Citizens decide on local development priorities during a community forum in the Municipality of Centar, Skopje

SKOPJE, 20.10.2021 – The group of innovative tools that have increased the transparency of the municipalities in the country are competing in the selection for the most influential commitment in Europe. It is the Open Government Awards, which is awarded globally as part of the tenth anniversary of the Open Government Partnership initiative. Voting will take place until 22 October, and support for the commitment to more transparent municipalities in the country can be given by all citizens, by voting on the Open Government Partnership website

These innovative tools were created and put into operation in the past three years, within the commitment "Establishing new tools to improve financial transparency and accountability of local self-government units." The most extensive activity resulted in the creation of an electronic tool which enables the municipalities to present to the citizens the financial operations and the execution of the budget in an understandable way. So far, a total of 39 municipalities have recognized the effectiveness and practicality of this tool, and data on all these municipalities are available on the website of the Ministry of Finance. This tool contributes to improving fiscal transparency and informed policy making at the local level. In addition, digital technologies were provided for a total of 18 municipal councils that enabled Council sessions to be broadcasted live on social media. The third activity, which was implemented in 24 municipalities, contributed for citizens’ direct involvement in the decision-making process, which resulted in the implementation of 33 projects primarily intended for vulnerable categories of citizens.

"The Ministry of Local Self-Government is the leader of the commitment with which new and innovative tools for quick and easy access to the data for the execution of the municipal budgets are implemented. Citizens can be informed about what their money is being used for, while municipalities increase their transparency and accountability. Practically, the benefit is great for everyone, because the citizens can influence, while their representatives in the municipal council can make decisions based on relevant and available data," said the Ministry of Local Self-Government.

National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership initiative, which has been implemented since 2011, is the Ministry of Information Society and Administration. The commitment to transparent municipalities is implemented by the Ministry of Local Self-Government in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Ministry of Finance, ZELS, UN Women, the Association of Financial Workers and Partner Municipalities, within the project "Empowering Municipal Councils", which is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

"The development of local democracy is one of the goals to which UNDP is committed, thus encouraging the transparency of municipalities. "Our goal and commitment in the upcoming period will be that activities implemented within this project to be accepted by all local self-governments in the country, as well as the introduction of new innovative tools that will contribute to greater openness of municipalities towards citizens," said the UNDP Office in Skopje.

If the commitment to more transparent municipalities is selected as one of the most influential in Europe, it will participate in the Global OGP Summit, which will be held in South Korea at the end of the year.

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