The signatories of this charter commit themselves, under the watchful eye of the citizens, to a partnership approach aimed at better recognizing the associative life in our country and intensifying their cooperation in the service of the general interest. The State, Mouvement associatif, a recognized denomination of the associative movement, joined by the representatives of local authorities, renew and strengthen the charter signed on the centenary of the 1901 law. Local authorities and associations are today essential partners in the territories.
The purpose of this research is to provide an objective analysis of the use of European funds by municipalities, ie to study the key challenges faced by municipalities in applying and implementing European projects and to propose measures for greater inclusion and better use of EU funds than side of the municipalities in the Republic of Macedonia.
The purpose of the research "Participation of CSOs in cross-border cooperation" is to give a clear picture of the participation of CSOs in cross-border cooperation programs, focusing on the following issues:
- Participation of CSOs in cross-border cooperation projects,
- Participation of CSOs in the process of planning and decision making in cross-border cooperation programs,
- Cooperation between civil society organizations, municipalities and other stakeholders in cross-border cooperation projects.
Reforms in the Public Administration and local authorities in the Eastern Partnership countries are considered one of the main goals to be achieved in the coming years reflected in the European Neighborhood Policy review in 2015, as well as underlined in the action plan CORLEAP 2016-2017. . The topic is also relevant in the agreements for associations signed by Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. The difficulties are obvious because they relate to the same organization of the state and the relationship between citizens and authorities (both nationally and locally).
The reform of Public Administration is NOT an essentially legislative process but it is strictly connected with cultural and systemic elements in the community. It is therefore essential to consider the existence/non existence of the relation between institutions and citizens. PAR and the legislation cannot be developed without considering a constant process of information, dialogue and exchanges with citizens that will establish trust from both sides that will then allow the laws/provisions to have a certain chance of being implemented.
Actors for democracy: civil society versus local authorities. Mistakenly, often, decentralised cooperation (but not only) considers elected representatives as the only “pure” expression of local democracy. Indeed, it seems that the magic moment of the elections gives its blessing to all those who have been elected. Today, when representative democracy is going through a difficult period, we wonder how much elected representative could be the only democratic voice or actors, and therefore to be able to transmit these capacities in decentralised cooperation. Our basic assumption is that democratic civil society, governed by democratic rules and respectful of the criteria of the membership and financially accountable, is a real actor of democracy. Citizens participate with membership, with opinions and actions (often much more than it is the case in the political parties themselves). They could even participate in large, cross border movements, much wider and influential than the political parties themselves. Therefore, they could be considered fully, and without any doubts, real actors of democracy.
Local authorities and local communities are the most effective problem solvers if they have the possibilities to have their own decision-making and resources. The process of decentralisation and empowerment of local communities and the participative approach is one of the most challenging ones of these last years in the Eastern Partnership countries. Thanks to decentralised cooperation, which engages local authorities and local communities in international cooperation, it is possible to develop projects and activities that support local democracy and economic and social development. They are also creating strong links between communities and citizens, creating dialogue and trust.
On the initiative of the Mayor of the City of Gdansk, Poland, The European Association for Local Democracy ("ALDA") was asked to conduct a survey that revealed local issues and opinions with the help of the Local Democracy Agencies in Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine.
Local self-government outlines the right and the ability of local authorities, within the limits of the law, to regulate and manage a substantial share of public affairs. In a local democracy this right is
conferred to councils or assemblies composed of members freely elected by secret ballot and directly accountable to their own local constituency. This adheres to the principle of subsidiarity, which ensures that problems are addressed by those institutions and civil society groups that are most competent and closest to citizens.
