Regional Conference - Civil society and local governments – partnerships for local democracy in the Western Balkans was the opportunity to present the experiences and good practices of cooperation between the local authorities and the civil society across the Western Balkans. The hybrid type conference brought together more than 350 practitioners from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
In the opening, Mr. Alen Taletović, Assistant Minister from Ministry of Justice of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, highlighted that the importance of efficient and effective allocation of budget funds for CSOs has been recognized by all ministries across the region which seemed determined to manage public funds responsibly and support local level in doing so. “Thus, aside of the necessity to regulate this issue on a local level, we at the Ministry of Justice of Federation of BiH also wanted to contribute to changing these practices. With the support of European Union and UNDP our Ministry already initiated drafting law on financing civil society organisations that will, once adopted, be implemented on all government levels in the Federation of BiH.”
“The European Union is a strong supporter of civic engagement at national and local levels, seeing it as fundamental for democracy, and as key for EU accession. Civil society has an important role - representing the views and aspirations of citizens and calling leaders and institutions to account; offering concrete support to communities, including in crisis situations, and being a positive force for societal transformation”, said Mr. Holger Schroeder, Head of Unit, DG NEAR, D5, European Commission.
Ms. Steliana Nedera, UNDP Resident Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina emphasized that “local governments are closest to citizens and they have a continuous dialogue with citizens on issues in local service delivery and best solutions. Local civil society organizations are among most reliable partners to local authorities in providing a variety of services to the community. Such partnerships are based on open dialogue, transparency, and trust.”
Conference participants contributed to the several specific topics such as improvement of public funding, benefits of partnership between civil society and local governments and way forward, with the special accent on youth actions. In this regard, the panelist from Association of Kosovo Municipalities (AKM) Mr. Sazan Ibrahimi who represented Kosovo in the first panel, has very openly confirmed the good path created towards transparency of public funding to CSOs by municipal budgets and the ongoing coordinated commitment to further increase this. Furthermore, Mr. Sadri Rrmoku who participated in the second panel from Kosovo Local Government Institute (KLGI), stressed out that cooperation between municipalities and civil society is an important element in the process of democratization for countries and territories. He continued that cooperation increases the quality of local policies and at the same time makes civil society a stakeholder in policy-making processes. Increasing the participation of CSO actors in the policy-making process affects the increase of transparency, accountability, rule of law and the creation of a more open government.
The conference was one of the first regional events focused on information and experience exchange between the Western Balkans countries/territories.
The Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 - ReLOaD2 is a EUR 13 million intervention, supported and financed by the European Union, and implemented by UNDP. It seeks to strengthen partnerships between the local governments and CSOs in the Western Balkans with a focus on transparent funding for CSOs across the region.
The Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP
For more information, please contact:
Media enquiries and interviews: Nađa Čengić, Communications Associate, UNDP BiH Regional Project Office, RELOaD2
Phone: +387 61 379 251
Enisa Rahlanin Kasemi Information and Communication Officer, European Union Office in Kosovo / EU Special Representative
Phone: (038) 5131 327;
Burbuqe Dobranja, UNDP Communications Associate
Phone: (038) 249 066 ext. 410; mobile: 049 720 800