the Government and the ruling party pretty well gets its own way. One outside observer told the team that “real” accountability had not improved.
The output target was:
E stablishment of appropriate system of governance indicators regarding political criteria for European Integration through facilitating cooperation of the Government and civil society and designing and piloting of nationally owned methodology.
The Annual Report, produced at the end of this one-year project, changed the outcome to:
onsolidation of efficiency, accountability and transparency C in public administration.
Montenegro Project Assessment Report However, there is evidence of some improvements in “real” accountability. The number of amendments to proposed legislation is high and rising. In 2010, some 1,562 amendments were discussed in committee meetings and 879 amendments in Parliamentary sessions, of 152 laws adopted. Some 246 parliamentary questions were asked in 2010. Thirteen consultative and two control hearings were held. Committee meetings tend to be open, with many NGOs attending them. This was not possible even two years ago. MPs are better supported by Parliamentary staff than in the past, even if not as well supported as they might like and OECD/Sigma proposes. The NGOs the team met, who prepare reports on a wide range of policy and transparency and accountability issues, expressed the belief that “real” accountability had improved in the past two years.
and have promoted the reforms suggested by the report, will surely help to sustain the project’s gains. The first implementation report for the Action Plan for the Strengthening of Legislative and Oversight Role of the Parliament of Montenegro, covering the period December 2010 to March 2011, identifies the many activities and indicators that are consistent with the report, and the substantial progress in implementing activities.
Country-led governance assessments
The project has mixed ratings in this regard. The project was not implemented expeditiously. It did not have the organization in place to carry out the activities until its tenth month, and that is not an indicator of efficiency. Further, there were no applications to implement the project even after the request for proposals had been issued twice. There should, perhaps, have been some sounding out of potentially interested organizations before the application for DGTTF funding. The 2007 DGTTF evaluation suggests that the institution responsible for the project be identified, if not a deal finalized, before the application for the funding is even made, bearing in mind that UNDP does not want to raise expectations too highly, as the project application might be rejected, resulting in loss of face all around.
The project does inform UNDP’s policy on country-led governance assessment in terms of ownership, alignment, national capacity development, and accountability.
Lessons learned and recommen dations
The reminder to others in Government and public administration about the report and DGTTF project given by this assessment is also likely to stir interest in sustaining the project’s achievements. This is particularly true for those that had not seen the report, or needed reminding about it before the meeting with the team, yet were able to compare their own reform priorities with those in the report.
National ownership was one of the project’s problems from the beginning. After two failed requests for proposals from organizations interested in implementing the project, an American based organization, now no longer in Montenegro, agreed to implement the project, with the National Council for European Integration, which first met in the project’s tenth month, providing oversight. Since the assignment was carried through in a transparent, participatory and inclusive manner, the report does reflect what was and is needed in Montenegro to improve transparency and accountability. There was never a particularly proactive communications activity following the report’s presentation. But ownership of the assessment framework is now much stronger, if quite narrow. Ownership of the assessment is limited to the former NDI team member, some Parliamentary committee chairs, administrators in Parliament, and some NGOs who use the report in their work on transparency and accountability. Most of those interviewed were not familiar with the report, although they found the report’s framework useful and consistent with activities being undertaken as part of the EU membership process. There are no plans to replicate this project for other aspects of democratic governance, although considerable attention is being given to issues of democratic governance by the Government and NGOs, because of the forthcoming negotiations on EU membership.
That said, once NDI was on board, the project was executed with considerable efficiency. The staff working on the project and the report they prepared are highly respected by everyone the team met. And the work was completed in a very short period of time. It might also be possible to excuse the lack of a firm agreement on an institutional home when the project is highly innovative, as is the case here. Some observers mentioned that NGOs shied away from the project on grounds of unfamiliarity and, possibly, also for its political sensitivity.
