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Copy of CDT 2017

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We present you here our 2017 Annual Report.

With this report we want to demonstrate the achievements of our work, sublimate our activities and actions, but also respect and continually improve the principles of transparency of work of NGOs.

 We want to continue to be among the most transparent think thanks and to repeat the success of 2015 and 2016.

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2017 was a year of significant development of our research center.

We have published over 400 pages of new research and recommendations for decision-makers in the field of elections, good governance of institutions, development of judiciary, security issues...

We have quantified, for the first time, how Montenegro meets the political criteria for EU accession.

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We have presented our conclusions on a large number of public events attended by relevant decision-makers, experts, representatives of the international community, media...

Part of these conclusions has become part of the official documents of public institutions.

In the following presentation, our activities in 2017 are presented in detail.

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CDT was dealing with elections in 2017 as well.

The focus was not on observation but on turning the public's attention to the necessary improvement of the election process by changing electoral legislation.

We have offered specific proposals for making changes in all significant segments of the election process

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The existing model of election administration is ineffective and outdated.

The results of work of the State Election Commission are complete politicization, non-transparency, inefficiency, inactivity, which later caused citizens' mistrust in the election process.

We gave a proposal for changing this model  Depoliticized election administration - a prerequisite of having trust in elections.

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Accuracy of the electoral register is one of the basic assumptions of fair elections.
The process of controlling the electoral register must be done in a more transparent and quality manner.
In the document Recommendations for Improvement of Quality and Control of the Electoral Register we have objectified two extreme positions, i.e. that it is “the best electoral register in Europe” or that it has “hundreds of thousands of fictitious voters - phantom voters with false identity cards”.    

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The quality of work of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption (APC) is one of the “critical points” of the election process in Montenegro.

Instead of performing superficial control of political party financing and the abuse of state resources in the electoral process the APC must begin with substantive and actual checks.

Our recommendations are in the document named Recommendations for Improvement of Work of the APC.

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By promoting our proposals and by organizing public debates, we have tried to draw the public’s attention to the fact that the election topics were neglected after the election process was completed.

We have tried to explain to the public that there is little time for making changes to electoral legislation, as it shall not be done in the election year.

Unfortunately, political interests were again stronger than the need for necessary changes.

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Through the project Strengthening Institutional, Political and Electoral Integrity in Montenegro, we have been monitoring application of the provisions of electoral laws and the work of the Agency for Prevention of Corruption.
 
The project was realized with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Belgrade.  

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With the Project of Monitoring of the Presidential Elections at the end of 2017, we started preparations for the civic monitoring of the 2018 presidential elections as well as monitoring of all important aspects of the election process taking place in that election year.

The project was realized with the financial support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

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Through the Good Governance program, we have been dealing with openness of institutions.

Through the Regional Index of Openness we measured these phenomena for the first time and compared them with partners from the region in six countries.

We have also dealt with important aspects of functioning of the judiciarycourts and prosecutors' offices.  

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Openness of executive power in Montenegro is in the first place in the region.
However, there are great differences when it comes to openness of the government, ministries and other state administration bodies in our country. Openness is the question of personal position of the institution's manager rather than the clear policy of the country. Our observations and recommendations are explained in detail in the document named Openness of the executive authorities in the region and in Montenegro.  

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We also analyzed openness of parliaments. The Parliament of Montenegro is the most open in the region but also lacking a strategic approach to planning openness.

There is also a lack of the Law on Parliament which would regulate, in one place, all important issues with respect to functioning of this institution. Our recommendations were published in the document Parliamentary Openness 2017.

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Openness of local self-government in Montenegro and in the countries of the region is low.
We have noted problems in many different fields: from implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information, through non-transparent spending of money, to the use of outdated ways of communicating with citizens.
More information can be found in the document named Analysis of Openness of Local Self-Governments in the region and in Montenegro 2017.

