Belgrade, 29 February 2024

Support for 12 Local Governments to Enhance the Application of Good Governance Principles

The ceremony event to mark the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) and 12 local self-governments selected with the aim to enhance capacities needed for the application of good governance principles in everyday practice, was organised on February 29, 2024 in Belgrade, with the support of the Swiss Government through the joint UN Programme "PRO - Local Governance for People and Nature".

Specialised municipal support packages to enhance the application of good governance principles at the local level will be implemented in three areas – administrative efficiency and effectiveness (to be conducted in Arilje, Veliko Gradište, Kosjerić, Temerin and Ćuprija), citizen participation and transparency (to be conducted in Bogatić, Boljevac, Kuršumlija, Mionica and CM Pantelej-Niš), as well as accountability and prevention of corruption (to be conducted in Vrbas and Vrnjačka Banja).

State Secretary in the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Maja Mačužić Puzić congratulated the selected local governments in which support packages will be implemented, highlighting that the Ministry has recognised the significance of the project, as the application of good governance principles improves the quality of citizens lives as well.

"Our role is to support, strengthen and facilitate the application of good governance principles at the local level, and since cities and municipalities are the closest place for exercising the rights and interests of citizens, it is important to ensure that the services provided by local government are efficient and effective, and decision-making processes transparent, accountable and, most importantly, engaging citizens. I expect that in this way we will encourage local self-governments to be even more prominent in carrying out tasks and providing high-quality, simple and fast services to end users, because good governance is key to improving the quality of life of citizens. Today's signing of the memorandums of understanding represents one of the key stages in the realisation of our common vision - which is a modern, professional, efficient and accountable local self-government", said Mačužić Puzić.

Melina Papageorgiou, Head of Governance Domain of the Embassy of Switzerland, stated that Switzerland has been supporting local governments in Serbia for more than 15 years and emphasised the importance of cooperation with the MPALSG and SCTM in the process of local governance reform.

"Centrepiece of the reform is the application of good governance principles, which are crucial for achieving prosperity, the development of democracy and stability in a society. The SDC is committed to promoting good governance principles, primarily by strengthening local governments' capacities to apply the principles, which will result in better and more inclusive public services, participatory decision-making and the improvement of the quality of life of citizens”, said Papageorgiou.

Good Governance Officer at the Programme PRO - Local Governance for People and Nature, Maida Jusufović, pointed out that Programme activities contribute to the improved functioning of the public sector, more efficient provision of services, and the creation of expertise and teams in local governments that continuously work on the topic of good governance.

Secretary General of SCTM Nikola Tarbuk emphasised that SCTM gives great importance to the subject of good governance and the practical application of the principles on which it rests, as well as that SCTM is committed to empowering municipalities and cities, so that they constantly implement these principles in their practice.

SCTM provides municipal support packages within the Programme "PRO - Local Governance for People and Nature", which is jointly implemented by the United Nations Agencies in Serbia - UNOPS, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNEP, in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, and with the financial support of the Government of Switzerland.