The NGO Info-centre, with partner organizations, members of the Forum for Civil Dialogue (FGD): Glasen Textilec from Shtip, Youth Cultural Center – Bitola, Spektar from Kriva Palanka, the Civic Initiative of Women from Sveti Nikole and the Community Center of Struga Municipality, during the period October – November 2023, conducted a monitoring of the implementation of civic priorities at the local level.
The purpose of the monitoring was to get a picture of the realization of civic priorities in six municipalities: Shtip, Struga, Kriva Palanka, Sveti Nikole, Krushevo and Demir Hisar, which emerged from the consultative meetings with citizens during 2021 and 2022.
For the purposes of the monitoring, a series of conversations were held with the relevant representatives of the municipal authorities, and the received information and documents, as well as the information and documents published on the websites of the municipalities, were included in the analysis.
At the same time, in the period from October 17 to 24, 2023, we conducted six online surveys for the citizens of the municipalities included in the monitoring, in order to collect their perceptions, views and experiences on whether the municipality realizes the specific civic priorities, but also whether includes and consults citizens on issues related to local policies. The online survey on the realization of civic priorities shows that the majority of surveyed citizens from the six municipalities included in the monitoring believe that the local authorities, in 2023, do not undertake enough activities for the realization of civic problems and priorities.
The survey also showed that citizens are very little or not at all involved in the creation of local policies. As many as 75% of the respondents have never once participated in the creation of policies in the local community, 6.5% answered that they participate regularly, while the rest of the respondents answered that they are only occasionally involved in local policy-making activities.
Almost half of the respondents (47.3%) stated that so far no one has invited them to participate in any activity of the municipality for the creation of local policies, and 34% answered that they were not informed.
More than half of the respondents (52%) believe that the most appropriate form of civic participation is public hearings, followed by 33% of meetings in local communities, while budget forums are the least effective.
In addition to the assessment of the fulfilment of civic priorities in 2023, the citizens conveyed their expectations for the next year, 2024. Some of them are repeated with the priorities of 2023.
One of the priorities of the citizens of Kriva Palanka is solving the traffic jam in the city, as well as employment for young people. The residents of Sveti Nikole believe that the municipality should work on opening new parking lots in the central part of the city, as well as solving the problem of homeless dogs. People from Ship, on the other hand, are looking for the construction of underground and above-ground garages, a swimming pool, etc. Respondents from Struga demand a solution to the problem with the landfill and homeless dogs. People from Demirhis assess that in 2024, the municipality should work on the reconstruction of water pipes and regional schools, as well as on the rehabilitation of local roads, and the residents of Krushevo demand improvement of the water supply and reconstruction of the streets.