miM na konsultacijama GI-TOC

m!M on consultations with civil society organizations from Montenegro       

The NGO Mladiinfo Montenegro attended consultations with civil society organizations from Montenegro, where the results of the research “Civil Society against Organized Crime and Corruption”, organized by the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC), were presented on December 19 in Podgorica.

Participants agreed that there is a great deal of division between civil society organizations. However, the division of civil society in Montenegro for individual organizations is not a problem at all, but it is important that there is a pluralism of opinions, approaches and attitudes towards social problems. It is not good for the public interest to have the unanimity of civil society.

Civil society organizations are equally critical of both the government and the opposition.

The influence of civil society organizations is significant and very often only a meaningful proposal or solution is heard from civil society.

The problems of civil society and the differences between civil society organizations are a consequence of the market situation, which is often ruthless, so organizations are fighting for funds.

One of the problems is that large donors have withdrawn calls for institutional development of organizations. That is why organizations are forced to chase calls for grants whose amounts are small and do not fully cover the salary of even one employee. The consequence is that employees perform several different jobs, which affects the quality of work.

At the meeting, they also said that solidarity between civil society organizations has increased recently, but it is still insufficient. Thematically similar organizations are more in solidarity. An example of women’s organizations was cited.

It happens that the activities of different organizations coincide in form and theme. Moreover, some organizations change the statute at the last minute in order to apply for an open competition, although they have not previously carried out activities in a particular area.

Another problem is financial sustainability. This is a problem even for larger civil society organizations because rarely does anyone have a covered budget for more than six months. In such circumstances, it is difficult to attract young people to work for civil society organizations. They also said that the role of civil society is not appreciated in society. Civil society organizations are partly responsible for such an image, as well as the political parties that have created the image in the public that individuals from non-governmental organizations are the richest in the country.

The financing of civil society organizations from the national budget is also disputable, especially from the point of view of the design of the invitation, the manner of selection and the expertise of the evaluators in the commission for allocating funds.

The conclusions of the meeting are that civil society should come together and influence changes in the law on free access to information.

Networking and advocacy of civil society is also needed for the Law on Prevention of Corruption, especially regarding the protection of whistleblowers and the competencies of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption.

Groups, coalitions and networks of civil society organizations can function even if funding ceases, especially if there is value and thematic consensus among members.

It is necessary to find a platform where organizations by thematic interests will be informed about what other related organizations are doing.

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