Institutional Support to Standing Conferenceof Towns and Municipalities
Serbia remains fairly centralized while local governments have limited capacities. Division of tasks, responsibilities and competencies between municipalities and central state is important. The Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM), association of local governments in Serbia, strives to overcome gaps between central and local level. SDC supports SCTM advocacy department to represent municipalities before the central government and support its members to implement policies and regulations.
Rule of Law - Democracy - Human rights
Legal and judicial development
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
- Swiss Private Sector
Serbia has progressed on the EU integration agenda by becoming a candidate country, and accession negotiations have opened in January 2014. The candidacy comes as recognition of an advanced reform process towards a full democracy and improved relations between Belgrade and Pristina. However, implementation of reformed laws is significantly lagging behind the law-making, and the economic crisis is taking its toll. While there are more than few decentralized competencies in Serbia, central to local financial transfers remain unpredictable, an impeding factor for local service delivery. Serbia stands before the challenge to achieve a coherent decentralization during the European integration process, and with respect to the European subsidiarity principle.
A coherent decentralization reform enables local authorities to act democraticaliy, accountably and independently in providing their public services, adjusted to the Citizens' interests and needs. The second phase of the institutional support to the Standing Conference directly links with the Associations' Strategy for 2014-2017 addressing strategic priorities for local governments in Serbia in view of the EU accession and domestic policy making. Strategie priorities are defined biannually through action plans covering six priority fields:
1) sustainable decentralization;
2) modem, responsible, participative and gender sensitive local government;
3) predictable municipal funding and municipal efficiency;
4) local economic and rural development;
5) integrated approach to social services;
6) local utilities, rational use of energy, environment and disaster relief.
Constituency of the Standing Conference, namely 167 local self-government units and ultimately all citizens of Serbia who experience benefit through democratic reforms.
(1) local governments are actively involved in and have influence on the decentralisation process (including European integration implications) and development of related national policies and regulations; their interests are represented in national bodies and social and political forums.
(2) SCTM is actively advocating for the implementation of adopted national policies and regulations with local governments and provides them with documented good practices, guidelines and expert support for implementation.
(1) ratification of the European subsidiarity principle and clear division of competencies between different government tiers; (2) local governments improve procedures thus raising level of participation, transparency and accountability; (3) more predictable and adequate municipal financing towards a functional fiscal decentralization; (4) improved rural and local economic development framework; (5) reforms leading to integrated provision of local social services (education, health, social welfare); (6) reform of local utility services, rational energy consumption, improved environment standards and disaster prevention.
Results from previous phases:
(1) SCTM was able to influence policies and laws favorable for local governments, and advocacy effectiveness reached 80%;
(2) Member towns and municipalities recognize SCTM as a true advocator of municipal interests; members actively engage in advocacy;
(3) Simulation tool for municipal finances has been developed. It is a powerful instrument for negotiating with the central government;
(4) SCTM institutionalized consultations with few government bodies (Ministry of Education, provincial parliament, EU negotiation groups);
(5) Visibility of SCTM within political, expert and public spheres considerably grew.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
International or foreign NGO
Other international programs working through the Standing Conference and respective government bodies.
|Coordination with other projects and actors||
SCTM will closely collaborate with:
• Serbien Office for European Integrations and EU negotiation teams
• Ministry of Regional Development and Local Self Government and other line ministries
• Ministry of Finance
• SECO supported projects: 1) regulatory reform at the local level and 2) sub national public finance management
• SCTM implemented Exchange IV program (EU IPA)
• Peer to peer support project for SCTM funded by Swedish International Development Agency
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 3’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 3’148’566|
Phase 2 01.05.2014 - 30.09.2018 (Completed)Phase 1 01.01.2010 - 30.11.2014 (Completed)