Monitoring the implementation of EU legislations and other environment policies is one of the most important activity CSOs can implement and for which have strong technical capacity. In fact CSOs follow closely the decision-making process to make sure it is democratic and transparent. They also monitor the implementation of laws by ministries and executive agencies, ensuring that the will of parliament is observed.
The relationships between CSOs and other stakeholders — whether governmental or in the private sector — are not always positive. While lobbying and collaborating can be useful, CSOs are sometimes required to act as whistle-blowers. In this role, they monitor the activities of stakeholders and advocate for problems identified to be addressed. This requires CSOs to involve experts in the monitoring process, be perceived as capable and legitimate, and have adequate access for monitoring purposes.
For this purpose it is important to have in place an effective and transparent monitoring system, which should include some tools, such as screening of public information (e.g. governments website), interviews, focus groups, etc. Monitoring represents an important aspect of mobilisation since it enables the CSOs to back their arguments with ‘hard data’. This strengthens their credibility and legitimacy in a political debate which is framed largely in scientific terminology.
Moreover CSOs have an important role in identifying “problematic areas” in their societies that demand urgent attention and highlighting these issues amongst local and national governments and the European Commission. The establishment of “social observatories” could help in identifying social and economic problems in societies resulting from the European Enlargement process. Appropriate researches, defining priorities and organizing meetings with various stakeholders as Trade Unions, other CSOs, local and national government representatives and Think Tanks would allow a strong role of the “social observatories”.