Your Right – Promoting Transparency and Accountability of Public Authorities in Planning and Implementing Projects of Importance to the Local Community
The objective of this project is to ensure the functional implementation of the principles of good governance (transparency, accountability and public participation) and to contribute to the prevention of corruption in the planning and implementation of projects financed or supported by public authorities, and which are drawing public attention because of the potential negative impacts on local community development and public interest.
RERI seeks to improve the implementation of regulations that guarantee access to information, transparency, and accountability of public authorities and to ensure access to justice in cases where the rights of citizens and civil society have been violated. By advancing the implementation of legal instruments in the protection of the right to good administration, RERI strengthens the capacity of civil society for representing the public interest and to prevent corruption.
Lack of transparency and accountability of public authorities are key weaknesses of democracy in Serbia and a trigger of corruption. The lack of transparency and accountability narrows the possibility to enjoy civil rights and the opportunity for citizens to participate in planning of local community development. At the same time, the experts are excluded from the planning of significant projects, which at the realization stage creates risks of irreparable damage to the public interest.
Through this project, RERI seeks to investigate and initiate cases of breach of regulations before courts regarding planning and implementation of projects that may have a negative impact on the development of the local community, and which have risks of corruption and which cause a negative reaction of citizens.
The project included the construction of a gondola / cable car Usce-Kalemegdan, the development of planning documentation for the Karas-Nero protected area in Bela Crkva and the reconstruction of the pedestrian zone in Aleksinac. All these projects draw public interest, due to potential negative impacts or breaches of the law. In the case of construction of the Usce-Kalemegdan gondola, as well as in the case of Bela Crkva, RERI found violations of procedures and denial of the right for the public to access information and participate in decision-making. In addition to the violation of the principles of good administration by public authorities, there is a lack of knowledge and capacity of civil society, including the professional public, in terms of the implementation of appropriate legal remedies. RERI uses legal instruments to enhance transparency and accountability of public authorities and to provide all citizens with adequate access to the law. Monitoring and court proceedings require time and availability of human and financial resources, especially given the risks such as: avoidance of enforcement of obligations by public authorities, pressures, insults, and falsehoods about the organization and its associates.
- civil society organizations, informal groups, and activists who advocate for transparent and responsible behavior of public authorities, citizen participation in making decision relevant for community development;
- experts, professional associations and organizations dealing with architecture and urbanism, environmental protection, protection of cultural heritage;
- legal experts, attorneys, and judicial staff;
- public authorities, officials and public servants in Belgrade, Bela Crkva, AP Vojvodina and Aleksinac;
- online and print media.
The project is being realized from 01 July 2019 to 29 February 2020 with the support of the Open Society Foundation.