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Local Anticorruption Network Project: Monitoring for Transparency and Good Governance at the Local Level
Summary Report
/July 2003 – March 2004/

TThe project of the Regional Electronic Anticorruption Network provided a tool for communication, information and knowledge sharing among the NGOs located in different Bulgarian municipalities, and the Coalition 2000’ Secretariat in Sofia. Within the framework of the project a survey of the anti-corruption initiatives of municipal councils, municipal administrations, civic organizations and local mass media was carried out. The main result of that monitoring initiative was the possibility to compare different municipalities with regard to their anticorruption initiatives. Such comparisons could serve a number of purposes: they help to introduce civic control over the work of the municipality and the municipal council and thus also provide a tool for grassroots pressure on local authorities to reform; they outline the “gray zones” of high corruption risk and the critical areas of municipal activity where local anti-corruption initiative should specifically focus; they could ultimately lead to practical solutions and mechanisms for local government transparency.

Especially for the purposes of the project the team of Coalition 2000 developed a web-site and electronic data-base. Its purpose is to visualize all activities implemented by the local partner NGOs in the framework of the project. Each of them has access to the data-base and is authorized with an individual password to fill in every month the information for the municipality he observes. Different options for graphic presentations and comparative analyses are available.

During the initial project period (Jan and February, 2003) the main result was the elaboration of a set of indicators, on which the monitoring was based. After being submitted for expert advice to the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria and to the Foundation for Local Government Reform, as well as to LGI, those transparency indicators became the first attempt on behalf of the NGO’s sector to establish criteria/ standards/ bench marks for the municipalities’ anticorruption initiatives. They covered three main arias of the municipality’s work:

• Municipality Council and Mayor;
• Municipality administration, public services;
• Partnership between Municipality and NGOs in the field of anticorruption activities and civic participation.

During the months of March-April-May 2003 the monitoring was piloted in 5 municipalities by Coalition 2000 local partners such as:

• Culture and City Foundation, Varna;
• Center for the Study of Political Processes, Shoumen;
• Bulgarian Youth League “Stefan Stambolov”, Smolyan;
• Public Barometer Foundation, Sliven;
• Foundation for Entrepreneurship Development, Sofia, working with a partner NGO in Pernik.

Representatives of the selected NGOs were trained during a seminar at the CSD, Coalition 2000 Secretariat, at which they were introduced to the practical exercising of the monitoring on the anticorruption initiatives of the municipality, the local NGOs, the media and the business.

In March, April and May, 2003 those contracted submitted their monthly reports, with Coalition 2000 Secretariat preparing the pilot phase report. Important result of the pilot phase was also to clear possible shortcomings, and to help the development of the technology platform to assist the process of data collection, analysis and reporting. Coalition 2000 workgroup on the RAN project designed a special website http://www3.online.bg/lacen/ , where the monthly provided results of the survey are regularly up-dated and serve to improve the public awareness of the problems concerning local anti-corruption issues.

Objectives of the LACEN project in all participating municipalities:
• Monitoring of local government transparency and local media;
• Introduction of civic control over the work of the municipality administration;
• Outlining the “gray zones” of high corruption risk and the critical areas of municipal activity where local anti-corruption initiatives should specifically focus.

Targeted results in all participating municipalities:
• Tool for communication, information and knowledge sharing among the NGOs located in different municipalities and Coalition 2000;
• Development of web-site and data base LACEN;
• Survey of the anti-corruption initiatives of municipal councils, municipal administrations, civic organizations and local mass media;
• Comparative analysis of anti-corruption initiatives in the different municipalities;
• Tool for grassroots pressure on local authorities to reform Practical solutions and mechanisms for local government transparency

Quarterly project reports
Quarterly report: July - September, 2003 (available only in Bulgarian)
Quarterly report: October - December, 2003 (available only in Bulgarian)
Quarterly report: January - April, 2004 (avaialble only in Bulgarian)

Partner organizations participating in the LACEN network:

Agency for Regional Development and Business Center, Vidin
Open Society Club, Rouse
IGA Foundation, Pazadrzhik
Association of Municipalities “Hebar”, Plovdiv
Mayday Foundation, Varna
Bulgarian Youth League “Stefan Stambolov”, Smolyan
Civic Assosiation Public Barometer, Sliven
Center for Political Studies, Shoumen
Association of Bulgarian Blacksea Municipalities, Varna
Regional Business Center for Support of SMEs, Pernik
Egida Foundation, Goce Delchev
 
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