Institutional Support to Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities

Project completed

SDC is providing an institutional contribution to the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) to lead policy dialogue, advocacy and represent interests of local governments (LGs) before the central government in policy and law making. SCTM will promote decentralisation in Serbia together with the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self Government, and support its member LGs to implement adopted laws and pursue reforms, ultimately bringing benefits to all citizens, men and women, in all sectors governed by LG.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Democratic participation and civil society
Public sector policy
01.10.2018 - 31.12.2022
CHF  3’600’000
Background Serbia is a fairly decentralized country, without the middle government tier. The political consensus on decentralisation does not exist. Regional disparities are high and ¼ of the population is at risk of poverty. Implementation of laws is a challenge due to the gap between central and local level. The only organization effective in bridging this gap has been the national association of local governments – SCTM. It has represented local governments (LG) interests before central authorities, as well as facilitated implementation of adopted laws in municipalities.
Objectives National policies and legislation better address the needs of local governments which are more efficient, accountable and responsive to all citizens.
Target groups

Direct target groups: SCTM, member LGs, central authorities and other government institutions 

Indirect target groups: All citizens men and women, private and civil sector.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: LGs influence national policy making and Government increasingly considers interests of LGs which ensure rights and services to all citizens, men and women at the local level

Outcome 2: LGs strengthen capacity to implement public policies/legislation and key local competences, leading to more accountable, efficient and better managed LG that ensure rights and provide adequate and inclusive services


Expected results:   Advocacy in policy making and improved LG capacities support priority reforms at the local level (HR development, organizational reforms, program budgeting, public property management, inter-municipal cooperation, public procurement, local public policy planning, education, housing, urban planning and others). SCTM is institutionally strengthened and empowered to advocate for further decentralization and LG reform.

Results from previous phases:   With the Swiss contribution of CHF 3.6 mio in institutional support, SCTM ensured additional CHF 31 mio for LGs, which is an over 860% return of investment. SCTM lobbying contributed to the adoption of first law on human resources management at the local level, which on average increased HR management capacity of local administrations by 40%. The government adopted a new General Administrative Procedure Law introducing electronic data exchange in public administration. It ensured more transparency and streamlined burdensome administrative procedures.

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

Other partners
Standing conference of Towns and Municipalities
Coordination with other projects and actors The Government, Parliament, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self Government, sectoral ministries, Exchange 5 (EU financed), RELOF (SECO financed), SwissPRO (SDC financed), HR reform at local level (Council of Europe) and others.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    3’458’090
Project phases

Phase 3 01.10.2018 - 31.12.2022   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.05.2014 - 30.09.2018   (Completed) Phase 1 01.01.2010 - 30.11.2014   (Completed)