KDI: Transparency in local government decreased due to the pandemic

The Democratic Institute of Kosovo (KDI) within the USAID project for transparent, effective, and accountable municipalities, launched the Transparency Index for Municipal Governance for 2020. The report showed that Kosovo experienced a decline in transparency in local government.

Diana Metushi-Krasniqi, project manager at KDI, during the presentation of the main findings of the Report, said that “in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kosovo experienced a decrease in transparency in the local government of 1% compared to the previous year. Overall transparency in the six pillars measured in 2020 is 69% compared to 70% in 2019. This is a clear indication that in addition to the challenges of facing a major force, municipalities need to focus on publishing more information for their citizens.”

She said that the publication of documents on the websites of municipalities is the first line of accountability to their citizens. According to information received from the Ministry of Local Government, the websites of municipalities in 2020 were visited 4,167,112 times, by 1,248,850 visitors.

While the average points of transparency in public procurement have remained the same as in 2019 (57%), 2020 showed a change of -12% in the pillar of budget transparency, from 73% in 2019 to 61% in 2020. A change of -3% of transparency in municipalities was also observed in promoting professional ethics and combating conflict of interest from 76% in 2019 to 73% in 2020, he added.

Metushi-Krasniqi said that the use of social networks was a contributor to the increase of public participation.

“A positive trend was observed in the pillar of information and public participation. According to data obtained from 32 municipalities, during 2020, these municipalities organized 169 budget hearings with 16,718 participants. One of the main contributors to increasing public participation was the use of social networks as digital means of communicating with citizens. Also, compared to 2019, although the number of requests for access to public documents had decreased (from 1,039 in 2019 to 843 requests in 2020), the index shows that municipalities were more willing to respond to them (84% in 2020 compared to 78% in 2019) “, announced KDI.

The Transparency Index in Municipal Governance for 2020 lists the Municipality of Prishtina as the most transparent with 100 points in the measured indicators, followed by the municipalities of Lipjan (98.75 points), the Municipality of Gjakova (94.50 points), the Municipality of Vushtrri (92.88 points), the municipality of Rahovec (91.63 points) and the municipality of Junik (91.38 points).