Public position on current challenges and situation regarding civil society sector of Moldova

 7 March 2017

Public position
on current challenges and situation regarding civil society sector of Moldova
Resource Center for Human Rights (CReDO) restates its position on the need to depoliticize and self-regulate nongovernmental organizations on the basis of the internationally recognized ethics principles[1].
Independent associative sector of Moldova should not bend in front of the political and commercial interests but respond to the needs of the citizens:
1)      Non-politization of the nongovernmental sector (ban for direct support of the political candidates by NGOs[2], declaration of political affiliations of the leadership of NGOs),
2)      Integrity and prevention of conflict of interests (revolving doors temporary ban for transition from politics, stating personal interests in public activity, stating professional limitations interests in NGO activity),
3)      Transparency and accountability before citizens regarding the results of their activity (publicity of activities),
4)      Diversification of financial sources by authentic application of the law on 2% and access of NGOs to social contracts procedures,
5)      Standards of quality in provision of services and in the quality of expertise in research on public interest issues (presentation of methodology, coherence and recommendations as evidence-based).
Politization of nongovernmental sector shadows civil society image. Hatred, confrontation and value free practice induced from the politics dilutes public value of the nongovernmental sector.
Energy and justice sectors reforms to near accomplishment of Copenhagen criteria:
Consolidation of the democratic institutions and ensuring market economy in all key economic areas[3] are at the core of Moldova priorities. Draft reports on the situation of the energy sector and justice sector presented provide a critical review of the progress. The final texts evaluations are being presented after the consultations with various interested parties and actors containing nevertheless conclusions:
Energy sector:[4]
-          Monopolization of imports and internal distribution in energy industry (made effective capture all sector and functions) in the 90s and beginning of 2000 delivered annual political rent of at least 0.1 bln. USD and impoverished households additionally 10-20%,
-          Decision in 2012 to postpone implementation of 3rd energy package till 2020, delayed progress of implementation of laws and institutions only in the last 2 years, so effects will produce only in 2018-19, including possible energy price and costs reductions for the households,   
-          Accumulation of energy inefficiency in transport and building sectors cost additional burden on the households, public budgets, private expenditures cost structure; slow rise of the renewables in the energy output and inadequate energy diversification sources,
-          Infrastructure interconnectivity with western energy markets (gas and electricity) destroys effectively natural import monopoly, sets up the conditions for the demonopolization of the internal markets; licensing of competitive energy distribution operators and the supervision of the energy market ensures fair price formation and more affordable and consistent prices for the households,
-          Development of own renewable energy sources by growing their size to at least 20% coupled with the extension of the green tariffs and programs targeting buildings’ energy savings,  
-          Supporting western investments in energy sector ensuring diversification and capital competition.
Justice and anticorruption sector[5]:
-          Institutional sector reforms see slow pace of implementation with delays so that only in 2014-16 a number of institutional changes took place,
-          Justice reform tailored necessarily on the results of the change of the laws and institutions, yet inadequately defocusing from the results and impacts of the beneficiaries of justice sector services regarding trust, access, affordability and foreasibility,
-          Reform of anticorruption sector while facing political instability, undermined institutions independence and autonomy; new mechanisms and institutions adopted as late as in 2015-16 are still not functional (Integrity Authority, Service for the recovery of stolen assets),
-          Full transparency of the justice sector decisions, their stability, institutional accountability of the results at all stages (investigation and judiciary stages) build trust of the citizens in justice sector, 
-          Integrity of the public sector empowers citizens to control public sector employees’ assets (CNA and Integrity Authority), create oversight mechanisms to exercise control over conflict of interests, restrictions and incompatibilities including in other jurisdictions,
-          Implementation of the mechanisms for the stolen assets recovery extending to jurisdictions from other countries evaluating their effective impact for the state budget, quantification of the diminished financial burden of the banking frauds,
-          Elaboration of the new Justice Reform Strategy 2017-20 with direct involvement of the beneficiaries of the justice sector services listening to the voice of the citizens-beneficiaries of justice services.
On the statement of a group of organizations:
Statement dated March 3, 2017 on the event organized by the National Environmental Center and Resource Center for Human Rights (CReDO)[6] is regrettable as it refused the constituent principle of the consultation with the members of the Eastern Partnership Platform, in essence hiding the elaboration of the declaration and avoiding the dialogue on the possible problematic perception of the event[7].
The statement evokes clear erroneous information about the event, as one can easily observe the manner it has been organized to facilitate and accommodate a wide variety of interested actors[8]. The statement avoids the substance of discussions, taken and expressed positions and evaluations on the reforms themselves in energy and justice sector, including of participants, rapporteurs and those who have taken the floor. Participation in the event of some active members of Eastern Partnership Platform implies no obligation to undersign declarations, discussions or information presented from a variety of persons taken the floor. This public event has created affordable opportunity for everyone interested to put forward questions to the representatives of authorities in energy, justice and environmental sectors, hear the evaluations of the co-rapporteurs, expose concerns regarding the progress of the implementation of the Association Agreement. As evidenced by the recordings government, nongovernment representatives as well as opposition and other interested received full chance to express themselves (with more than 100 of participants present, 7-8 questions formulated during plenary sessions for each sector and multiple discussions as part of 3 workshops) – all ensuring democratic pluralism of opinion proving interactive and inclusive character of the event.[9] This unfortunately is not necessary the most practiced format in other public events organized where simply one opinion is presented.
We regret attempts to exacerbate irrational and conspiracy perceptions in the associative sector by fabricating false revenge targets. We regret dishonesty in attributing grant-makers the role of the ultimate judge makers on the personal attitudes of unacceptance of the inclusive and pluralist format of the event. We regret that some assume the unfitted burden of the absolute truth holder, while in the essence project radicalism and refusal, fail the search for understanding of problems’ causes and their relevant solutions as part of the public discussion. We regret attempts to build enemy seeking and which-hunting attitudes – unhealthy signs of blaming rather than thinking – portraying undemocratic intention to suppress pluralism of opinion and drive limited circle group-think based on the approach to be against rather on the approach to search solutions. These attitudes have little added value for the society, they trait the public interest at the expense of shadowing unloyal competition, fears, inflate politization attitudes, show absence of constructive critical engagement[10]Finally, exclusive focus on the event refusal rather than focus on the substance discussed and the opportunity for the public debate created evokes unfortunate end in itself ... 
What follows?
There is a need for direct and open discussion about these problems. There are two ways forward: a) building the image of enemy and portray self-victimization and thus deepening the conflictual relationships in civil society, or b) openly debate existing situation and seek solutions based on the legitimate differences of points of view. The best way forward is obviously to engage into the discussions based on Code of Ethics, acceptance of evidence-based differences of opinions, engagement with evidence-based discussions having the final end the public interest.    
 
