Civil Society and Municipalities Together for a Better Life

05 November 2010, Vranje

The European Partnership with Municipalities Programme - PROGRES held the final presentation of the public call for proposals for the funding of projects that are the result of partnership between civil society organisations and local governments. The European Union and Government of Switzerland will set aside EUR 400,000 of support to the winning projects..Eligible civil society organisations and local governments are those based in 25 municipalities of South and South West Serbia included in PROGRES.    

The funding for the projects will be provided through the Citizen Involvement Fund, established within PROGRES, with the aim of funding small, good quality initiatives for the improvement of the quality of life in the local community. The projects may promote equality and non-discrimination, support youth, environmental protection, rural development and the like. Projects seeking to improve the position of vulnerable and marginalized social groups will receive preference in the evaluation process, and the maximum amount granted per project will be EUR 10,000.

The Fund also strives to strengthen the cooperation between the civil society and local government, and the involvement of citizens as an important principle of good governance.

“Why partnership between the civil society and local governments? Because it is the citizens that can invest their knowledge, energy and time to assist their municipalities to recognise the needs, develop public policies, and deal with certain issues. This resource is often neglected, but without citizen involvement there cannot be any good governance”, said Aleksandra Radetić, Deputy Manager of PROGRES.  

The Citizen Involvement Fund  is one of a range of PROGRES activities that should help municipalities better comply with good governance principles in their work: transparency, responsibility, citizen involvement, efficiency and effectiveness.

In addition to the work in the area of good governance, PROGRES, whose implementation began in July 2010, will in the nex three years help partner municipalities to improve infrastructure, increase the quality of services provided to their citizens and businesses, and promote their development potentials. Strategically, PROGRES supports the efforts of the Government of Serbia to modernize administration, reduce differences between the richer and poorer parts of the country, and integrate it into the European Union.

The European Union set aside EUR 13.5 million, the Government of Switzerland EUR 2.5 million, and the Government of Serbia participates with no less than EUR 1.5 million. PROGRES activities are also expected to secure additional funds, primarily through ministries, for the development of the South and South-West.