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We have also been dealing with openness of the judiciary in Montenegro and in the region. Montenegrin courts and prosecutor’s offices have the best regional outcome, but there is still much work to be done.
Information must be published more proactively, ethical codes must be respected more strictly, and work reports of judicial institutions need to be more comprehensible and developed in a more quality manner.

More information can be found in the document named Openness of Judiciary in the region and in Montenegro 2017.

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The results of the research on openness of the institutions have been summarized in the Roadmap on Good Governance for State Institutions in Montenegro.

 This is a “signpost” to the institutions on what they need to change in order to enhance their openness.

Our recommendations were promoted on a number of public debates and conferences, and in direct communication with the responsible institutions we worked to improve the state of affairs.

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In our opinion, judgments in Montenegro are not sufficiently reasoned.

For this reason, we have prepared the publication named Right to a reasoned judgement in which we have shown that the quality of judicial work can be evaluated according to a number of standards which every judge must take into account when deciding and formulating any judgment.  

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We discussed the issue of functioning of the courts with citizens and law students as well.

We have prepared an information portal infosud.me in order to bring the public closer to important aspects of court functioning.

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In cooperation with our colleagues from the region, we prepared the document ”Role of Special State Prosecutor’s Offices in the Fight against Corruption and Organized Crime: Montenegro, Serbia and Croatia”.

Our key goal is to initiate a more intensive dialogue on this topic and then launch concrete actions to help our societies fight corruption and organized crime more efficiently.

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Through the project Initiative for Open Judiciary, which was financially supported by the European Union, we have been monitoring transparency of the judiciary and the right to a reasoned judgement.

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Through the project Using New Media to Promote Government Transparency we tried to establish the level of transparency of the Montenegrin institutions, and we implemented this monitoring with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

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Through project Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in South East Europe - ACTION SEE in cooperation with ACTION SEE partners we have established transparency of all branches of government in Montenegro and the Western Balkan countries. This initiative was financially supported by the EU.

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Through cooperation with our partners from the region and with financial support of the European Fund for the Balkans, we implemented the project named Role of Special State Prosecutor's Offices in the Fight against Corruption and Organized Crime: Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia.

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Our work in the program area Integrations was marked by membership of Montenegro to NATO.

In the field of EU integrations, we have been measuring the fulfillment of political criteria for membership.

Through the work of the NATO Info-Center, we have been dealing with the problem of violent extremism.

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Conclusions of the analysis Assessment of Montenegro's progress in meeting the political criteria in EU negotiations  suggests that we have to be much more determined and quicker in fulfilling our obligations in EU negotiations.

 With the help of experts in various fields we have quantified progress in meeting the political criteria.

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Progress in the field of judiciary was rated at an average score of 2.75. Fight against corruption has a rating of 2.58.

Creation of independent institutions and real and measurable results of this fight are yet to follow.

The situation in the media is bad and urgently needs to be corrected, which is also confirmed by the rating 2.24. Public administration reform is rated at 2.19.

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Montenegro has not yet achieved significant results in the field of organized crime, and progress has been estimated at 2.39.

Although human rights in Montenegro are generally respected (2.76), protection and promotion system should be more effective.

Our conclusions have been promoted on a number of public events, and we have been trying to prompt state institutions to make a decisive move.

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The NATO Info-Center finished the first part of its mission when Montenegro became a member of this alliance.

We continued with debates about all aspects of NATO membership as well as the important effects of this membership. This was primarily related to the way in which a decision on NATO membership was made.

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In the document How to Improve Implementation of the Violent Extremism Strategy we have analyzed how the country is countering extremism.

 We have determined that out of 27 state bodies that have obligations in terms of its realization only a few of them have realized through their regular work some of the important activities.  

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Montenegro needs a national platform for countering violent extremism, which would bring together experts from the public, private, non-governmental, scientific and civil sectors.

A significant part of our recommendations has been adopted and we expect concrete progress in this field in the coming year.

The views of CDT, as well as the views of experts on this important topic, have been presented in the documentary film named The Road of No Return? 


