Transparency as a Policy Tool

In 2001, a coalition of Romanian NGOs led by SAR successfully acted as a catalyst in building consensus for the adoption of a Law on Access to Public Information (also known as FOIA).

In a context where legislative initiatives from the Government and the Opposition had been submitted to the Parliament, and a Law on Classified Information was also envisaged, in March 2001 a civil society coalition was forged, which effectively facilitated consultations between the Government (Ministry of Public Information) and the Opposition (National Liberal Party). The result of this process was a common agreement by all parties to a draft law that was subsequently adopted by the Parliament in September 2001. The final version of the FOIA incorporated articles and concepts developed by the Romanian civil society organizations based on the Slovak and Bulgarian experience.

One year after FOIA was adopted, SAR conducted a survey on a sample of central and local institutions in Romania in order to assess the quality of its implementation. The instrument built for this survey became standard evaluation tool for subsequent similar studies in the region, and we ourselves will continue to improve and employ it for assessing the progress in reforming the public administration in Romania. In 2003-04 SAR initiated and coordinated a program of support by Romanian and Bulgarian NGOs for partners in Serbia and Croatia, in order to enable them to replicate the good lessons of advocacy for transparency in our countries.

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