The awards to local governments for their contribution to accessibility development were presented, for the third time, by the Ombudsman of the Republic of Serbia in cooperation with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities. Currently, approximately 571.000 citizens in Serbia (8% of the total population) have some kind of disability and are facing several barriers in terms of accessing public buildings and services.
The town of Svilajnac received recognition for continuous work on accessibility development, while commendations for participation in this year's competition were given to the towns of Vrsac, Vranje, Zrenjanin and Novi Pazar, the city municipality of Pantelej in Nis, the city municipality of Savski venac in Belgrade, and the municipalities of Mionica, Bela Palanka, Raska, Vrnjacka Banja and Paracin.
“Realizing the full accessibility of settlements is a long-term and developmental process which all municipalities and cities go through, more or less successfully,” said Olja Jovicic, Secretary-General of the of the Expert Service - Protector of Citizens.
Aleksandar Bogdanovic, Coordinator for European Affairs and International Cooperation in the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, pointed out that the main goal of the Team was precisely to achieve conditions which would allow every citizen of the country to realize their full potential.
Ivan Milivojevic, Deputy Secretary General of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, said that this year the goal was to support initiatives which represented strategic thinking about accessibility, as well as initiatives which involved beneficiaries.
The initiative has been realized within the project “Support to Improve Social Inclusion in the Republic of Serbia”, implemented by the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit with the support of the Government of Switzerland amounting of 4.5 million EUR during the period 2018-2021.