The Alliance for a Clean Romania (ACR)

Presentation & Objectives of the Alliance

The member organizations making up ACR are the following: Freedom House Romania, Alma Mater, Group for University Reform, the National Alliance of Student Organizations in Romania, Timișoara Association, Edu-Cer, the Center for Independent Journalism, Cultural Association Ariergarda, Save Bucureștiul, Group for Social Dialogue, Pro.Do.Mo, Cartel Alfa, the Advocacy Academy, Resource Center for Public Participation, The “Viitorul în Zori” Association, (Let’s do it, Romania!), Rațiu Center for Democracy, Green Peace Romania, the Coalition of the Independent Cultural Sector, Association Cluj Today, the League for the Protection of Human Rights – Cluj branch, the Romanian Business Leaders Foundation. The Alliance is undergoing constant expansion, and has recently been joined by the Union Platform Action 2012 and the Pro Patrimonio Foundation.

Our objectives can be split into two main directions that cover a wide area of interests. The first direction is aimed at continuing previous efforts to make the government increasingly accountable, together with the Romanian political class, through initiating alliances that put pressure on the political players. In 2004, this vision was shaped as a very dynamic and visible Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP), initiated by SAR alongside 11 other civil society organizations from Romania. CCP was instrumental in influencing the local election campaigns in June 2004, but also during the November 2004 parliamentary elections, by including on the public discussion agenda problems regarding the candidates’ personal accountability and professionalism. Since 2004 we have been a trustworthy provider of direct expertise to the Ministry of Justice, as well as for the creation of credible rules regarding professional integrity for dignitaries and public clerks. SAR worked on the issue of assets and the interest declaration form adopted by the government in 2005. In the same year, CCP changed into the Coalition for Clean Governance (CCG) via which we mostly collaborated with the Ministry of Justice. We helped with the elaboration of a new anti-corruption strategy and action plan, as well as with restructuring the institutional framework so as to effectively implement these aforementioned actions.  In 2007 we were actively involved in the Coalition for a Clean Parliament – European Elections when we set up an internal mechanism to evaluate and monitor integrity within the main political parties, such that the parties may dismiss the problematic members at their discretion. Likewise, before the parliamentary elections of December 2012, SAR initiated project „Check your Candidate’s Integrity” by which we evaluated the integrity of all the eligible candidates based on original criteria issued by SAR during the abovementioned coalitions. The criteria used were as follows: collaboration with the former Communist Security, political and administrative positions before and after 1989, political migration, nepotism, wealth and business acquired through business with the state, conflicts of interests and incompatibility, convictions, arrests and racist/sexist attitudes, anti-Semitism or any other form of hate speech. The electors were presented with this information via a database, as well as by means of syntheses published on ACR’s platform.

The Romanian Academic Society via the Alliance for a Clean Romania, together with its project partners – Center for Independent Journalism, Association Pro.Do.Mo, Save Bucharest Association and organization Vellenes Fellesorganisasjon from Norway – want that via the project “Developing the watchdog capacity for good governance by the Alliance for a Clean Romania” to extend the watchdog capacity for good governance on the www.romaniacurata.ro portal.

This portal’s traffic is currently measured by Trafic.ro as having the highest level of audience in the non-governmental organizations category. This is the most extended program of its kind developed by the Romanian civil society. Together we aim to achieve an important increase in the number of volunteers at local and regional levels by decentralization of the watchdog activities at county levels (so far undertaken centrally) through two methods. First, by offering practical action tools via the www.romaniacurata.ro portal, and secondly by attracting and involving new good governance models/leaders in the project (household names like ACR’s friends and active volunteers such as Moise Guran, Catalin Tolontan, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, Nicușor Dan, Toni Grecu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Aurora Liiceanu, etc).

The Alliance for a Clean Romania is thus an informal alliance established in its current form in 2009. Our activity is now funded through the NGO Fund, and previously by CEE Trust.

The watchdog capacity for good governance by the Alliance for a Clean Romaniaconsists of supporting the development and activity of the anti-corruption community, which includes both organizations and individuals with the purpose of consolidating the integrity, efficiency and transparency of the central and local public authorities, thus contributing to the general growth objective of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. This is only possible through monitoring mechanisms, and by evaluating the integrity and transparency in primary fields/sectors such as the judicial system, political party financing, election campaigns, public acquisitions and the local public administration.

