AIS organized on 29 July 2016, in Tirana, a Workshop on Civil Society Monitoring Public Procurement and Contracts.
The USAID Planning and Local Governance Project (PLGP) in cooperation with the Albanian Institute of Science (AIS) have designed and finalized a platform with several ICT instruments for transparency over the budgets and expenditures of the local government units. During November 2015 – March 2016, work was focused on programing and implementing Money Mapping and a Monitoring Treasury Application. Both instruments are linked with well-structured data catalogues and contain information about the actual budgets, including expenditures for six municipalities for the two last years (2014-2016). The data are also accompanied by a group of articles, which analyze and visualize the real budgets of the municipalities for each of these two years. Everything is being done following the motto Open Governance as Good Governance in order to increase transparency, ensure well-structured information, and communication of the state institutions with the municipalities in creating means that help citizens in increasing their knowledge and encourage them to participate in the budgeting process.
The project also intends to enhance the capacities of the municipality staff members and civil actors in using ICT instruments for good governance and transparency.
Considering transparency a key to encouraging good and accountable governance, this project follows a model of technological innovation and strengthens citizens’ right to information. In both applications, information is made available in a format that is easy to find, understand, and reuse (open knowledge format). Users of such instruments include citizens and civil actors as well as representatives of the Citizens Advisory Panels, public administration members, and media representatives, who report on local government developments.
The applications on Money Mapping and Monitoring Treasury Transaction are already finalized and presented for the six model municipalities, partner local government units of PLGP: Fier, Lushnje, Korça, Elbasan, Berat, and Kuçova.
Municipality of Fier
Municipality of Lushnja
Municipality of Elbasan
Municipality of Berat
Municipality of Kuçova
Municipality of Korça
AIS Program, Open Procurement Albania (OpenLGP) was presented at a regional conference for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Data for Development Results 2016, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on 8 and 9 June. The project and its database designed as part of efforts made for ensuring that citizens are informed about public procurement and public contracts signed by the local government units in Albania. Its results and impact were addressed by a panel on How is Open Contracting Improving Budgetary Efficiency. Organizations from Euro-Asia and representatives from Open Contracting Partnership spoke at this panel about the benefits of contracting process and hitherto experiences. During the last year, AIS opened data about all tenders made in the first year of the 2015-2019 mandates of the 61 municipalities in the country. OpenLGP is financially supported by NED.
Albania is a country with a significant lack of transparency when it comes to public contracts, be it through donations, concessions, PPPs, public works, or rents. AIS, as a member of the Albanian Coalition for OGP has asked the Government to commit to using Open Contracting Standards. The proposal was integrated in the plan of consultations for OGP 2016-2018. AIS is going to organize consultations with some representative thematic groups for finalizing the Action Plan by the month of June.
An important unconference took place for the first time in Europe on June 1st, the Transparency Camp Europe. The event took place in Amsterdam in the context of the Netherlands EU Presidency 2016. The participants in this TCampEU included representatives from the civil society in Albania, who became part of European experiences on open data, , and civil engagement. One of the TCampEU activities was the APP Competition, which came as a finalization of tens of events of a DiploHack nature in different cities of Europe. Albania was represented in this event by Alida Karakushi and Ergest Nako, members of the Love in Action team, winners of DiploHack Tirana.
AIS is now engaged in a new lobbying project in favor of as fair Electoral Code as possible. The name of the project is ‘The Electoral Room for Reform’, and it is an initiative of five organizations, supported by the Open Society Foundation for Albania OSFA.
Political Accountability and New Technologies POINT is a regional conference of civil society organizations from six countries of Southeast Europe, which are intensively engaged in using new technologies in their work. Four speakers at this conference, Eva Meqemeja, Shefiko Hajna, Erald Hoxha, and Besjana Hysa presented the efforts being made by AIS (an Albanian NGO) to track the money and the interests of high political leaders in power for purposes of establishing some civic monitoring instruments through Open Data.