The Regional Program for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans 2 (ReLOaD2) is a continuation of EU-supported initiatives - Local Democracy Strengthening Project (LOD, 2009-2016) and the subsequently expanded Regional Program for Local Democracy in the Western Balkans (ReLOaD, 2017-2020).
As the previous ones, this project is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). ReLOaD2 will continue to be implemented in the Western Balkans, in particular Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo*, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
In the Western Balkans, the collaboration between local governments (LG) and civil society organizations (CSOs) is still underdeveloped. Lack of transparency in financing of CSOs out of public sources is perceived as one of the main obstacles for the development and functioning of civil society, given that there is no clear responsibility in the distribution and spending of these funds. Models in use are often insufficient and discriminatory, do not contribute to positioning and stronger influence of civil society in communities and delay further development of participatory democracy.
The overall objective of the project is to strengthen participatory democracies and 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.
The specific objective of the project is to strengthen partnerships between local authorities and civil society in the Western Balkans, by scaling a successful model of transparent project funding of CSOs (LOD methodology) from LGs budgets, which is aimed at greater civic and youth participation in decision-making processes and at improved service delivery in local communities.
Working across the region, ReLOaD2 will improve the capacity of LGs and CSOs to engage in productive partnerships and contribute to improving service delivery and realization of local priorities in line with development strategies. It will encourage local authorities to use public funding of CSOs in a transparent and development-oriented manner, recognizing local needs and adopting a project-based approach. Also, the programme will promote the engagement of youth and provide support with the implementation of youth initiatives, while also working to improve their economic prospects in partner localities.
[*] For UNDP all references to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of the UN Resolution 1244/1999.