30 municipalities to receive over EUR 1 million in small grants through EU-funded programSep 20, 2018
Over 100 people gathered at today’s workshop on “Integrated and Inclusive Local Development Planning” in Skopje.
This workshop was organized as part of the EUR 2.3 million “Improving Municipal Governance” project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Ministry of Local Self-Government, the Ministry of Finance and the Association of Local Self-Government Units (ZELS).
During the event, UNDP announced that the 30 municipalities currently facing the most difficult development challenges will receive a total of EUR 1,050,000 million in small grants. With UNDP support, each municipality will prepare an integrated and inclusive local development plan and then implement one EUR 26,000 project chosen as a priority in the plan.
The following 30 municipalities have been selected for the program: Berovo, Bogovinje, Bogdanci, Bosilovo, Centar Zupa, Cesinovo-Oblesevo, Cucer-Sandevo, Debrca, Demir Hisar, Dolneni, Konce, Krusevo, Lipkovo, Lozovo, Mavrovo-Rostuse, Novo Selo, Pehcevo, Rankovce, Resen, Rosoman, Staro Nagoricane, Studenicani, Sveti Nikole, Tearce, Vasilevo, Vevcani, Vinica, Vrapciste and Zrnovci.
In addition, the eight regional development centers will each receive EUR 33,750 to implement one priority project. The Southwest, Pelagonija, Polog and Southeast regions have all chosen focus on solving the stray dog problem. The Skopje and East regions will upgrade existing facilities designed to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to enjoy their right to a normal life in the community. The Vardar region will clean waste from the Topolka River and the Northeast will address public safety by installing energy-efficient lighting outdoors in locations viewed as particularly hazardous for women.
“Participating municipalities have been selected on the basis of both objective criteria, such as municipal income per capita, as well as the expressed commitment of the municipality to take an inclusive approach to development planning, to designate sufficient staff and to seek opportunities for inter-municipal cooperation,” said Local Self-Government Minister Suhejl Fazliu.
“Decentralization still falls short of its promise,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “Many responsibilities have been devolved to the local level without sufficient funds or staff capacities to deliver on them. Small and rural municipalities struggle the most. Through programs like this one, we aim to start transforming decentralization from a disappointment into a democratic dividend.”
“At municipal level you have a lot of tasks but not a lot of budget,” said Nicola Bertolini, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation. “That is why external support is so important. The EU has dozens of funding opportunities available, with 40% of the EUR 90 million that this country receives each year targeted to the local level. This new program is meant to help you seize these opportunities.”