Specific objective 1 – The supervision of public integrity by monitoring the following: the lack of transparency regarding public information, cases of illicit profits gained by representatives of public authorities, conflicts of interest in the exertion of public authority, preferential public fund allocation by the local and central public authorities in all the 42 counties for a period of 24 months; use of the available legal means according to Law 544/2001 on free access to information of public interest; the improvement of transparency and receptivity indexes by the national public authorities with regards to the petitions and warnings of (non)institutionalized civil society and those coming from ordinary citizens.

Specific objective 2: Increasing local civic participation in all country counties and in the municipality of Bucharest by forming and consolidating 42 civic centers (watchdogs) active on a county level, and also 8 regional branches (non-legal entities) that would contribute to increasing the transparency of administrative acts and public integrity by filing 2000 applications for public information and/or 42 petitions. The organization of at least 5 regional events (debates, press conferences) during the 24 months of project implementation.

Specific objective 3: Increasing the organizational and communication capacity of the partnering organizations in the Alliance for a Clean Romania by involving 40 online communities in the watchdog efforts. These organizations will be interconnected via the www.romaniacurata.ro portal, will post a minimum number of 40 articles / month, will contribute to increasing the platform’s interactivity (at least 4.000 comments from volunteers) and to extending the public audience (from 543.421 unique visitors registered on ARC’s website between March 2011 – July 2013, to over 2.000.000 visitors throughout the 24 months of project implementation).

Target groups:

  • Local and central public authorities (Town halls, local councils, county councils, governmental agencies, ministries);
  • Online communities (platforms of associations, blogs, journalists’ websites, etc.) that list good governance and anti-corruption within their main activities;
  • Online users visiting the ACR platform;
  • journalists (local and central press);
  • Volunteers and local activists.

Direct beneficiaries:

  • 16 local activists, members of the institutional civil society, from the 8 newly established regional branches;
  • 8 journalists in the local and central media;
  • 42 citizens/representatives of the institutional local civil society, interested to be involved in watchdog activities;
  • Members of the 20 NGOs currently involved in ACR;
  • 100 local and national NGOs that will benefit from the Monitoring Guide and will be informed about how to get further involve themselves in project activities.

Activities:

Monitoring public integrity by watchdog activities and litigations

  1. Extending the good governance monitors by founding 8 new regional monitoring branches.
  2. Issuing the „Monitor’s Guide” for the members of branches, volunteers, journalists and representatives of the institutional civil society
  3. Preparing and developing a training session for the teams of monitors involved in the project
  4. Writing, editing and publishing news and articles about good governance and anti-corruption, editing the regional and national reports on the main monitoring themes. Sending FOIA requests and/or petitions to the selected public institutions. Editing and publishing national and regional reports on 5 topics: degree of transparency regarding public information and the receptivity of public authorities to citizens’ inquiries; conflict of interest; favouritism; discretionary expenditure; discriminating initiatives and hate speech.
  5. Organizing 40 events/public communication sessions on a regional level, and 5 press conferences/debates on the regional/national report results
  6. Initiating and developing strategic litigations
  1. Analyzing the official response documents sent to ACR monitors by the public institutions questioned in the local watchdog processes;
  2. Determining the situations that require the commencement of strategic litigations in court or on an administrative level;
  3. Initiating court procedures and litigations in the relevant situations.

Public involvement and protests. Creating country centers of the Alliance for a Clean Romania.
Creating 5 new columns on the ACR platform, written entirely by volunteers, and supporting their interactions and initiatives.
Organizing “The tour of grand corruption sites” in each of the 8 regions.

Increasing the organizations’ communication and organizing skills
Active monitoring via the Monitor’s Guide.
Making the community responsive and involving it in fundraising activities.
Increasing the audience, interconnectivity and interactivity of the Clean Romania portal.

At present we work with a complete number of journalists, 1 assigned to each region. The first tour of grand cannons took place at Rosia Montana where approximately 70 citizens participated. The guide was already issued, and will be distributed in Bucharest and across the country not only to journalists, but also to the non-governmental organizations who wish to be informed and trained. We are also preparing to issue the regional reports.


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