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Today the world celebrates World NGO Day. This date was adopted during the IX Forum of Baltic Sea Civil Society Organizations by the Council of the Baltic States. On this day, we want to emphasize the important role of non-governmental organizations in their fight for democracy, human rights, and sustainable development.According to the report of the European Commission for Montenegro for 2020, non-governmental organizations in Montenegro operate in an atmosphere where the legal, institutional and financial environment has improved and where their role in creating, monitoring and promoting public policies is recognized. However, two key shortcomings are noted in practice: (1) Participation of NGOs in working groups remains only at a formal level where there is no openness to their recommendations, and they are often unable to influence the decision-making process. (2) Access to public information is becoming increasingly restrictive as more and more information is classified by public institutions, which restricts civil society organizations and citizens’ access to key policy decisions. It is therefore the European Commission’s recommendation that the legal framework on this issue must be revised to ensure that NGOs have proper oversight in key policy areas. Due to the aforementioned lack of transparency of state institutions, NGOs operate in difficult conditions, especially when we bear in mind that the system of allocation of funds is still not well developed. Since, as stated in the report of the European Commission – although the engagement of external evaluators has made the entire process of funding NGOs more transparent in recent years, concerns about the evaluation process still remain.

With over 10 years of existence, Civic Alliance is also celebrating this day. As before, we will remain faithful to our mission to contribute to the establishment of a civil and democratic society in a quality and efficient manner, through capacity building and support for civic initiatives, protection and promotion of human rights and control of the work of state institutions. We will also try to contribute to the improvement of the position of civil society in Montenegro, while applying the recommendations of the European Commission.

We wish all non-governmental organizations a happy World NGO day and we wish them to continue to contribute to positive changes in our society.