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In cooperation with our partners, we also researched the views of youth on extremism.

Young people from the Western Balkans show a negative attitude towards immigrants, although most of them have never been in contact with an immigrant.

From several public events we sent a strong message that the state and the society have to work much more on development of democratic values of young people.

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Through the project "Reviewing Montenegrin EU Accession Progress - How far did we get?" funded by the Balkans Trust for Democracy (BTD) we have analyzed how Montenegro fulfills the political criteria on its road to the EU.

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Activities of the Info-Center were funded by the US Embassy  through the project NATO Info Center – towards the full membership, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division through the project Info-Center for Euro-Atlantic Integrations and the British Embassy through the project Info-Center for Euro-Atlantic Integrations. The British Embassy also funded the project named Public Opinion on the Armed Forces of Montenegro.

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The focus of our activities in this area was a major campaign in which we have promoted the European values created in the last 100 years.

 We continued to work on improving the status and conditions of the work of NGOs in Montenegro.

We have advocated for a more effective implementation of the policies of the country dealing with involvement of the RE population in the Montenegrin society.

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We examined the impacts of important events that took place in Europe in 1917 on current events and flows.

In cooperation with our partners, we have published essays on history, culture and film. We organized public events, debates, exchanges of opinions.

 We spread the spirit of Europe, talked about its peculiarities and problems and wondered how much we ourselves accepted European values.  

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We have analyzed how the 1917 mistakes were corrected in 1945, and how the fear of not repeating fascism in Europe led to the creation of a more just society.

How the continent that sent "unwanted" into the camps came to the concept of human rights. Or how, as Krleža would say, "the greatest European truths are spoken below gallows, in scaffolds, in dungeons, and Golgotha, and these crucified and crooked truths are becoming European flags and they are flying for centuries."

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We talked about the revolutions ... Successful and unsuccessful ... About anti-fascism as the fundamental value of Europe.

We tested the achievements of Montenegro in accepting European ways of thinking and behavior ... In politics, culture, lifestyle, using resources in everything that is important to human life.

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As in previous years, through the development of the Civil Society Organizations Sustainability Index for Montenegro  we analyzed the conditions in which these organizations work.

The overall sustainability of CSOs has not changed, albeit slight progress has been recorded in the area of service provision and infrastructure supporting this sector.

In cooperation with our colleagues, we gave our overview of the proposal to the new Law on NGOs.

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We have become part of a team that will deal with the problems of Roma and Egyptians in Montenegro.

We have analyzed the effectiveness of state policies that have been implemented in the past in order to integrate them, focusing on the transparency of budget allocations at local and national level.

We have presented this in the analysis Financing projects for empowering the RE population from state and municipal budgets.

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The project Civil Society Organizations Sustainability Index has enabled us to continuously monitor all aspects of the work of NGOs in Montenegro. The project was supported by USAID.

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Through the project Together for the inclusion of Roma and Egyptians trough transparent and sustainable public policies  we conducted a research on financing non-governmental Roma NGOs from public funds as well as on financing projects aimed at improving the position of Roma and Egyptians in Montenegro. The project was supported by the Open Society Fund.

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According to the Arhimed data, CDT was mentioned 587 times in the media during 2017.

We thank all the media houses for following our press conferences and numerous public events and for being a reliable partner in creating the ambience of positive changes in the Montenegrin society.             

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In order to control the financial operations of CDT, audit of financial statements for 2017 was carried out.

The audit was carried out by the CH BDM Ltd Podgorica, Member Crowe Horwath International.

In the opinion of the authorized auditor, the financial statements of CDT present fairly and objectively, in all material respects, the financial position of the organization, as well as the results of operations and cash flows as of 31 December 2017 in accordance with accounting rules and standards.

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We thank all those who have contributed by cooperating with CDT to increasing the quality of our work.  

We hope that we will contribute, together and in the coming years, to democratic changes in Montenegro.

CDT team

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