Between 2013 and 2014, Transparency Maldives (TM) implemented a programme to promote democracy and by extension, support the strengthening of local governance through increased civic participation and capacity building of local councils. As part of the programme, TM conducted civic education workshops and civic forums in 16 islands, with the purpose of bridging the gap between local councils and the communities they serve. The objective was to create citizen awareness and knowledge on democratic values, norms and practices and inspire citizens to participate in community affairs. In addition, the project activities sought to create space for local councils and communities to interact and promote dialogue in addressing community issues through a participatory approach; and to promote transparency and accountability of local councils.

The purpose of this report is to capture TM’s experiences and the process that was followed in achieving the above mentioned goals. The intention is that the experiences, reflection and guidelines will provide practitioners and stakeholders with a useful insight into how community consultations can be conducted in a Maldivian context; and with the tools to design and implement future interventions to strengthen local governance in the Maldives. The first part of the report provides an overview of the local government system in the Maldives including its historical context and the legislative framework. The second part provides explanations and details of civic forums, TM’s experience and case studies. The final part provides details of citizen perceptions on community engagement, followed by a conclusion.

View/download the full report ‘Civic forum: A path to community engagement’ in English and Dhivehi

Download
Civic forum: A path to community engagement
Civic forum: A path to community engagement


2013 was an extremely challenging year for Transparency Maldives, yet in many ways, a successful year in terms of promoting transparency, fighting corruption and institutional growth. We were often in the spotlight as the only national election domestic observer group in a highly politicized and polarized environment, following the contentious transfer of power in February 2012. Some of the challenges TM faced include security issues, including death threats, threats of dissolutions from authorities; and balancing public expectations of TM.

Despite the challenges, in 2013, we successfully advocated for passage of an international best-practices Access to Information Act, established and trained a network of over 400 volunteers across Maldives and abroad, including Singapore, India, Sri Lanka and the UK. We also conducted the Maldives’ first ever systematic elections observation, helped 38 victims and witnesses of corruption to stand up against corruption and commenced work on a campaign to increase grassroots demand for access to information.

We grew our staff number from 15 in 2012 to 22 2013, launched three publications, including the Pre-Election Assessment Presidential Elections 2013, Global Corruption Barometer 2013, An Assessment of the Climate Finances and conducted studies for an access to information baseline survey and the state of democracy study.

Download
Annual Report 2013


The current Associations Act and regulations adversely affects the formation and running of civil society organizations due to the ineffective and bureaucratic system that does not distinguish between foundations, charities, sports clubs, NGO’s, CBO’s and federations and imposes one set of rules on all associations leading to administrative and governance difficulties; a legal framework from 2003 that does not take into account the expansive Bill of Rights enshrined in the Chapter Two of the 2008 Constitution of Maldives 2008; no provisions and systems in the current administrative and legal framework.

Work is underway in reforming the Associations Act in oder to develop and foster an enabling environment for the civil society to flourish.The governance, transparency and functioning of CBO’s will improve if the systemic issues in the regulatory framework are addressed.

Comments and recommendations on 2003 Associations Act addresses several legal issues with the 2003 Associations Act of the Maldives.

Download here


The right to form associations is a Constitutional right in the Maldives. Civil society play a vital role in strengthening public confidence in state institutions, social stability and improving tolerance within a free and democratic society.

Maldives is signatory to several international human rights treaty bodies, of which the article 20 of the UDHR prescribes that every person shall have the freedom to assembly and association. Freedom of expression is closely linked to the freedoms to assembly and association. The articles 19, 21 and 22 of the ICCPR oblige states to provide for these freedoms through the establishment of legal mechanisms and procedures.

This paper will look at the Constitutional provision in the Maldives to freedom of association, and the legal system that ensures the implementation of this right. As such, the gaps in the existing legislation will be explored and recommendations made in order to close these gaps and move forward in conforming to international obligations and standards for an open democratic system of governance.

Download
Freedom of Association in Maldives – Position Paper
Freedom of Association in Maldives – Position Paper


Transparency Maldives conducted a nationwide random survey of the

Maldivian public in August 2013. The survey used repeatedly tested

survey questions and the results are reliable within a margin of error of

+⁄− 3.0%. That project was grounded in the conviction that the suc-

cessful performance of democratic institutions requires a complementary

set of supporting democratic values.

The results point to significant democratic deficits within Maldivian

political culture.

Read the full report here Democracy at the Crossroads; The Results of 2013 Maldives Democracy Survey

 

Download
Democracy at the Crossroads
Democracy at the Crossroads


Article 4 of the Constitution of the Maldives stipulates that

all the powers of the State of the Maldives are derived

from the citizens and remain with the citizens. The power

to elect representatives through elections ensure that the

powers of the state do remain with the citizens. Direct and

elected representatives at island and community level will

help improve local governance and the democratic system.
The purpose of this position paper is to bring to the

attention of the public and relevant institutions some of the

major systemic issues within the electoral framework and

advocate for changes to the system.

Download
Local Council Election 2014 – Position Paper


Article 4 of the Constitution of the Maldives stipulates that all the powers of the State of the Maldives are derived from the citizens and remain with the citizens. The power to elect representatives through elections ensure that the powers of the state do remain with the citizens. Direct and elected representatives at island and community level will help improve local governance and the democratic system.

The purpose of this position paper is to bring to the attention of the public and relevant institutions some of the major systemic issues within the electoral framework and advocate for changes to the system.

This paper highlights critical and fundamental issues in the local governance and council election systems. Transparency Maldives hopes that this paper creates discussion on these issues and paves way for the implementation of the recommendations to strengthen the local governance and council election systems.

Click to view/download full position paper in English

Click to view/download full position paper in Dhivehi


The Climate Finance Integrity Programme was piloted in 2011 by Transparency International in six countries, including the Maldives, to monitor the increasing climate related finance, the governance of raising and managing these funds and the governance of these funds within the selected countries. This report is the national report for the mapping assessment conducted for Maldives. The research has briefly looked at all government institutions that were active during the research phase, from 2011 to mid-2013, in the delivery and monitoring of climate change projects that were funded by the government or externally.

 

Read the full report here Assessment of Climate Finance in the Maldives


The Government of the Maldives is in the process of establishing Maldives Green Fund (MGF), under a Presidential Decree. Currently, the proposed legal forms for the Fund include either State Owned Enterprise coming under the Companies Act or a Trust Fund coming under Public Finance Act provision.

The MGF will handle climate finance on a range of sectors, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, water and waste management among others. Once established programmes such as Scaling Up of Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Programme in the Maldives, projected to be worth USD139 million, will come under MGF.

This document outlines Transparency Maldives’ general comments and proposals on the documents establishing MGF.

 

Download
Maldives Green Fund: General Policy Brief