Ten municipalities and cities to receive modern development plans

By April 2023, ten cities and municipalities will draw up modern, long-term development plans and highlight in one place the vision, goals and measures for faster economic progress and the creation of better living and working conditions for citizens and businesses in their communities. Along the way, they will have the professional mentoring assistance of NALED and the Balkan Center for Regulatory Reform, as well as the support of the Republic Secretariat for Public Policies, within the project financed through the German Development Cooperation implemented by GIZ.

Strategic documents will be prepared during the implementation of activities “Support to capacity building and development of local development plans”, and the start of work today was made official by signing a Memorandum of Understanding between project partners and leaders of 10 local governments, selected through a public call – Despotovac, CSO Palilula from Nis. Ivanjica, Kladovo, Loznica, Ljig, Smederevo, Subotica, Velika Plana and Zajecar.

– I would like to congratulate all municipalities and cities that are starting today to develop local development plans with the support of the German Development Cooperation, GIZ and partners. This will improve local governments’ strategic planning, but also make it more transparent and focused on the needs of their residents. This is especially important at the local level, where public administration is in direct contact with citizens – said the director of GIZ in Serbia, Daniela Funke.

The local development plan is adopted for a period of at least seven years and its adoption is the obligation of cities and municipalities under the Law on Planning System. Each plan must contain an overview of the current situation in various areas such as infrastructure, natural resources, health care, education, tourism, agriculture and the like. Based on these data, development opportunities are created, priority goals are pursued and a description of measures that will be further elaborated in other public policy documents.

The process of adopting the plan should be transparent and include all stakeholders, associations of citizens and businesses from local governments, which is a priority of this project, as well as encouraging inter-municipal cooperation. During the project, 10 expert workshops will be organized for the preparation of plans and joint meetings during which municipalities will have the opportunity to exchange experiences and practices in this area.

– The Republic Secretariat for Public Policies is one of the most important actors in the process of capacity building for planning and coordination of public policies at all levels, in accordance with the Law on Planning System. Most cities and municipalities have so far fulfilled their obligations and adopted development plans, but we still have a significant number of those who have not done so and who need expert support. However, it should be emphasized that the development plan is much more than a legal obligation. I would like to emphasize that a comprehensive planning document is the basis for local socio-economic development. It must be realistically grounded. Everyone will benefit from the development plans: first of all, the citizens, and then the entire economy, civil society associations, as well as city and municipal administrations. The goal of the entire reform of the planning system is to improve the competitiveness of the economy and increase the standard of living at both the national and local levels – said Bojana Tošić, Director of RSJP.

NALED Executive Director Violeta Jovanović emphasized that the existence of a local development plan is a precondition for local governments to create business conditions tailored to the economy.

– Adoption of the strategy and formation of the Economic Council as a body within which the local government will directly and regularly communicate with businesses, jointly solve challenges and plan development measures are part of the criteria for successful passage through the Certification Program for Municipalities in Southeast Europe. It is a seal of quality that as a local government you have a modern administration that systematically and efficiently encourages the development of the existing economy, which is the largest employer in every municipality and creates conditions for new investments that bring growth – said Jovanovic.

“Support to capacity building and development of local development plans” is part of the activities of the project of German-Serbian development cooperation “Support to public administration reform in the process of accession to the European Union”, which is implemented by GIZ. The activity is carried out by NALED and the Balkan Center for Regulatory Reform, in cooperation with the Republic Secretariat for Public Policies.