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage; Considering that one of the methods by which this aim is to be achieved is through agreements in the administrative field; Considering that the local authorities are one of the main foundations of any democratic regime; Considering that the right of citizens to participate in the conduct of public affairs is one of the democratic principles that are shared by all member States of the Council of Europe; Considering that it is at local level that this right can be most directly exercised; Convinced that the existence of local authorities with real responsibilities can provide an administration which is both effective and close to the citizen;
In 2007, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the first Strategy for Cooperation of the Government with the Civil Society and the Action Plan 2007-2011. There, the Government emphasized the importance of the civil society in general, thereby setting the ground for its cooperation with CSOs and took a systematic approach in strengthening the basic conditions for a faster and more efficient development of this sector. The Strategy refers to the cooperation with associations and foundations, as part of the wider civil society sector, with the aim of ensuring inclusive
process and engagement of the civil society in policy making processes. In the period following the adoption of the Strategy, a number of activities were undertaken, each with the aim of implementing the goals and measures and strengthening the sector. Following the example of that Strategy, a number of other strategies and documents were adopted, through which institutions on both a national and local level expressed their commitments to develop certain areas important for the work of the civil society and to include CSOs in inter-sectorial initiatives.
This law regulates: the competencies of the municipality; the direct participation of the citizens in the decision-making; the organization and work of the municipal bodies; municipal administration; acts of the authorities; property-ownership of the municipality; supervision over the work of the municipal bodies; dissolution of the municipal council; mechanisms of cooperation between the municipalities and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia; local government; protection of local self-government; determination of official languages in the municipalities and other issues of importance for the local self-government.
The main goal of the study is to inspect the mechanisms for cross-sectoral cooperation and dialogic mechanisms at the local level and on that basis to make a series of recommendations for further development of the methodology and transparent system of financial and non-financial support for CSOs, at the local level. Effective, functional and sustainable mechanisms for cooperation are a key precondition for creating an enabling environment for active participation of civil society and civic activism at the local level. These principles, of course, include basic principles: respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, respect for basic democratic principles, political engagement, clear procedures, and open space for dialogue and encouragement of conditions for an energetic, pluralistic and sustainable civil society.
How do the municipalities support CSOs? Has the cooperation between the local government and the civil sector improved? Which municipalities have publicly announced a call for projects? The publication "Research on the Financial and Non-Financial Support of Civil Society Organizations by the Local Authorities" contains the answers to these questions and much more.
Since the beginning of the decentralization process in 2005, several organizations have implemented programs to build the capacity of municipal bodies. With the last local elections in the country in 2017, the new municipal councils were established and the function of member / member of the council was taken over by a total of 1347 elected representatives in all 81 units of local self-government. Many of them took office for the first time. The OSCE Mission to Skopje throughout this period has been implementing programs to support elected representatives and representatives in municipal councils.
Kosovo's local self-government reform became a prominent issue in early October 2002, with the publication of the Seven Planning Points for Mitrovica by the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Michael Steiner. Steiner's plan was to decentralize local government in exchange for Kosovo Serb participation in the October 2002 local elections. Although the offer to the Serbian community was a dubious success in this regard, decentralization remained on the agenda, with the Secretary-General's Special Representative calling for a broader process involving all Kosovo municipalities.
This guide is intended to give funders a concise overview of an emerging field that increasingly impacts their work. I want to emphasize, however, that because democratic governance is so complex, diffuse, and diverse – and above all, because this work is changing and growing so rapidly – this guide cannot be considered an exhaustive description of the field, and it will be out of date very quickly.
This publication is prepared for the needs of the Institute for Human Rights "Ludwig Boltzmann" - BIM-FV, Skopje, within the project "Social Inclusion and Human Rights in Macedonia". The project aims to address the human rights-based approach to poverty reduction and social exclusion at the national and local levels, which includes identifying vulnerable groups, their direct involvement in decision-making processes that will affect their lives, such as and establishing a system for monitoring and accountability of holders of liabilities. The subject of this analysis was determining the situation, ie the needs in terms of social inclusion at the local level in the following six municipalities: Stip, Prilep, Kicevo, Saraj, Caska and Radovish.
The spectacular advance of local and regional democracy was the main innovation of 20th century democracy. The recognition of local democracy by the Council of Europe member states led to the elaboration of the European Charter of Local Self-Government – the first internationally binding treaty that guarantees the rights of communities and their elected authorities. This text, which affirms the role of communities as the first level for practising democracy, has become the benchmark international treaty in this area.
One of the most effective mechanisms for increasing the participation and involvement of citizens in the management process and for improving the stability and security of communities is decentralization. Decentralization is a process that requires a sustainable and organized commitment of the institutions involved at the local and central level. This process entails the constant adjustment of the relations between the various participants through constant dialogue and communication.