As part of the USAID Civic Engagement Project, the Metamorphosis Foundation held a presentation and discussion about the results of the Assessment of Good Governance of the Executive Branch of Power. The event took place on 14 October on the Zoom platform and was attended by numerous representatives of state institutions, the non-governmental sector and the academy in the country. The participants exchanged opinions and views on the openness of the Macedonian institutions and gave suggestions and ideas on how to improve it.

Qendresa Sulejmani, Program Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, presented the results showing that with 83.43% fulfillment of the set criteria for openness, the Government of North Macedonia is the most open in the region, followed by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina with 74.9%. In third place is the Government of Montenegro with 59.46%, followed by the FBiH Council with 58.42%. The Government of the Republic of Serbia meets 47.67% of the criteria, and the Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina 50.18%. In last place is the Government of Republika Srpska with 38.53% fulfillment of the criteria for openness. The assessment is the result of a comprehensive empirical survey based on the Openness Index, which aims to determine the extent to which the principles of good governance in the region are respected. The regional perspective serves as a reference for how the countries in the region are progressing towards improving good governance and the rule of law that leads them to their strategic goal – EU membership.

Gordana Gapič Dimitrovska, State Adviser in the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, stressed that when it comes to openness and transparency, we are not talking only about institutions, but also about the partnerships of institutions with NGOs that contribute a lot to this topic. She emphasized the commitment of MISA for proactive transparency and gave a brief overview of the Fifth Action Plan for Open Government Partnership, as well as some of the commitments it includes.

The event also discussed how clear and informative the websites of the Macedonian institutions are, at a time when digitally available information is crucial. The website of the General Secretariat is positively assessed because it has a central policy for transparency and for publishing the framework of laws and bylaws that define its scope of work. Since October 2017, the transparency policy of the Government of North Macedonia has been guided by the “21 document policy” which obliges all executive institutions to publish a set of “21 documents” for their accountability before the citizens. The “21 documents” policy was overcome with the Transparency Strategy of the Government of North Macedonia adopted in November 2019, which also includes and expands the previous list of 21 documents. The discussion also raised the issue of the Accountability tool on expenditures of public office holders, which was introduced by the General Secretariat to enable public oversight of the expenditures of public office holders and to reduce misuse of state funds and corruption.

The paper is enriched with practical recommendations on how the executive government in North Macedonia can improve its compliance with the principles of good governance in the future. The recommendations will be communicated to senior civil servants in all monitored institutions through meetings, as well as to the general public through social media and public events. The research is conducted annually and allows us to compare the extent to which these recommendations are to be followed. This assessment is available in Macedonian, Albanian and English on the Metamorphosis website.