Institutional Support to Network of Associations of Local Authorities in South East Europe (NALAS)

Project completed

The final phase of SDC's support to the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe — NALAS, will focus on the institution's sustainability and on consolidating NALAS' expertise on decentralization. Engaging in strategic partnerships with regional and international networks and institution, NALAS will continue to provide knowledge, policy advice and smart services to local authorities in 12 countries in South East Europe to promote sustainable, inclusive and resilient communities across the region.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022
CHF  1’300’000
Background After the fall of communism in the South Eastern European countries (SEE), the reinforcement of local democracy and citizen participation became a clear necessity. Today NALAS is a network which brings together 14 National Local Government Associations (LGAs) representing 9000 local authorities, directly elected by 80 million citizens of the SEE region. The regional dimension of NALAS is of essential importance having in mind that this network includes members from countries that have been in open conflicts or from countries that have no diplomatic relations.
Objectives The people of South-East Europe enjoy democracy, regional stability and prosperity in smart, innovative, sustainable and inclusive communities. With the support of strong local governments, their associations Local Government's Associations (LGAs) and NALAS, citizens and businesses benefit from high quality and efficient services and adequate representation of their interests.
Target groups

The main target group are the 14 member LGAs from 12 countries, who are the drivers of decentralization in their respective countries.

The indirect target groups are the 9000 Local Governments in 12 countries who benefit from the knowledge exchange at the NALAS network through their LGAs. 

Medium-term outcomes

Project Purpose: Local governments in South East Europe are stronger and have created smart, sustainable, inclusive and resilient communities.

  • Local Governments in SEE have capacity to create sustainable communities based on smart and innovative growth through quality services and job creation
  • Decentralized cooperation contributes to stable, safe, inclusive and resilient SEE communities and regional cohesion
  • SEE Local Government Associations and Local Governments emerging needs are met by a unique knowledge and evidence based policy making and influence, through strategic regional and national partnerships
  • Networks' sustainability is ensured by using all NALAS potentials

Expected results:  

  • Develop a comprehensive concept for LGs sustainable development with the focus on citizen participation
  • Matchmaking platform for exchanging best models of Local Economic Development with the private sector
  • Promote concept for using Migration for development (attract diaspora investments, embrace returnees, integrate urban newcomers, etc.)
  • Promote the role of non-state actors for the cohesion of the region. Broadening NALAS Knowledge Centre services 

Results from previous phases:  

Peer learning methods such as Peer Review, Shadowing (on job learning exchanges among weaker and stronger member I-GAS) and Quick Response (requests by member I-GAS for collection of regional experiences in specific policy areas) as well as Association Development sessions produced over 20 concrete results in strengthening the functioning of LGAs.

NALAS thematic Task Forces have improved the discourse of intergovernmental dialogue at national level and have positioned the member LGAs to undergo new policy initiatives. The Quick Response (QR) Program has addressed 41 policy issues of which 25 national legal framework/policies have been amended using relevant policy experiences from other countries.

NALAS became Pillar Dimension Coordinator of the SEE 2020 Strategy which provides a regional cooperation framework to assist the 7 Western Balkans countries (Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro) to implement their individual development strategies, including EU accession related goals.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Swiss Private Sector

Coordination with other projects and actors Coordination with SDC decentralization programmes in the Western Balkans, i.e. LGAs in Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as with the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’300’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’281’867
Project phases

Phase 8 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022   (Completed)

Phase 7 01.07.2013 - 31.12.2027   (Current phase) Phase 6 01.08.2009 - 30.06.2013   (Completed)