28 March 2014
Albanian officials working on the country’s Action Plan for open government should provide a public consultation timeline ahead of a May 7 deadline to submit a draft of the plan to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), according to a set of recommendations drafted and presented at a PASOS project conference held in Tirana March 28.
The recommendation was one of 18 action items that were drafted by three civil society working groups at “Challenges and Opportunities for Open Government.” The event was organized by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) and the Albanian Ministry of Innovation and Public Administration, and offered civil society consultation on the Open Government Initiative to Albanian governmental and private entities.
The conference was held as part of “Advocacy for Open Government,” an EU-funded PASOS project to encourage governments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to become more transparent.
The recommendations issued by the working groups also call on the government of Albania to:
- Create an online database of all cases of government corruption.
- Make transparent contracts between the government and corporations that are harvesting the country’s natural resources.
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- Make public the details of families and organizations that are profiting from relationships with the government.
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- Create a database detailing case of air, water, and noise pollution, with information about the consequences of such polluting activities.
The recommendations drew praise from Alexander A. Arvizu, U.S. Ambassador to Albania, who delivered a speech at the conference
“I was very impressed with the short presentations of the working groups,” Arvizu told the gathering. “What struck me was some common themes in all of them, which was active citizen participation, that is not theoretical, but very practical. I think that’s very important.
“I was also encouraged to hear references to certain timelines and deadlines. Whether it’s a government action plan or a timetable for territorial reform, I think it’s just human nature we need deadlines or else things will drag on forever. It’s good to have deadlines. It forces people to focus, to concentrate, to put their best efforts forward, so that was encouraging to hear.
Arvizu was joined on a panel by UN Resident Coordinator Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun and François Begeot, Senior Representative of the EU Delegation to Albania.
The conference also featured a panel discussion on open government featuring representatives from the PASOS project partners working on “Advocacy for Open Government.” The PASOS members are: the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (Albania), Analitika Center for Social Research (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Riinvest Institute for Development Research (Kosovo), Center for Research and Policy Making(Macedonia), Center for Democracy and Human Rights (Montenegro), The Monitoring Center CEMI(Montenegro), and Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (Serbia).
PASOS representatives on the panel:
- Irina Rizmal — Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies / Serbia
- Marija Vuksanovic — Center for Democracy and Human Rights / Montenegro
- Ana Selic — The Monitoring Center CEMI / Montenegro
- Mirna Jusic — Analitika — Center for Social Research / Bosnia — Herzegovina
- Qendresa Sulejmani — Center for Research and Policy Making, Macedonia
- Erisa Lame — Institute for Democracy and Mediation / Albania
Also on the panel:
- Fidan Kalaja — FOL Movement / Kosovo
- Moderator: Linda Austere, PROVIDUS / Latvia