PERFORMANCE REPORT HIGHLIGHTS: MONTENEGRO FY 2009 Foreign Assistance Goals
The overriding goal of the U.S. Mission to Montenegro is to assist the host country in transitioning to a prosperous, market-based democracy fully embedded in Euro-Atlantic institutions, including NATO and the European Union (EU). The United States assists these efforts by helping Montenegro ensure stability through broad-based prosperity, building an effective security partnership, strengthening the rule of law, and reinforcing democratic institutions. Specifically, in support of Montenegro’s efforts to become a NATO member, the USG is working to help the country enhance its border controls, institutionalize more effective law enforcement practices, and increase its military capabilities. In addition, a top USG priority is strengthening the rule of law and building Montenegro’s capacity for combating corruption, thereby increasing public confidence in governance. USG assistance also seeks to enhance the legislative, oversight, and representative functions of Parliament while simultaneously strengthening the role of civil society to promote reforms necessary for EU accession. Economic reform will also continue to play an important role in achieving U.S. goals for Montenegro. Job creation and economic revitalization, particularly in the impoverished and ethnically diverse north, are key elements to maintaining harmony among ethnic communities and sustaining Montenegro’s stabilizing influence in the region.Total FY 2009 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $8.50 million*
(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2009, not including centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries.) Highlights of FY 2009 Performance by Area of FocusPeace and Security
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
Governing Justly and Democratically
- Enhanced Montenegro’s strategic trade control system through workshops on brokering controls, end-use/end-user checks and advanced licensing concepts, and installation of the Tracker automated licensing system.
- Bolstered Montenegro’s border control capabilities by providing Customs and Border Police courses on seaport interdiction, passenger surveillance, illicit trafficking in radioactive and chemical materials, patrol boat operations and logistics support, and inspection/detection equipment use. Some inspection/detection equipment also was provided.
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Improved the Montenegro Parliament’s capacity to organize and conduct oversight activities. For instance, in 2009 there were three Prime Minister’s Hours and Member of Parliament (MP) Question Periods. During these sessions, MPs raised topics relating to the budgetary implications of the global financial crisis on the Government of Montenegro (GOM) and the GOM’s plan for responding to the EU accession questionnaire. In addition, 29 hearings on draft legislation, ambassadorial nominations, government expenditures, and various inquiries on general oversight of the executive branch were held before nine parliamentary committees. In addition, the diversity of participants who testified before parliamentary committees at this year’s hearings was greater than at last year’s, signaling an increased level of appreciation for the importance of hearings to the work of the Parliament. Participants included representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities, governmental bodies, the Parliament’s Secretary General, and the Supreme Audit Institution. Also, for the first time in its history, the Parliament’s Committee for International Relations and EU Integration fulfilled its constitutional obligation of holding hearings on candidates for diplomatic positions abroad.
- Strengthened Parliament’s public relations capacity, as demonstrated by the publication of its first-ever annual report for 2006 and 2007, which included information on the Parliament’s composition, legislative and control activities, diplomatic activities, public outreach, and financial management, as well as a list of MPs and of laws passed during 2006 and 2007. In addition, its public relations department published informational brochures, redesigned the Parliament’s website, and created a legislative tracking system.
- Supported the implementation of Montenegro’s new code of criminal procedure. The enactment of this law will allow for the training of prosecutors and police in the new procedures, and will enable an interagency task force to set up and operate under prosecutorial guidance. In preparation for the new law’s new initiatives, training and seminars were developed and delivered in order to address the relatively novel procedure of plea bargaining, special surveillance measures, victim/witness protection, and protection for “whistleblowers.” The new Code of Criminal Procedure sets the legislative and normative framework for more efficient criminal procedure and human rights protection.
- Resulted in significant progress in enhancing the role of parliamentary committees in analyzing legislation, researching legislative issues, and encouraging the participation of citizens, experts, and NGOs in committee hearings and other parliamentary fora. Nine different committees conducted public hearings in order to monitor the government’s implementation of laws.
- Strengthened MP and party relations with constituents, including through the opening of a constituency office outside the capital. With U.S. support, updates to the constituency relations office database software for Montenegrin political parties were completed. The database offers an easy-to-operate casework tracking system that categorizes cases by type and municipality. Assistance was also provided for the two largest opposition parties to open constituency offices in three municipalities. In addition, the parties utilized public opinion research conducted by USG partners to develop policy positions reflecting citizens’ interests. The parties then communicated those positions to the public through press interviews, speeches, and interventions in Parliament.
- Contributed to the establishment of Regional Anti-Corruption Centers (RACs) by Montenegro’s leading anti-corruption NGO, the Network for the Affirmation of the NGO Sector (MANS). Since their establishment, the RACs have filed a total of 2,106 Freedom of Information requests on behalf of citizens, 77 legal cases and complaints at courts, and 198 cases at non-court or pre-court arbitration bodies. Additionally, the RACs have sent 209 complaints to the Conflict of Interest Commission and registered 341 corruption related calls to the USG- sponsored MANS hotline by citizens, totaling an average of 28 calls per month, or a 17% increase from 2008.
- Enabled the USG-assisted coalition of anti-corruption NGOs to expand its “Clean Hands in Politics” Program to include monitoring the adoption and implementation of local anti-corruption action plans, building on the coalition’s support for citizens’ anti-corruption initiatives. The coalition also widened the scope of the citizens’ initiatives beyond corruption into themes of general government accountability for the delivery of public services in rural municipalities. It established monitoring councils in each of the five targeted municipalities to shadow the official councils set up by the local governments to monitor the local anti-corruption plans.
- Supported an anti-corruption awards program for journalists run by the Montenegro Media Institute (MMI). MMI solicited, collected and judged entries from local media outlets according to a published list of entry criteria. MMI awarded three cash prizes to the media outlets that produced the best stories about corruption and one annual prize to the overall winner for an investigative story on the misuse of severance pay by the boards of directors in state companies. As a result of the story’s publication, improperly disbursed funds were returned to the companies.
In FY 2009, USG assistance:
- Supported strategy meetings with 13 municipal leaders in under-developed northern Montenegro to determine priorities and identify opportunities for joint collaboration. USG technical assistance helped northern micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises and NGOs understand market opportunities, improve marketing and sales skills, and embark on new product development.
- Supported market analysis and research to commence negotiations to establish four physical or virtual business centers. These will include the Hospitality Education Center (Plevlja), the Business Development Center (Berane), the Center for Non-Timber Forest Products (Rozaje), and the Marketing Alliance (Kolasin). Through this network of locally driven business centers, the USG will support and foster product development, branding, local collaboration and the creation of market linkages.