Grants for implementation of six-month projects have been awarded to 18 civil society organizations from six countries: Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will address urgent local and national issues in the upcoming period in order to advance good governance and the rule of law.
These grants are dedicated to local civil society organizations, and have been awarded within the ACTION SEE – Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in SEE project, which is implemented by Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), Metamorphosis Foundation from Macedonia, Westminster Foundation for Democracy from Great Britain, CRTA – Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability from Serbia, Citizens Association Why not? from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Open Data Kosovo – ODK and Levizja Mjaft! from Albania, with financial support of the European Union.
Awardees from Serbia are:
Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute – “RERI” is nongovernmental and non-profit organization, founded with the aim to achieve objectives related to promotion and improvement of rights to healthy and preserved environment, sustainable management of natural and renewable energy resources. RERI uses law, legal actions and arguments as tools for achieving its objectives and promotes the access to justice in the field of environmental protection, as a basic human right. RERI unites lawyers, legal experts, activist and experts in the field of environmental and energy policy, as people who believe that the rule of law and accountable public government is a precondition for protection and preservation of environment.
Your Right – Increasing transparency, accountability and public participation in significant infrastructural and environmental projects and plans
Objective of the project is to contribute to the rule of law and application of good governance principles in Serbia through promotion of available legal instruments which guarantee rights to access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.
Why? Good governance and the rule of law are essential preconditions for democratic development and for enjoyment of the rights to health and preserved environment. Also, civil society organizations, local activists and even experts community are not well educated and skilled to utilize available legal instruments to protect the law and enable exercising of democratic rights, particularly right to good governance.
How? Renewables and Environmental Regulatory Institute aims to: 1. Increase transparency and accountability of public authorities related to planning and implementation of significant infrastructural and environmental projects on local level; 2. Expose competent authorities and responsible public officials to legal and social responsibility in cases where environment and public interests are jeopardized by non-transparent and non-inclusive planning and construction processes; 3. Enable civil society to utilize legal tools and remedies to challenge corruption and breaching of good governance principles.
Target groups? Civil society organizations; local activists and human rights defenders; experts and professional associations in the field of environment, architecture, urban planning, cultural heritage.
Legal assessment and monitoring of significant infrastructural plans, projects and activities with potential adverse environmental effects and potential corruption risks;
Launching administrative and court proceedings related to the cases where breaching of applicable laws and procedures are justified;
Providing legal support to civil society and local activists.
The project is being realized from 17 June until 17 November 2019 supported by the Foundation for Internet and Society METAMORPHOSIS within the project “ACTION SEE – Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in SEE Project” funded by European Union.
Center for investigative journalism Krusevac CINK is the non‐profit NGO founded by professional journalists and media workers, but open for all people sharing the same vision of local community. CINK founded the first officially registered and privately owned Internet media in Rasina district. There are no employees ‐ the organization has 12 members and some 20 volunteers. CINK’s objectives lie in the field of information, media, investigative journalism, creating multimedia content, the use of new media, culture, education, promotion of democracy and civil society, youth support and assistance to vulnerable groups, to achieve the objectives for the development of harmonized community and individuals. Main areas of operating are: improvement of information on all social levels and areas, with special emphasis on gender equality, youth engagement, protection and promotion 6 of rights of national minorities, persons with disabilities, displaced persons; raising public awareness and understanding of current issues through the collection and distribution of information, investigative and analytical journalism, democratic development of media.
People`s Parliament Leskovac – Organization has more than 15 years of experience in public sector reform, good governance promotion, human rights protection, providing free legal aid, etc. We’ve run many successful public advocacy initiatives which resulted in systemic changes in policies of public administration and the state. These projects were largely but not exclusively organized in the region of South Serbia as that is the region where our headquarters are and where vast majority of our staff and activists reside. Besides these projects, we often worked, and are still working, outside the framework of formally funded projects, and do so when civic rights are endangered and when reaction to a specific local issue needs to be faster, not allowing for organization of regular fundraising procedures.