 


[1] CReDO: Nonpolitization and self-regulation of the nongovernmental sector and mass-media http://www.credo.md/pageview?id=605,www.CReDO.md,
[2] Interdiction of direct support of NGOs of the political electoral competitor: (as by current law and international standards): a) no transfer of funds from NGOs to political candidates, b) no transfer and use of assets from NGO to poitical candidates, c) no direct support of image of NGOs leadership of political candidate.
[3] These criteria (known as the Copenhagen criteria) are: 1) stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; 2) a functioning market economy and the ability to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU; 3) ability to take on the obligations of membership, including the capacity to effectively implement the rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law (the 'acquis'), and adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/summary/glossary/accession_criteria_copenhague.html?locale=en
[4] Excerpts from the draft declaration on the energy sector dated 22 February 2017
[5]Excerpts from the draft declaration on the justice and anticoruption sector dated 22 February 2017
[8] 1) Presented reports could be ovserved via the the registration of event https://www.privesc.eu/Arhiva/73577/Forumul-Civic-de-Monitorizare-a-Implementarii-Acordului-de-Asociere-semnat-intre-Uniunea-Europeana-si-Republica-Moldova  and materials distributed during the event,
2) Event ensured pluralist caracter offering crossector political and nonpolitical actors platform to voice positions and put forward questions including relevant answers from the public officials, so that a diversity of positions have been expressed with at least 7-8 questions in each plenary panel and plenty of discussions during the workshops,
3) Interested parties had opportunity to participate in workshops to contribute to the final declaration statements pe each sector. 
[10]See statement 3 March 2017 http://www.ipn.md/ro/comunicate/6439
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