With the support of the EU, civil society organizations will improve public services and the quality of life in their local communities

October 7, 2022
UNDP Serbia

Belgrade, October 7, 2022 - With the support of the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia today awarded grants worth $525,000 to representatives of 30 civil society organizations (CSOs). Their initiatives were selected as the best within the public call for improvement of public services and the quality of life of citizens in Babušnica, Vladičina Han, Vrnjačka Banja, Kruševac, Topola, Novi Sad and Subotica.

On this occasion, Nicola Bertolini, head of the Department for Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, said "The European Union supports participatory democracy, as well as local economic and social development through strengthening partnerships between civil society and local governments."

Gordana Čomić, Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, addressing the audience, highlighted "Democracy arises and lasts at the local level, if we nurture it. The Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, together with the United Nations, has developed an instrument for including the principle that no one should be left behind in the legal and strategic documents of the Republic of Serbia. This is our contribution to everyone who wants to reduce inequalities and establish dialogue at the local level, to do it faster and easier."

"Through the improved cooperation of local self-governments and civil society organizations, 2,800 citizens in these 7 cities and municipalities in Serbia will have better health services, as well as social protection services adapted to vulnerable groups," noted Anas Qarman, acting permanent representative of UNDP in Serbia, adding that young people will also receive additional support for active participation in the life of their local communities, education and employment.

In addition, civil society organizations will carry out activities that contribute to environmental protection and sustainable rural development, ensure the preservation of historical heritage, and promote tourism and the creative industry.

All 30 civil society initiatives were selected following public calls issued by local governments. The announcement of public calls was preceded by an open dialogue in which representatives of local self-governments, CSOs, as well as other interested citizens participated, in order to determine the priority areas in which additional funding is needed in each of the mentioned 7 cities and municipalities.

The largest part of the total financial support for the implementation of these activities was provided thanks to the EU, while the rest of the funds (from 20 to 35%) were provided by local governments from their own budgets.

Anas Karman, jedna od predstavnica organizacija civilnog društva i Nikola Bertolini

UNDP Serbia