“Support of the Swiss Government, through previous programmes as well as through the ongoing Swiss PRO programme, is in line with the aspirations and endeavours of the Government of Serbia and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government to make the public administration a modern service for citizens and businesses alike. Through constant work on development of internal processes this service is continually improved in terms of raised awareness and transparency, more citizen participation and increased efficiency and effectiveness of action,” said Mr. Branko Ruzic, Minster of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, emphasizing the pleasure for having such a great number of local self-governments united over a common goal – good local governance.
Minister Ruzic reminded the audience that in early 2018 the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government developed the Local Governance Performance Index providing an objective overview of the situation and specific recommendations for improvement of the work of local self-governments, while the Swiss PRO programme, in cooperation with these institutions worked particularly on the improvement of local self-government actions in accordance with the good governance principles.
“As we know from our experience, there is a strong link between the development and good governance. That is why in the following years you will be expected to further share your knowledge and experience and support the efforts to achieve progress in the area of good governance” said Minister Ruzic to the local self-governments.
“We are aware that good governance poses a great challenge today but, at the same time, it is quite beneficial for the local community and its economy. Good governance is a precondition for development – we know that very well from the Swiss experience of over 200 years”, said Ms. Ursula Läubli, the Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office, Embassy of Switzerland to the Republic of Serbia.
“When we talk about good governance, we refer to more equitable services of better quality for all citizens” stated Ms. Ursula Läubli, underlining that “through signing of the memorandum we wish to open a dialogue with you about these demanding issues and to encourage your participation.”
Good governance centres were established in 23 municipalities in the previous period with support from the Swiss Government. The already built local resources will be important for other local self-governments that are just now embarking on the process of introduction of good governance principles in their local administrations.
“Compliance with the good governance principles in the operations pertaining to the competence of the local self-government units is the precondition and the key to establish trust by the citizens and businesses regarding the local self-government work”, said Mr. Djordje Stanicic, Secretary-General of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities that has been implementing part of the activities in the area of good governance in partnership with the Swiss PRO programme.
“Together with our partners, Governments of Switzerland and the Republic of Serbia, and particularly with local self-governments and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, UNOPS has been working on streamlining the good governance principles into the everyday practice contributing to the efforts of the Republic of Serbia to reform the public sector and increase the well-being of our society”, said Mr. Marko Vujacic, Head of Programme in the UNOPS in Serbia. He added that UNOPS had significant experience in Serbia regarding the work with the local self-governments and that good governance was the important segment of that work while the signing the Memorandum of Understanding created foundations to raise those efforts to an even higher level.
“Throughout this process and partnership the municipalities invest their most precious resources – human resources to conduct the reforms together and improve local communities”, said Ms. Ana Nedeljkovic Belja, National Programme Manager of the Swiss PRO programme. She explained that the Memorandum provided the framework for cooperation based on which the programme supported by the Swiss Government, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities would be working on local capacity building in order to apply the good governance principles in everyday work as well as to empower the existing local good governance teams. There would be particular focus on improvement of eGovernment. Good governance would be applied in practice through municipal support packages in order to initiate local governance reforms. The good governance activities in infrastructural projects – the trademark area of Swiss PRO – will continue as well.