Sustainability The project’s gains will be sustained. Many interviewed in Parliament and the NGO community use the report as a source book. For example, one NGO said that it had used the report’s material in its own report on the new law on security and defence. That both the President of the Economic, Finance and Budget Committee and the staff member in the Office of the Secretary General to Parliament were involved in the project,
The project was not initially owned by the right kind of stakeholders. The steering committee included a wide range of stakeholders, but committees rarely provide active leadership. Without the accelerated drive for EU membership and a member of the NDI team moving to a job in Parliament, and perhaps
Governance Assessments without Parliament receiving substantial technical support from the Westminster Foundation, it is unlikely that the project would have had a significant impact. Ideally, it should have found a home in Parliament itself, or at the very least with a national NGO. The team was told that no responses to the RFPs were received for one of two reasons: either there was no national capacity to implement the project, or the project was being introduced too early in the EU membership process. It may have had stronger and more significant ownership from the start if it had been introduced a year or two later, when it would still have been innovative. Eventually, the project gained ideal national ownership in the form of the Parliament and the Finance, Economic and Budget Committee. Again, the project is now aligned with Montenegroâ€™s political priorities, but perhaps not sufficiently much aligned when the project began. It was not that the project was inconsistent with the political leadershipâ€™s aspirations at that time (even then they were thinking of EU membership), it is more because other priorities took precedence. Along with the recommendations for the EU and OECD/Sigma, the project will now have a highly significant political impact, particularly by facilitating more effective oversight. National capacity development was limited. The reportâ€™s two principal authors were not even Montenegrin. A third member of the team was Montenegrin, and the development of her capacity was crucial, as she subsequently went on to an advisory job in Parliament. The demand side of capacity development may have merited more attention. Many key players in transparency and accountability that the evaluation team met had not heard of the report until they were asked to meet the team.
The form of the Improved Governance Assessment Framework proved particularly applicable to a Parliament seeking EU accession by creating EU standards of transparency and accountability. That could serve as a guide for other countries. More detail is given on the methodology used by NDI in Annex I.
Lessons learned and recommen dations
3. It is important to include a more assertive communica-
1. This project’s experience supports two recommendations
4. This kind of assessment offers a further opportunity to
of the 2007-2008 DGTTF evaluation, which took place at about the same time as this project:
promote, sustain, and scale up governance indicators activities such as these. With negotiations to begin in 2012, and the EU outlining seven areas requiring improvement, now might be a good time to find a longer term, and truly indigenous, home for a broader range of governance indicators in Montenegro.
tions strategy associated with the preparation of such a governance assessment framework. Most officials met by the team, although they thought the report was aligned with their aspirations, had not seen the report until just prior to our meeting. Although the OECD/Sigma report identified the issues covered by the report, its own report makes no reference to it.
a) Two-year projects should be permitted, as all now are. This project was finally presented 18 months after the funding was available, although the project did not really get underway until the ninth month. This kind of delay was found to be relatively common when the DGTTF was evaluated. Also, had more time been available, the project would have been able to use all its funding.
5. The Oslo Governance Centre has a particularly important role in these kinds of DGTTF funded projects. This has been made clear by its various interventions. Two Oslo Governance Centre staff participated in the March 2008 round table, explaining the importance of nationally owned governance indicators. In December 2008, they provided helpful comments on NDI’s work, including:
b) The institution that will take responsibility for the project should be identified before the application is submitted, bearing in mind that, since the application might be rejected (before 2008, very few were), expectations should not be unreasonably raised. There were no applications from any organization to implement this project even after the request for proposals had been advertized twice. We were given various reasons for this: the capacity to carry out the project did not exist in 2008; and 2008 was too early for such a project, or too politically sensitive a time. If either reason holds weight, the project should probably have been proposed at a later date. It has proved to be a valuable project. The organization that eventually implemented the project is no longer active in Montenegro. Fortunately, a member of the NDI team was able to carry the project’s messages into her new job in Parliament, thus institutionalizing this governance indicator project.
a Need to clarify purpose of this assessment, how results will be used and by whom
a How will the assessment be made participatory in the design phase (e.g., in selecting specific indicators)?
a How will the excellent mapping produced by NDI serve to inform the selection of ‘priority areas’ in assessing and selecting specific indicators?
a How will the assessment be made participatory in the data collection phase?
communications strategy should be developed from the outset to inform the public and state actors of this assessment process, and of opportunities for public inputs throughout the process
2. The Report represents a highly effective articulation of transparency and accountability as it refers to Parliamentary oversight. That can be replicated in other countries.
(by, for example, gender, ethnicity, region, and organization) of indicators measuring implementation of legal provisions will be important
a An additional dimension on ‘budgetary commitment’ could be added to the framework’s implementation section
a Complementary information provided by a ‘budgetary commitments’ dimension could also offer a strategic channel for uptake of assessment results, through the budgeting process. The comments included reference to some useful websites. The email exchanges show that the Capacity Development Programme passed this advice to NDI. Some, but not all, of the suggestions were incorporated in the subsequent work by NDI. It is a little surprising that advice such as this should come so late in the project, in the very last month of the DGTTF funding. However, NDI continued to work on the assessment until the report was published in March 2009, and presented in June 2009. This was, of course, because the project started so late. The Oslo Governance Centre should take a proactive role from the very beginning of project in countries such as Montenegro, which have in the past had very weak transparency and accountability systems and practices, and where governance assessments are such a new topic.