Since 1999 People’s Parliament has influenced national legislation, national and local policies, practices of public officials and state institutions, helped the democratic changes back in 2000, provided thousands of citizens with easier access to their rights, provided non-formal education to thousands of young people, helped the development of CSO sector in southern Serbia and supported strengthening of independent regulatory bodies. As the main barer of activities organized by Coalition for free access to information we played the crucial role in drafting and adoption of Law on modification of Law on free access to information of public importance from 2009, as well as drafting and adoption of the Law on data secrecy and the Law on personal data protection. For the purpose of the adoption of the first two laws during the end of 2007 we organized two of just few people’s initiatives ever to be organized in Serbia, collecting signature from more than 72 000 citizens of the country who supported adoption of the mentioned laws and submitting those signature to the National assembly of the Republic of Serbia.
When recent years are in question, we consider one of our greater successes to be able to help more than 3000 citizens of Serbia to more effectively deal with maladministration they personally faced. We provided them with useful and quality free legal aid and advice (~10% of cases are from the labour law area) . Also, we were able to influence, in connection with different basically human rights and good governance issues, several national policies such as Law on free legal aid, Law on inspection services, Law on general administrative procedure, Law on financial support to families with children, Law on social services; policies of national level institutions such as Tax revenue service, Republic geodetic authority, Ministry of health, National health insurance fund, Person and disability insurance fund, Constitutional court, Ministry of justice, etc. – policies that previously violated human rights of citizens of the Republic of Serbia. On local level, meaning not only in Leskovac but in many different out of more than 180 cities/towns in Serbia we were able to influence policies and sub-legislation ranging from personal data protection to social protection of the youngsters. In consumer protection area, we are so far the only consumer protection organization from Serbia who run and successfully completed running 2 collective rights consumer protection initiatives with Ministry of trade. Here we influenced more than a million of consumers in Serbia. In youth work we influenced latest National youth strategy and was actually part of the working groups, besides educating and helping hundreds of young people from Serbia and abroad to access EU funds for young people, volunteer, attend non-formal education events, employ and self-employ, etc.
Zaštita potrošača (Consumer protection) has been established by the team that produced TV a weekly TV show Potrošački savetnik (Consumer Adviser) for the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS) from 2011 till 2016.
TV show was financed by the EU from January 2014 till June 2015 (through different legal entity – Mosebo doo)
Organisation became active in mid-2016 – after the team stopped producing TV show for the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation.
The Children’s Center assoclation in Zaiecar was founded in lanuary 2013, in order to promote Zajecar as a city of cu true and equal opportunities for a the children, no matter the differences. The Children’s Center ls a member of the Nerwork of Organization for Children of Serbia – MODS. At the local level we are slgnatories of the Protocol on the Prevention of children and Women Violence ard Protocols in the proiects School Without Vlolence. Our representatives took part in makings the socla strategy against poverty at the level of Municipality of Zajecar. The Chlldren’s Center has over 150 members aged 3 to 19, who attend various workshops. Throughout the year, regular actlvities of Chlldren’s Center are humanitarial work and actlvities, in which the aid (firewood, food, medicine,c othes) ls given to the most vulnerable groups. With a group of high school volunteers, several proiects on gender equality were realized as well as theater performances about the problems of a soclety in transition.
“Učitelj neznalica i njegovi komiteti” (Ignorant Schoolmaster and his Committees) is a CSO platform of self-education and a place of continuous and democratic social debate in which the workers, war veterans, intellectuals and activists participate equally. NGO Ignorant Schoolmaster was founded 17 October 2012. Through the expansion of the public debate on the problems and politics of worker today, Ignorant Schoolmaster has established strong cooperation with groups of workers and / or small shareholders from several companies from Belgrade and Zrenjanin. By the end of 2013 we gradually started to deal not only with labour rights, but also with other socio economic issues which arise from impoverishment of the working class (forced evictions etc.). Legal Aid project lasts to date, currently supported by the Olof Palme International Centre since 2017 (in 2015 and 2016 previous the project was supported by the Open Society Foundation and the Embassy of Norway).