The conference “e-Democracy – Citizens, Public Policy-Makers” was held today within the Open Government Partnership Week “Global Call to Action – Government Serving Citizens”, organized by the Ministry of Public Administration in cooperation with UNDP.

“It is my pleasure to open the Open Government Partnership Week, which is organized for the first time in Montenegro under the motto “Global Call to Action – Government Serving Citizens” and a conference whose title “e-Democracy – Citizens, Policy-Makers” is an important part of the mission of the Ministry of Public Administration”, said the Minister of Public Administration, Ms. Suzana Pribilović opening the Conference.

“Participatory democracy is a process of collective decision-making, which should empower and motivate citizens to regulate public life and to get involved in all those issues that concern their civil rights. It is especially important to create a normative and institutional framework for good governance in which the citizen is in the first place and takes an active part in the creation of public policies. In which transparency is not the exclusivity and will of the individual, but the key principle of the work of public administration”, said Ms. Pribilović.

She said that it is important not only to promote the principles of the Open Government Partnership but also to encourage citizens to be agile and diligent participants in public consultations, which should connect citizens, public administration and decision-makers and help the public administration better examine certain legal solutions, strategic documents, and citizens gain influence and obtain space to promote and represent their civic interests.

The conference also included the presentation of the e-Participation service and its improved presentation and functioning, which influences, through public consultations, the strategic and legal documents adopted by the Government, and which is expected to be operational as of 18 March.

“The goal of creating new functionalities of the e-participation service is to intensify the quantification and the quality of communication between administrative bodies, citizens and stakeholders in the drafting of public policy acts in a simplified and pragmatic manner”, said Ms. Marija Janković, Advisor in the Ministry of Public Administration.

Ms. Milica Vučinić, Advisor in the Ministry of Public Administration, introducing the improved eParticipation system – a system for electronic public consultations, said that the system provides for proactive participation of citizens in social processes and decision-making that is essential for their life and the life of the community. “Through this service, citizens can actively participate in the drafting of laws and other strategic documents and can express their opinions and views in public consultations. This is one of the most pressing and important conditions for democracy and civil society, and it ensures better contact between citizens and government representatives via electronic means” said Ms. Vučinić.

Ms. Marija Hajduković, acting Director General of the Directorate for Good Public Administration and the Activities of NGOs in the Ministry of Public Administration, Mr. Igor Vidačak, PhD, Project Leader of the DEU project “Technical assistance to the development of institutional mechanisms for the cooperation between state administration bodies and NGOs in Montenegro”, Mr. Marko Mrdak, Deputy Chief Negotiator, and Ms. Marina Vujačić, consultant , spoke at the panel “Citizens – Public Policy-Makers” dedicated to sharing experience on the reform of standards and modernization of the mechanisms for citizen participation in the process of public policy-making.

Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary international initiative launched in 2011, promoting multilateral cooperation, supporting and assisting the development of openness, transparency and accountability of the administration through open cooperation of state administration representatives, primarily with civil society, and with other segments of the society in order to promote and increase transparency, fight corruption and actively involve and strengthen the participation of citizens and the civil sector in public policy-making. Montenegro joined the OGP on 13 February 2012, and signed the declaration on the open government as a participating country