Skopje, December 17, 2021 – In competition with more than 100 applications, the innovative tools for greater transparency and accountability of municipalities in the country won the third prize at European level, for impact on improving people's lives and the quality of democracy, at the Global Summit on Open Government Partnership, which is held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. It is a group of tools that were created and put into operation in the past four years and contributed to improving fiscal transparency at the local level, enabled live broadcasting of the council sessions in 18 municipalities and increased the direct involvement of citizens in the decision-making process in 24 municipalities. The activities were implemented within the OGP commitment "Establishment of new tools for improving the financial transparency and accountability of local self-government units", which is led by the Ministry of Local Self-Government.
"This global recognition is a result of many years of efforts and activities, which we have implemented together with our partners, in order to increase openness and transparency of municipalities, but also more direct involvement of citizens in decision-making processes. In practice, the activities contributed to quick and easy access to data on the execution of municipal budgets, decision-making based on relevant and available data, as well as the implementation of projects of public interest proposed directly by citizens”, said the Minister of Local Self-Government, Goran Milevski.
The commitment to transparent municipalities was implemented as part of the Swiss project "Empowering Municipal Councils", implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Local Self-Government and the Ministry of Finance.
"The project has demonstrated that when citizens are involved in decision making and financial planning, effectiveness and efficiency of public services improve. Furthermore, participation of citizens enhances accountability and transparency of authorities and trust between LSG and citizens. I offer my congratulations to North Macedonia in getting this recognition and hope that it inspires sustainability of these tools, and encourages bigger citizen participation in the future”, said Véronique Hulmann, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of North Macedonia.
"UNDP is dedicated to developing local democracy and upgrading the capacity of municipalities since we believe this is a key prerequisite for sustainable development and better living conditions for all citizens. This recognition is "wind in the back" to be persistent in our objective, that is the existing tools to be accepted by all local self-governments in the country, but at the same time to create new innovative solutions that will contribute to greater openness of the municipalities towards the citizens”, said Armen Grigoryan, UNDP Resident Representative.
National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership initiative, which has been implemented since 2011, is the Ministry of Information Society and Administration.
"I would like to stress that the Republic of North Macedonia has recognized results in the open government processes, and the award received at the Global Summit is a real and sincere confirmation that the joint work and partnership between the Government, civil society and donor community provides functional and long-term solutions to the challenges we are facing as a society. Since joining this initiative in 2011, through five action plans, the need for greater engagement and involvement of citizens in the decision-making process, the introduction of higher standards of integrity and greater access to technology is pursued with dedication. The new National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership for the period 2021-2023 confirms the commitment that in the next period will continue the dedicated work of the public sector, which is expected, in partnership with stakeholders, to innovate, to develop policies that meet the needs of citizens in response to modern trends", said Jeton Shaqiri, Minister of Information Society and Administration.
The Global Summit in the Republic of Korea is being held as part of the tenth anniversary of the Open Government Partnership initiative, and its priority topics are strengthening the involvement of civil society and the public, tackling corruption and promoting inclusive digital innovation.