Promoting participatory democracy through the “Citizens’ Voice” project

Chief of Staff of the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Rajko Kovačević and the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro, Rastislav Vrbensky signed the cost-sharing agreement for the implementation of the “Citizens’ Voice – E-Petition” project. The project seeks to introduce a website that will harness the powers of digital technologies to facilitate and simplify citizens’ participation in policy making.

The “Citizens’ Voice” project, initiated by the Prime Minister Igor Lukšić, will be implemented with the support of UNDP Montenegro, and it marks a significant step towards promoting participatory democracy and the Government’s openness to active public participation in the policy-making process.

The e-petition project is a part of the Montenegrin Action Plan for the multilateral initiative Open Government Partnership (OGP), which was presented at the OGP annual conference in Brazil last week. On that occasion, US State Secretary Hillary Clinton recognized in her opening remarks the significance of Montenegro’s e-petition initiative.

The signing of the Agreement was preceded by an extensive research of experiences of other countries carried out with the expert support from UNDP Montenegro and UNDP’s Regional Centre for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in Bratislava (UNDP Europe & CIS), which has consulted the best international practices in this area.

The implementation of the project makes Montenegro the first country in the wider region to introduce such a model of interactive public-policy making.

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About “Citizens’ Voice – e-petitions”

“Citizens’ Voice” is a website that will enable the public to influence public policy-making process by submitting e-petitions to the Government of Montenegro.

Every adult citizen of Montenegro or a foreigner with permanent residence will be allowed to file an e-petition in any field within the Government’s remit. If supported by at least 6.000 citizens’ signatures, the relevant ministry will be required to turn such a petition into a formal initiative, which is then to be considered by the Government, and, if necessary, submitted to the Parliament.