Most important mechanism of collaboration between civil society and public institutions is the Council for cooperation between state bodies and NGOs, formed in 2018. Its main task is to follow cooperation between the government and CSOs, especially in terms of Strategy on improving enabling environment for the work of CSOs in Montenegro 2018-2020, foster cooperation and resolves issues and problems that occur in it. With formation of this Council, Council for development of CSOs that existed since 2014 but whose work was not effective and did not had major effects on the state of civil society or its cooperation with institutions, stopped existing.
Besides the Decree On the Election of Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations into the Working Bodies of the State Administration Bodies, which regulates participation of CSOs in public consultations and working bodies, there is no official act that states CSOs must participate in drafting annual program or similar documents. However, Ministries publish calls for CSOs to participate in drafting sector analysis for purposes of defining key areas for funding projects.
The Council does not have budget, as members do not receive any fees. Number of members is fixed – 12 members and a president who is the Minister of Public Administration. Six members are representatives of CSOs with significant experience in the sector. Mandate of members and president is three years. Total of four meetings were held during 2019, as well as one e-consultations. Although meetings are open for the public, so far, there was no presence of other parties at the meetings.
Councils for cooperation exist on local level. All municipalities have in their acts obligation of at least one annual meeting between mayors and presidents of local parliaments with representatives of local CSOs, but in most cases this doesn’t happen in practice66.7% of organizations that participated in the online survey reported some kind of cooperation with institutions. Out of these organizations, 25.8% cooperated once, 54.8% two to five times and 19.4% more than five times. The cooperation was mostly based on receiving funds for projects, or participation at public consultations, working groups, policy making, etc.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
The organizations that participated in online questionnaire reported the following: 50% of them said they were not familiar with the work of the Council for cooperation between state bodies and NGOs, 29.2% answered they are familiar, while 20.8% said they are not familiar with the existence of this body. When asked to evaluate the work of the Council with a score from 1 to 5 (where 1 is the lowest score), participants gave average score of 2.62. More precisely, 14.6% gave score 1; 16.7% score 2; 54.2% score 3; 12.5% score 4 and 2.1% score 5.