Democratic society & accountable institutions

Montenegro aspires to join the European Union, a process requiring thorough reforms, democratization of society as a whole and upholding the rule of law. Despite the country being classified as an upper middle income one- indicating progress in development- an array of challenges is looming, while lingering effects of global financial downturn are putting a strain on Montenegro’s public administration capacities.

The country has invested significant efforts to improve its governance system. Aligning legislative framework with the Acquis requires vigorous action to boost productivity, enhance transparency and meet other objectives of the Strategy for Public Administration Reform.

Challenges persist both at central and local levels of governance, and are coupled with the need for empowering citizen participation in societal processes. At the same time, the European Commission’s progress reports repeatedly alert attention to the need to showcase a successful track record in the area of rule of law, access to justice for all, and fighting corruption at all levels.

Furthermore, the surplus and unsafe storage of military ammunition is considered to be an environmental and human security risk. Hence, Montenegro is further aligning its defense sector in accordance with international standards.

What we do

 Legal aid office in Podgorica. Photo: UNDP in Montenegro/ Milos Vujovic, Mediabox

Advancing democratic society through strengthening rule of law, transparency and accountability of institutions with greater citizen participation.

UNDP works with the Government of Montenegro on enhancing good governance, participatory democracy and fostering democratic society that fully respects and protects human rights through the rule of law, government’s transparency and accountability.

Our focus is on capacity development at the central and local level in domains of the country’s negotiation with the EU, legislative and institutional reforms of public administration, judiciary and human security. UNDP’s main democratic governance interventions are as follows:

  • Capacity Development Programme (CDP) assists the Government of Montenegro in accelerating public administration reform in the process of EU accession with an emphasis on legislative, strategic and policy development.
  • Rule of Law and Human Rights Programme assists the Ministry of Justice and judicial authorities of Montenegro in conducting the rule of law reform in line with the process of EU accession.
  • Montenegro Demilitarization (MONDEM) Programme is focused on rightsizing the amounts of military ammunition in an environmentally-friendly manner; safe disposal of hazardous substances; creating a safe and secure storage for conventional ammunition.
  • Local Governance Programme supports Ministries of the interior and finance, the Union of Municipalities and all Montenegrin municipalities in achieving better quality of services for citizens in a transparent, accountable and cost-effective manner.

Key results

Since 2003, the Capacity Development Programme (CDP) has contributed to achieving of each milestone in the European Integration process: preparation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement and its implementation; preparation for the EU accession through strengthening the capacities of state administration and specifically EU accession negotiation structures, as well as through developing of key strategic documents, including the National Programme for Integration (NPI), Economic and Fiscal Programme (EFP), Pre-Accession Economic Programme (PEP), the Public Administration Reform Strategy, etc.

The Rule of Law and Human Rights Programme contributed to drafting and adoption of the Law on legal aid in 2011 and to opening of 15 legal aid offices in all basic courts in the country. Simultaneously, alternative dispute resolution tools were promoted through the support to drafting changes and amendments to the Law on mediation. The Programme initiated and implemented the Anti-corruption training programme for judges and prosecutors with the national Judicial Training Center, and supported the drafting of the new Criminal Procedure Code. It also provided support to the Ministry of Justice in structural setup, strengthening of staff management skills, raising understanding of the EU integration processes, as well as in concluding mutual legal assistance agreements with countries in the region.

Since 2007, the MONDEM Programme has removed 128 tons of toxic fuel and 26 tons of napalm thickener from the Boka Bay, and it cut and melted 61 surplus T-55 tanks of the Montenegrin Armed Forces. A total of 1,200 pieces of heavy weapons have been cut, and 1,130 tons of ammunition have been destroyed. The storage depot in Taraš, Montenegro was reconstructed in 2011, while works on the second storage unit in Brezovik are underway.

Since 2010, the Local Governance Programme has supported the Ministry of the Interior in drafting the Strategy for Inter-municipal Cooperation (2011-2015) and in developing a publication on inter-municipal cooperation, a Manual for issuing municipal bonds in Montenegro as well as a comprehensive functional review of the Human Resource function and management capacities in Montenegrin municipal administrations. Several legislative initiatives came out as a result of a well-balanced combination of trainings, on-the-job mentoring, exchanging of experience through peer to peer support and study tours for the municipal finance officers. The Local Governance Programme also provided technical support to the working groups in charge of drafting Strategic Development Plans for municipalities of Kolašin and Žabljak.

In 2012, the Democratic Governance cluster supported the design and launch of the electronic petitioning platform “Citizens’ Voice”, making Montenegro the first country in the broader region to introduce such a model of citizens’ participation in policy making.

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