The legal framework affecting CSOs involvement in policy and decision-making did not change in 2019. The Law 146/2014 on Notification and Public Consultation put forward requirements for consultation on draft laws and policies. The Law provides reasonable time to be able to get acquainted with the documents and form an opinion. Also, it obliges public authorities to send written feedback on the received proposals with explanations why certain of them have not been accepted.
Based on the Decision No. 61/2018, dated 05.04.2018 “On the approval of the Code of Conduct for the Members of Parliament of the Parliament of Albania”, an electronic lobbyist register is created. According to article 22, MPs record every meeting with outside parties as a measure to control any conflict of interest over lobbying efforts from interest groups. With these regards, every CSO that wants to exercise the right to participate and voice their opinions can submit their application to the Parliament and become a member of the lobbyist lists. According to the available information, 54 members from CSOs are enlisted in this register. The regulation in place lacks a clear definition on lobbyism and how this activity is regulated.
About half of the surveyed CSOs (59%) have been involved in consultations for the preparation of draft laws and policies, while 37% of the surveyed CSOs stated that they did not participate at any process, as shown in the Graph. 11. From the responses from the surveyed CSOs it is noticed that most of them have participated in consultations conducted at local level by the Local Self – Government Units, including participation of CSOs in consultations processes on fiscal packages and annual local budgeting, consultations on social services at local level, strategy of youths at local level, etc.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
Asked on the reasons for not participating in public consultations, the surveyed CSOs mention that it is due to: lack of trust that the consultations and inputs provided by CSOs will be seriously taken into consideration by public institutions; lack of notification and information on the public consultations; limited time to give feedback; the consultations areas are not related with the CSO areas of operation; etc.
Asked to assess some aspects to CSOs participation in consultation processes, it is noticed a positive evaluation by CSOs on the capacities of civil servants to involve CSOs in consultations, and their abilities to facilitate their engagement in consultation processes. Respectively, 35% of the surveyed CSOs agree that civil servants have the necessity capacities to involve CSOs in the consultation process, and 40% of CSOS agree that the civil servants facilitate effective engagement of CSOs in consultation processes. Also, positively is evaluated the time given to prepare and submit comments, with 46% of surveyed CSOs agreeing that CSOs do have sufficient time. On the other hand, there is an almost equal division among CSOs agreeing that CSOs do have access to adequate information before the consultation process (36% of surveyed CSOs), with those that disagree or strongly disagree with this statement (31% disagree and 7% strongly disagree).
Regarding the output of the consultation processes, almost half of the surveyed CSOs (45%) expressed that some of their suggestions and recommendations provided have been considered by public authorities organizing the consultation process.