Innovative tools for more transparent municipalities in the country among the global winners of the Open Government Partnership

Seoul, December 16th, 2021

The innovative tools that enabled greater transparency and accountability of the municipalities in the country have been announced as one of the global winners of the Open Government Partnership Summit, which is being held from December 15 to 17 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

In a competition of more than 100 applications, the commitment for more transparent municipalities in North Macedonia won the third prize at European level for its impact on improving people's lives and the quality of democracy. It’s a group of tools that were created and put into operation in the past three years. They contributed to the improvement of fiscal transparency at local level, enabled live monitoring of the sessions of 18 municipalities, as well as direct engagement of the citizens in the decision-making process in 24 municipalities. The activities were implemented within the commitment "Establishment of new tools for improving the financial transparency and accountability of local self-government units", which is led by the Ministry of Local Self-Government.

The National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership initiative, which is been implemented since 2011, is the Ministry of Information Society and Administration.

"I would like to share that the Republic of North Macedonia has recognized results in the open government processes and the award received at the Global Summit is a real and sincere confirmation that the joint work and partnership of the Government, civil society and donor community provides functional and long-term solutions to challenges that we are facing as a society. Since joining this initiative in 2011, five action plans have been dedicated to the need for greater engagement and involvement of citizens in the decision-making process, introduction of higher standards of integrity and greater access to technology. The new 2021-2023 National Open Government Partnership Action Plan confirms the commitment for continuation of the dedicated public sector operation in the next period, which in partnership with stakeholders is expected to innovate and develop policies that meet the citizens’ needs in response to modern trends," emphasized Minister of Information Society and Administration, Jeton Shaqiri.

For his part, the Minister of Local Self-Government Goran Milevski stated:

"This global recognition is the result of many years of efforts and activities, which we have implemented together with our partners, in order to increase the openness of local governments, but also by more direct engagement of citizens in the process of working and decision-making in the municipalities where they live. In practice, the activities contributed to quick and easy data access on the implementation of municipal budgets, decision-making based on relevant and available data, as well as the implementation of projects of public interest proposed directly by citizens”, said the Minister of Local Self-Government, Goran Milevski.

The commitment for transparent municipalities was implemented within the project "Strengthening Municipal Councils", which is financially supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and whose main implementers are the Ministry of Local-Self Government, the Ministry of Finance and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

"The implementation of this commitment has shown that when citizens are present in the decision-making process and financial planning, the effectiveness and efficiency of public services improves. Citizens' engagement in this process also contributes to the accountability and transparency of the authorities, as well as the trust between the local self-government and the citizens. Congratulations to North Macedonia for this recognition, namely I hope that it will encourage sustainable growth of these tools, and thus greater involvement of citizens in the decision-making process in the future, "said Veronica Ullman Marty, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of North Macedonia.

"UNDP is committed to developing local democracy and upgrading the capacity of municipalities, because we believe that this is a key prerequisite for sustainable development and better living conditions for all citizens. "This recognition is a " wind in the back " to sustain our goal so that the existing tools can be accepted by all local governments in the country, but also to create new innovative solutions for greater openness of municipalities to citizens," said Armen Grigoryan, UNDP Resident Representative.