Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2)

Project Background:

The Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) builds on good practices of the Regional Programme on Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD, 2017-2020) and Local Democracy Strengthening Project (LOD, 2009-2016), funded by the European Union (EU).

As a regional initiative, ReLOad2 is implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are important for the development of local communities, but they still face challenges that limit their ability to positively impact the quality of life of citizens. Local governments (LGs) provide sizeable public funding to CSOs, but the disbursement is often not based on clear and transparent criteria, monitoring of awarded funds is not performed, and effects are not measured nor adequately communicated to the public. Also, as a consequence of incompatibility of the educational system with the labour market, the young have limited job opportunities. This has resulted in high levels of emigration.

* For the European Union, this designation is without prejudice to position on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. For UNDP all references to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of the UN Resolution 1244/1999.

Project Goal:

To strengthen democracies and the EU integration in the Western Balkans by empowering civil society and encouraging young people to actively take part in the decision-making process, and by improving a supportive legal and financial environment for civil society.

Project Focus:

Strengthening partnerships between LGs and civil society, by scaling a successful model of transparent project funding of CSOs from LGs budgets, aimed at greater citizens and youth participation in decision-making processes and improving the provision of services in local communities.

Encouraging local authorities to use public funding of CSOs in a transparent and development-oriented manner, recognizing local needs and adopting a project-based approach.

Promoting the engagement of youth and providing support to the implementation of youth initiatives, while also working to improve their economic prospects in partner LGs.

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