The Ministry of Local Self-Government as the bearer of the policies of balanced regional development and sustainable local development and decentralization, with the support of UNDP and the Swiss Government prepared the new Strategy for Regional Development 2021-2031 which is in Parliamentary procedure, the Law on Balanced Regional Development which The Assembly adopted on January 27 this year the Program for Sustainable Local Development and Decentralization 2021-2026 with an Action Plan which are ready in the draft phase.

- Local elections should be held this year. It is fair for the new mayors to start their term with already defined rules of the game in terms of competencies and the means at their disposal for their execution, from the next budget year. Regarding the normative and strategic framework, I think that we have provided conditions for faster and sustainable development at local and regional level. With maximum engagement of the central and local authorities, but also with greater funds for development projects, together we can change the living conditions in all municipalities faster, said the Minister of Local Self-Government, Goran Milevski, at the consultation event with mayors and other municipal representatives.

According to Milevski, these are the three most important documents that determine the development in the coming period, and the Strategy and the Law and the Program were prepared by the Ministry of Local Self-Government in consultation with all stakeholders, ZELS, with municipalities, Development Centers, expert public and with the citizens. It is important that all parties involved are informed and contribute so that we can ensure quality implementation of both the Law and the Program.


The Ministry of Local Self-Government with the new Law on Balanced Regional Development envisages another Program which will finance projects to reduce disparities between and in the planning regions and which will encourage the competitiveness of the planning regions. Within this Program, construction activities will be supported to improve access to infrastructure at the level of planning regions and at the local level, as well as the preparation of analyzes, studies and project documentation.


- For the realization of the funds from this program, the public call will be announced by the Ministry of Local Self-Government, and besides the Centers for Development of Planning Regions and Municipalities, the public enterprises and public institutions established by the state and the municipalities will be able to apply for this call how and higher education and scientific institutions of citizens' and associations, explained Milevski.


Milevski stressed that the novelty is that with this law introduces a new category - urban areas, which are the municipalities and the city of Skopje.


- This means that in addition to the projects for development of the planning regions, for the development of the villages and for the development of the areas with specific development needs, projects for development of urban areas will be financed for which the municipalities based in the city can apply. These municipalities, unlike the rural ones, had their own specifics, which in accordance with the EU regulations should be additionally supported. The citizens will be obligatorily included in the selection of projects that will be financed with funds from the Budget of the Ministry and the Bureau by organizing Community Forums. Thanks to the suggestions of the citizens, we have realized many useful investment and innovative projects in all eight planning regions. We offer another new solution, it is the opportunity to apply with larger projects whose implementation will not be limited to just one year.


The program for sustainable local development and decentralization is ambitious, we focus on improving the normative framework, continuing with decentralization, deepening fiscal decentralization, digitalization of administrative services, improving social and communal services, encouraging local economic development, greater transparency and accountability, Milevski.


Finally, in his address at today's virtual workshop "Decentralization and Balanced Development" for the presentation of the new Law on Balanced Regional Development and the Program for Sustainable Local Development and Decentralization for the period 2021-2026 with Action Plan for the period 2021-2023, He also pointed out that at the proposal of the Ministry of Local Self-Government, the Government has established a working group at the political level whose task is to quickly create concrete conditions for the continuation of decentralization. The goal is to make a normative transfer of new competencies and new funding resources by September, based on the amended legal framework.