In Romania, the civil society needs a coherent watchdog activity at a national level in order to monitor the public spending and the public servants integrity. The objective of the project is to extend the watchdog activity performed by the already existing coalition (the Alliance for a Clean Romania), which functions through the web portal www.romaniacurata.ro . The goal of the Alliance is to contribute to the development of civil society’s capacity to inflict normative constraints on the corrupt behavior of state authorities and thus increase the transparency, responsiveness and accountability of these entities The Alliance plans to enroll more volunteers at regional and local level and thus decentralize its national monitoring activity, which has been carried out mostly from Bucharest. The project will benefit the local communities from all over the country by involving a greater number of volunteers in monitoring public expenditures and public integrity.
Summary of project results
The Romanian Academic Society (RAS), via the Alliance for a Clean Romania, and together with the Centre for Independent Journalism, the Pro.Do.Mo Association, the Save Bucharest Association and the Vellenes Fellesorganisasjon Organization have successfully extended the good governance monitoring activities on the www.romaniacurata.ro
portal, as a part of the “Developing good governance monitoring capacity through the Clean Romania Alliance” project. They managed to considerably increase the number of local and regional volunteers and to decentralize monitoring activity at county level via two methods: by providing concrete action instruments on the www.romaniacurata.ro
portal and by integrating new good governance models/leaders into the project. Therefore, the number of unique visitors of the online platform reached 3.709.792, and the page views reached a record of 12.129.184 users. During this reporting period, 4.174 articles were published. Great attention has been given to topics such as: combating acts of corruption at all levels, using the integrity detectors’ information, and also environmental articles. RAS experts worked with regional journalists on writing national reports that were posted on the website. The volunteers have now the possibility to take action, since they have been grouped (by domains) in a special application called the Virtual University Square. Facebook audience has increased, the number of likes surpassing 43.000. Also, the number of people who use social networks to send administration-related information concerning potential wrongdoings has also stayed high. The RAS team created the “Question the State” app, which included the addresses of over 5.400 state authorities. The app also comes with instructions on how to make use of 544 law, regarding the free access to public information, and it allows RAS to send itself the formal requests made by citizens in order to increase their chances of receiving an answer (since it is shown the response rate for citizens is lower than that for NGOs).
Summary of bilateral results
The collaboration with Vellenes Fellesorganisasjon led to an improvement in the knowledge and understanding of civil society’s impact, with a notable aspect consisting of involving volunteers in attempts to solve matters of common interest. Bilateral collaboration has also aided the consolidation of the project thanks to the exchange of information that took place. The Norwegian partner’s designated expert was university professor Harald Koht. Prof. Koht was involved in the project in a variety of ways. During an interview with the project’s journalists, he spoke about how the relationship between authorities and citizens needs to stop being a one-way affair. Members of the Romanian team were provided with relevant examples on how Norway tries to follow and comply with the good governance ideas of their citizens. Prof. Koht also presented his work, “Neighborhood civil society. Norway: a case study”. The history of Norwegian civil society was presented: information concerning topics like the first Norwegian NGOs, the total number of NGOs in Norway, their purpose, issues with authorities, was presented along with potential solutions for Romanian civil society in relation with authorities. The Predeal Summer School, which the professor attended as a special guest, was much appreciated. The professor gave a lecture on "Grassroots democracy. From the Norwegian ideal to the Romanian needs”. Professor Koht also attended the Bucharest launch of the Local Authorities Transparency Ranking (where he met with Romanian NGOs and the press). His presentation was on “Norwegian Good Governance”.