The Association of Financial Workers of Local Self Government and Public Enterprises - Veles organized five regional forums in Skopje (Skopje Planing region), Bitola (Pelagonia planning region), Kocani (East planning region), Struga (Southwest planning region) and Veles (Vardar planning region) on the topic "Financial and non-financial support of CSOs from local authorities - conditions, opportunities and Challenges " in the period of 05.12 - 14.12.2018.
The forums have enabled NGOs from different regions to discuss practices for financial and non-financial support that local governments provided for civil society organizations in their respective municipalities. The participants in the forums were able to share their experiences as well as recommendations for improving the practices of their municipalities.
A large number of representatives agreed that it is necessary to improve the transparency of the units of local self-government when publishing information on which CSOs received funds, how much funds they received and how they were valued. They recommended, in order to provide transparent and accountable funding to CSOs from local authorities, it is necessary to prescribe rules on granting, using and reporting on the allocated funds from the municipal budget, the rules for awarding publicly announced as well as in the process of awarding funds to include all stakeholders.
During the forums, positive practices were presented, for example in the Municipality of Makedonska Kamenica, a council decision was adopted that provides co-financing for each CSOs that will receive a donor funded project that needs a co-financing. The Municipality of Veles has developed a practice of providing non-financial assistance to local organizations. A positive example of the financing of CSOs by the business sector was also presented.
The benefits of organizing these forums are numerous, locally, regionally and nationally.The topic that was covered is of crucial importance for the existence and functioning of non-governmental organizations, especially because finances are one of the areas where they face challenges and difficulties. That is why it is necessary to actualize the topic in order to share good practices and customs that will contribute to overcoming difficulties and better functioning in the future.
The forums were organized within the project "CSOs for making local democracy work", implemented by ALDA, the European Movement of the Republic of Macedonia and the Association of Financial Workers of Local Governments financed by IPA Civil Society Facility and Media Programme