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Swiss PRO
  • Government of the Republic of Serbia
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM)

News / Actualities

The Swiss government contributed to the improved quality of life for nearly 60,000 people in Serbia through the Swiss PRO Programme

  • Belgrade, 16 September 2022

Improved local governance, better access to public services through the advancement of eGovernment, strengthened capacities of local self-governments to provide services and work with citizens, as well as improved socio-economic position of more than 15,000 people from vulnerable groups and enhanced local gender equality mechanisms throughout Serbia, are just some of the results achieved over the previous four years by the Swiss PRO Programme in cooperation with local and national partners, and with the support of the Swiss Government.

At the final event of the Swiss PRO Programme entitled the "Drivers of Change", which was held in Belgrade on 16 September 2022, representatives of supported local self-governments were awarded plaques for the contribution they made to the advancement of good governance, social inclusion and gender equality at the local level in the period from 2018 to 2022. The results were also presented in a video about the impact of the Programme, while the Swiss PRO Final Publication was shared to all participants.

"Swiss PRO has supported local governments to provide additional and better services to their citizens in a more equitable, efficient and effective manner. The Programme has successfully supported local authorities in implementing a number of key and pressing reforms, including improving accountability and transparency in the execution of public affairs", highlighted H.E. Urs Schmid, the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Serbia.

In addition to extending gratitude to the Swiss PRO team at UNOPS and national partners, the Ambassador underscored in particular the commitment of local self-governments and other local stakeholders who, with their efforts, work and ideas, devotedly worked to improve the quality of life in local communities.

The results and the impact of the Swiss PRO were presented by the representatives of the key Programme partners, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs, the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, and the UNOPS Serbia.

"It has been a joint effort, involving not only the ministries and SCTM, but also local self-governments and civil society, and I am proud to say that our joint initiatives have produced tangible results. We stand ready to continue working in local governance with the support of donors and partners", said Michela Telatin, Director of the UNOPS Serbia Multi-Country Office.

Swiss PRO has contributed to the application of good governance principles in the daily work of local self-governments, thus achieving visible system-wide changes. As many as 446 local regulations have been developed, which are implemented in 62 cities and municipalities, which have enhanced the conduct of public affairs and the provision of services to citizens.

"The support of the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss PRO Programme is of great importance because it has fundamentally contributed to the efforts of the Government of Serbia and
the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government to turn the public administration into a modern service for citizens and businesses", said Aleksandar Trivić Lovčanski, Special Adviser to the Minister with Chief of Staff competences, on behalf of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.

Special attention was focused on better access to eServices through the improvement of eGovernment in 70 cities and municipalities, and new eServices have been developed, enabling the population to quickly and easily access certain rights and services falling with the purview of local administrations, such as the issuance of information on location, filing of requests for compensation of wages/salaries during maternity leave and others.

The Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) was a partner to UNOPS in the implementation of part of the Swiss PRO Programme’s activities in the field of ​​good governance at the local level.

"With the support of the Swiss PRO Programme, cities and municipalities have streamlined and successfully adopted the procedure for involving citizens in the process of drafting local budgets. Through our cooperation, the SCTM has also significantly improved its own capacities, a service has been created to support the development of good governance in all local self-governments, and we have formed a community of knowledge, resources and partner support", said Nikola Tarbuk, SCTM Secretary General.

Swiss PRO has significantly improved the capacities of local self-governments for planning and implementing social protection services, and partnerships established between civil society organizations and local institutions have contributed to a better and more efficient response to the needs of vulnerable groups in local communities. Better access to public services in the field of social protection, health care and education has been ensured for vulnerable groups, with special attention being devoted to children and young people, persons with developmental disabilities, older persons and persons belonging to the Roma national minority.

"The greatest result of the Programme is change in people’s lives for the better. Swiss PRO has substantially contributed to the enhancement of local self-governments’ capacity to implement policies, and the improvement of access to social protection services. It has left its mark because it also provided comprehensive support to civil society organizations, as an important capacity for the provision of social protection services at the local level", said Biljana Zekavica, Assistant Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.

The activities of the Programme in the field of gender equality at the local level included the development and implementation of gender equality policies. Support was provided to local initiatives that contributed to the increase of women’s participation in decision-making processes as well as their improved position in local communities, especially in rural areas.

"Through the approach and relationships that the Swiss PRO team has built with local and national partners, we have shown that we are ready for and resistant to the challenges surrounding the implementation of such development programmes. This was particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we provided additional assistance with the support of the Swiss government to the most vulnerable groups in local communities," said Ana Nedeljković Belja, National Manager of the Swiss PRO Programme.

The Programme Enhancing Good Governance and Social Inclusion for Municipal Development – Swiss PRO was implemented with the support of the Government of Switzerland in cooperation with the Government of Serbia by the UNOPS Serbia in partnership with the SCTM in 99 cities and municipalities from the Regions of Šumadija and Western Serbia and Southern and Eastern Serbia. 

More information on results of the technical support to local self-governments and 170 projects implemented within the Swiss PRO is available on the Programme Results section.