A conference on the challenges of balanced regional development, exchange of experiences and good practices was held today in the organization of the Ministry of Local Self-Government and the Center for Development of the Polog Planning Region with the support of the Swiss Government.

The Deputy Minister of Local Self-Government Dejan Pavleski, Mayors from the Polog Planning Region, representatives from the Center for Development, as well as domestic experts and experts from Albania and Kosovo participated in the Conference.

Deputy Minister Pavleski talked about the priorities of the Ministry of Local Self-Government in the function of improving the legal framework and preparing a new strategic document for the next ten years.

- The policy of balanced regional development in the country is being implemented since 2009, when the first Regional Development Strategy was prepared, two years after the adoption of the Law. However, in the past decade, no major progress was made in terms of reducing the developmental differences between the capital, Skopje and other parts of the country. On the contrary, the differences are deepened between the planning regions and between the municipalities, especially between urban and rural municipalities, Pavleski said.

Pavleski informed that with financial support from the Program for Balanced Regional Development of the Ministry of Local Self-Government, at present, in the eight planning regions, 43 projects are implemented, and at yesterday's session, the Government adopted the Decision for financing new 74 rural development projects and areas with specific developmental needs.

-In the mandate of this Government, the funds for encouraging balanced regional development are increasing each year. In 2019, they have doubled in terms of budget 2017 and amount to 423 million denars or 7 million euros.

This tendency will continue, but not only as a physical transfer of more funds for the realization of projects, but also by increasing the effects, through greater coordination and monitoring of the movement of budget and donor funds to the planning regions, Pavleski said.

The Conference on the Challenges of Equitable Regional Development and Sharing of Experiences and Good Practices is organized within the Swiss Government Support Project: Sustainable and Inclusive Balanced Regional Development is one of the eight that is held in the eight planning regions.