Sjenica: revision of development strategy proves results

Sjenica: Development Strategy Yielding Results

24 December 2013, Hazbo Mujović

Sjenica is usually mentioned in the context of its harsh climate, underdevelopment and poverty, which are accompanied by descriptions of it as one of the largest municipalities in Serbia, since it covers a territory of over 1,000 km.

Significant changes have occurred in Sjenica's rural and urban settlements over the past five years, thanks to the traditionally good inter-ethnic relations, the political stability of the coalition spearheaded by the Party of Democratic Action of Sandžak (SDA), the Sandžak Democratic Party (SDP) and the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and the municipality’s well-designed development strategy and good organisation. A number of development projects have been successfully implemented with the support of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, foreign donors, various Funds and the European Union. Total investments in this period have exceeded 20 million EUR. Most of the funds have been invested in reconstructing the existing and building new road and utility infrastructure (local and regional roads, water and sewage network, village water pipeline, pump facilities and replacement of old and dangerous asbestos pipes in the town’s water pipeline).

We have regulated the Grabovica River bed and raised the level of the quay to prevent the reoccurrence of the 2009 disastrous floods. We contributed to improving the level of health care services by renovating the Out-Patient Health Clinic, procuring modern laboratory equipment and ambulance cars, opening a Dialysis Ward and investing in the medical staff. Significant funds have been invested in renovating the schools and providing transportation of the pupils. The premises of the future Agricultural College in Sjenica are currently being renovated. In addition to the existing sports-recreational centre, we’ve built new playing fields and completed most of the construction works on a modern Nordic and Alpine ski centre. The theatre/cinema hall has been reconstructed. In the area of welfare, we have focused on supporting needy citizens and developing house-call services to assist the elderly, children and persons with disabilities. The latter now have a new day centre. Significant funds have also been invested in agricultural and rural development, the strategic priority of Sjenica’s overall and economic development. Works on the construction and equipping of a state of the art laboratory for testing the quality of milk and dairy products within the Regional Centre for the Development of Agriculture have almost been completed.

We are attaching particular priority to opening new manufacturing and production facilities to address the high unemployment rates of young, educated and qualified people.

All of the above successes can be attributed to our well-designed 2010-2020 Sustainable Development Strategy and Action Plans, the significant and (increasing) support of national and international donors and the co-funding we have secured in the municipal budget.

Apart from its invaluable financial assistance, EU PROGRES has also helped us acquire new knowledge and start applying the good governance concept, which is prerequisite for success both during and after the investment stage.

Maybe everything I have written about may give rise to dilemmas about how realistic I am, considering the problems, underdevelopment and poverty we face on an everyday basis. But, lamenting is not the answer. The answer lies in our persistent and patient endeavours to change the situation and be at the disposal of the citizens, who expect nothing less from us.

Hazbo Mujović
Mayor of Sjenica

The attitudes outlined in this article represent personal beliefs of the author and do not necessarily reflect viewpoints of the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme, or the European Union, the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Serbia.

Please be informed that the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme – EU PROGRES was completed on 31 March 2014. If you would like to learn about the activities and results of the European PROGRES, which is a continuation of development support of the European Union and Government of Switzerland to the South East and South West Serbia, please visit