6. Finally, it is important for innovative projects to be particularly participatory in their implementation. That is perhaps the most effective communications strategy for addressing issues in unfamiliar ways. The staff of key institutions learn by doing. Further, participation is not an activity achieved hastily, which is one reason why DGTTF has switched to two-year projects. In this case, the project began so late that the implementation team had to focus its attention on moving quickly to produce what became the final report rather than taking the whole process more slowly, thus being able to involve more people and institutions in the preparation of the report (although NDI did interview 62 people and 35 institutions prior to the report’s preparation).
Montenegro Project Assessment Report
Annex I: Codification of tools and instruments used The Methodology First, the team was very careful to define the key terms. The definitions, which can be found in the report, covered:
a Government and Governance a Governance (general)
o …[G]overnance… means the constitutional, legal and administrative arrangements by which governments exercise their power, as well as the related mechanisms for public accountability, rule of law, transparency and citizen participation
a Governance (internal)
o …the rules and processes by which organizations are directed and controlled…so that they achieve the purposes for which they have been established and that their activities conform to the general principles of good governance.
a Accountability – answerable and enforceable a Transparency vs. openness a Horizontal vs. vertical a Independence vs. autonomy The NDI team followed four general steps to assess transparency and accountability:
1. What does the law say? 2. What are the positive and negative aspects of these legal instruments? 3. How are legal instruments used in practice? 4. Does the use of the legal instrument support the development of a transparent and accountable environment in the state institutions?
Governance Assessments The revised assessment framework was defined by asking the following sets of questions:
1. Legal aspects of transparency and accountability
a To who are a state body and public officials within the state body accountable?
a What are legally defined decision-making processes in state bodies? a What are the requirements of public institutions to make information public? a What are the legal obligations of state bodies to respond to public organs assigned an oversight role, and to the public?
a What are the legal rights of the assigned oversight body to request information?
a What legal provisions give credibility to information provided by state bodies and public officials?
2. Implementation aspects of transparency and accountability
a In what way are institutions with oversight functions exercising an external governance function?
a Do public institutions provide information about decision-making processes and decisions made, and do they respond to requests for information?
a Is the public using prescribed legal instruments to request information? a Are legal provisions intended to bolster the credibility of information from state bodies fulfilled?
Montenegro Project Assessment Report
Annex II: List of persons interviewed Aleksandar Damjanovic, Parliament, Committee for Budget, Finance and Economy Boris Raonic, YiHR, NGO Branislav Radulovic, President of the Administrative Court Dragan Djuric, Chief Technical Advisor, Capacity Development Programme, UNDP Djordje Blazic, Faculty for State and European Studies Kristina Blokhus, Deputy RR, UNDP Lav Lajovic, Advisor in the Ministry of Finance Ljiljana Radonjic, General Secretariat of the Government Natasa Komnenic, ex-NDI, now with Parliament Olivera Dimic, Chief Technical Advisor, Capacity Development Programme, UNDP Sanja Bojanic, Democratic Governance Team Leader, UNDP Sanja Elezovic, Open Society Institute Slobodan Lekovic, Commission for Determining Conflict of Interest Srdjan Milic, Former president of the National Council for European Integration Stevo Muk, Alternativa Zarko Sturanovic, General Secretariat of the Government
Annex III: Bibliography Capacity Development Programme (2008): Assessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in the Context of European Integration in Montenegro, January 2008 CIA: The World Factbook, Montenegro. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/ the-world-factbook/geos/mj.html, last access: 1 July 2011 European Commission (2010): Commission Opinion on Montenegro’s Application for Membership of the EU, November 2010 NDI (2009): Transparency and Accountability in the Montenegrin Governance System, February 2009 Parliament of Montenegro (2011): Action Plan for the Implementation of the Action Plan for Strengthening of Legislative and Oversight Role of the Parliament of Montenegro, March 2011 Parliament of Montenegro (2010): Performance Report of the Parliament of Montenegro SIGMA (2010): Montenegro Assessment 2010 UNDP: Annual Progress Report for Assessing and Monitoring the State of Governance in the Context of European Integration in Montenegro, undated UNDP (2009): Impact Evaluation of the Capacity Development Programme in Montenegro, September 2009 UNDP (2011): Outcome Evaluation of the Democratic Governance Cluster Within The UNDP CO Montenegro Country Programme, 2007 – 2011 World Bank, Montenegro Country website. http://go.worldbank.org/EIYVE32H50, last access: 1 July 2011
United Nations Development Programme
Montenegro Governance Assessments
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The DGTTF Lessons Learned Series