Moving towards a stable democracy and effective local governance remains among the most important objectives for Macedonia. Equitable regional development - given growing disparities along economic, political, ethnic and religious lines - and decentralization are important Government priorities for the period 2011-2015.
In the past period, the Swiss support in the area of rule of law and democracy resulted in improved municipal services, institutionalisation of the Community Forums, strengthened project management capacities of selected Civil Society Organisation (CSO) grantees and established a Parliamentary institute to improve Parliament’s law-making capacities and its ability to represent citizens adequately.
The actual Cooperation Strategy builds on continuity and capitalization of past experience as well as innovation, taking context changes into account. In the current context, Switzerland will therefore expand its capacity-building support for local government authorities and municipal councils, i.e. in fostering inter-municipal cooperation, participatory budgeting and strengthening Centres for Regional Development. Switzerland supports effective instruments such as performance-based grants, and will continue its strategic partnership with ZELS (Association of Local-self Governments). Switzerland will also continue its strong support for CSOs. While continuing to provide competitive grants, future interventions will emphasize constituency building to improve CSOs’ credibility and legitimacy in order for these organizations to engage in a critical and constructive partnership with the Government in developing, implementing and complying with laws and policies. The Parliamentary Institute is further supported to consolidate its research and analysis services and introduce other services.