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At the event, representatives of 32 local governments from Šumadija, from west, east and south Serbia were awarded certificates for successfully attending the good governance training and training of trainers, organised in the previous two years under the Swiss PRO Programme supported by the Government of Switzerland in cooperation with the Government of Serbia.
"Through the training process delivered by the Swiss PRO Programme, an effective tool has been provided for the implementation of good governance principles. Citizen-friendly administration is possible only with strong synergy at the national and local levels. We have high expectations of our colleagues from local self-governments, and the support they receive in order to acquire new skills and knowledge is very important", said Mila Stanković, Head Of Department for Projects at the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government’s Sector for International Cooperation and EU Integration.
The Government of Switzerland has been committed to humanitarian and development cooperation with Serbia for 30 years, and a good part of that support concerns local self-governments, said etar Vasilev, National Programme Officer, Swiss Cooperation Office.
"The promotion of good governance aims to improve the quality of services at the local level, and thus the quality of life of citizens. It is the core of professionals that you make that contributes to disseminating knowledge about the good governance principle and thus to the development of local communities. We are working on continuing to support you in the future," Vasilev said.
Dejan Miletić, National Academy of Public Administration Acting Director, pointed out that improving the performance of public administration is a common goal, and strengthening the capacity of civil servants is a key step on that path.
"Knowledge is increased only by sharing, and I am glad that it is the dissemination of knowledge that brought us all together. The National Academy is a home away from home for all employees in local self-governments, do become its active members and strengthen our operations, as well as your capacities", stated Miletić and announced further cooperation with the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss PRO Programme.
Through two cycles of trainings in which 55 cities and municipalities have participated so far, the Swiss PRO Programme has established a network of professionals dealing with the topic of good governance, said Ana Nedeljković Belja, Swiss PRO Programme national manager.
"In addition to all the challenges that exist, we can make positive social changes at the local level, as evidenced by the network of professionals which is the most important resource for local development. The most important thing is to transfer the acquired knowledge further within the local self-governments and among colleagues from the public administration, to which the training of trainers we organised also contributes", stated Nedeljković Belja.
Speaking about the process of building good governance capacity at the local level, the Swiss PRO Programme Good Governance Advisor Dragan Mladenović stated that the way of thinking about this area had changed during the previous decade.
"From a practically unknown concept for most local self-governments, we have come to a network of experts who we have supported in adopting an approach to exercising public authority that makes it more responsible, transparent, closer to citizens, more efficient and effective. We are proud that these experts have become a permanent resource which municipalities consult in the development of local policies and projects", stated Mladenović.
Nenad Jovanović from the Municipality of Lebane, trainee from the first cycle of trainings, stated that in addition to knowledge in the field of good governance and training skills, an added value was the exchange of experience with colleagues from other local self-governments. As an example of the changes brought about by the application of the good governance principle, he stated that the Municipality of Lebane had recently provided material and legal support to all women who had reported domestic violence.
Jasmina Štrbac from the municipality of Veliko Gradište, trainee from the second cycle of trainings, stated that the two-year support of the Swiss PRO Programme contributed to the municipality establishing a good governance working group and including this area in the municipal development plan as one of the strategic goals. She also considers the training of trainers to be especially important, because conditions have been created for the transfer of knowledge not only to colleagues from the municipality, but also to other local self governments.
The video on the importance of the trainings was shown during the event.
The Swiss PRO Programme, with the support of the Government of Switzerland, organised training on the practical application of good governance from June 2019 to May 2021 for representatives of 32 local governments, and, in September 2021, organised a training of trainers for 26 training participants who had expressed interest in further training.
Representatives of the following local self-governments received the certificates: Aleksinac, Bajina Bašta, Bogatić, Ćuprija, Dimitrovgrad, Gornji Milanovac, Jagodina, Knić, Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Krupanj, Lapovo, Loznica, Majdanpek, Negotin, Niš, Prijepolje, Rača, Rekovac, Šabac, Smederevska Palanka, Sokobanja, Svilajnac, Topola, Užice, Valjevo, Varvarin, Velika Plana, Veliko Gradište, Vrnjačka Banja, Žagubica and Zaječar.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of state institutions and civil society organisations, as well as officials from 23 local self-governments who had attended the first cycle of trainings delivered with the support of the Government of Switzerland.
The event was organised under the Programme “Enhancing Good Governance and Social Inclusion for Municipal Development – Swiss PRO", supported by the Government of Switzerland in cooperation with the Government of Serbia, and implemented by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in partnership with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM).