Empowering Municipal Councils


Municipal Councils have, according to the legislation, a very important role to play in local governance. However, councillors often lack the necessary knowledge to fulfil their responsibilities. Through the project, capacities of councillors will be enhanced, citizen participation in decision making promoted and legal framework adjusted, enabling councillors to fulfil their role and to become more independent from the executive branch.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Macedonia
Governance
Decentralisation
01.04.2022 - 31.03.2027
CHF  3’636’000
Background The decentralization process in North Macedonia is considered as one of the bedrocks of country’s stability. Broader decentralization was initiated with the Ohrid Framework Agreement in 2001, which transferred many statutory responsibilities to the municipal level, including primary and secondary education, culture, social and communal services. However, the 81 units of local selfgovernment lack funds, skills and human resources to fully handle their functions. This is further jeopardized by the dominant role of the mayors which reduces the role of councillors to rubber stamp the priorities and policies set by the executive. Financial dependence from the central government increase the vulnerability of the municipalities in terms of party politics interference and clientelist relations. Lack of citizen participation and marginalization of local CSOs further jeopardizes the accountability and transparency of the local authorities. The overcoming of these weaknesses is crucial in transforming the relationship between central and local governance and in enhancing accountability of local authorities, which has so far been hindered by a strong dependency on partisan interests.
Objectives The overall objective of the project is to strengthen local self-governments through empowered municipal councils that are capable to effectively fulfil their assigned roles of representation and oversight of the executive branch of the municipalities.
Target groups The direct beneficiaries of the project are the municipal council members and its constituent committees. Indirect beneficiaries are the Mayors, the municipal administration, the Ministry of Local Self-government (MLSG) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The end beneficiaries will be around 1 million citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia living in 40 municipalities to be covered by the project
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: Municipal Councils’ performance will be improved systematically and sustainably, and the system of local government will be further strengthened and advanced;

Outcome 2: Citizens participation mechanisms is supported to sustain the local democracy and improve quality of life for both women and men;

Outcome 3: Municipal services will be improved by leveraging technology and innovation.

Results

Expected results:  

  • Capacity Development Programme upgraded and delivered to a minimum of 580 municipal officials (councillors, mayors and administration) (min. one-third women);
  • Existing models for cooperation and coordination between the councillors, the mayors, and the municipal administrations re-designed and new ones established;
  • At least 4 inter-municipal cooperation partnerships established;
  • Modernization of service delivery through digitalization of business processes and services will be introduced in two municipalities (pilot);
  • Minimum 25 Community Forums moderators will be certified or recertified;


Results from previous phases:  

  • Active transparency in the 24 participating municipalities has improved in average by 14.28 percentile points (67,53% in 2020 compared to 53,25% in 2016);
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools for improving transparency and accountability were introduced in 24 municipalities;
  • over 8.000 citizens actively participated in Community Forums sessions (48% female) and prepared 99 project proposals, out of which 33 projects were implemented;
  • 421 municipal officials have increased their capacities to cope with their local governance responsibilities (36% female and 64% male);
  • 11 municipalities incorporated Community Forums (CF) in their statutes (bringing the total of 67 municipalities);
  • All 24 participating municipalities budgeted annual action plans for enhancing gender equality;
  • Over 95% of municipal councilors (1.280 out of the total of 1.347 councilors) created their personal accounts on the e-knowledge platform where they can find information related to their work, such as ecourses, laws, sub-laws, etc.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • United Nations Development Programme


Other partners
  • UNDP
Coordination with other projects and actors Synergies will be established with the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) as representative of civil society supported by the project Civica Mobilitas, UN Women, Gender Responsive Budget (partner of the project), Nalas, BRD, DRR and PSP.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’636’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    486’000
Project phases Phase 2 01.04.2022 - 31.03.2027   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.07.2014 - 31.03.2022   (Completed)