On December 11 2007, The Office for Contact between NGOs and the Parliament of RM in cooperation with European Center for Not-for-profit Law-ECNL, Budapest and the Macedonian Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs organized a conference on Participation of Citizens and Civic Organizations in Policy and Decision Making Processes.
The conference objectives were to:
- Launch a discussion on the issue of public participation on a broader and higher level for Macedonian stakeholders;
- Raise awareness on the importance for involving citizens and their organizations in the development and adoption of policies among Macedonian stakeholders;
- Inform stakeholders about the best practice principles of participation promoted on the European Union and national level;
- Provide opportunity for the citizens of Macedonia to learn from the experiences of the countries who have been undertaking more active steps to ensure effective consultation and participation;
- Provide a forum for presentation and discussion of the opportunities and challenges for participation in the broader Macedonian context;
- Support experience sharing of successful methods and lessons learned among different state bodies and organizations;
- Inspire local stakeholders to undertake initiatives that would help ensure the best practice principles of participation are enshrined in their system and practice.
The conference was opened by Mr. Stojan Todorov, Secretary General of the Government and Ms. Liljana Popovska, Member of the Assembly, who expressed the commitment of the state institutions to support participation and encouraged the participants to propose constructive measures to improve the situation in the country.
Further, Ms. Suzana Nikodijevic-Filipovska, Head of the Sector for Policy Analyzing and Coordination, General Secretariat of the Government, Ms. Elizabeta Nedanovska, Government Unit for Cooperation with NGOs and Mr. Darko Aleksov, Citizens’ Association MOST / Contact Office between the Parliament of RMof Republic of Macedonia and NGOs presented the role of these offices as facilitators of the process of participation.
Participants from Estonia, Poland, Croatia, Slovakia shared the experiences of their countries in creating mechanisms to ensure systematic and effective participation of the citizens.
During the debate Mr. Ivica Bocevski (Spokesperson for the Government), Mr. Numan Limani (State Secretary at the Ministry of Justice), Mr. Aleksandar Nikolovski (Member of the Parliament) and several CSO representatives, discussed the current good practices of participation as well as challenges of the process. The discussion was kicked-off by a local expert. Dr. Natasha Gaber-Damjanovska presented the preliminary results of her analysis of the Macedonian legal framework and practices concerning participation.
The debate covered the following subjects:
- Best practice principles concerning public participation: information, consultation, active involvement, on level of government and parliament, lobbying laws;
- Practical experiences of countries around Europe and beyond in regulating the participation in policy and decision making processes (laws, codex or strategies for cooperation);
- Other factors that influence the process of participation (perception, awareness about the opportunities the process brings, culture, mindset, capacity of the institutions and the sector).
Period of implementation
This conference was funded under the Civil Society Support Project, supported by USAID/Macedonia, and implemented by the Institute for Sustainable Communities, in cooperation with ECNL, the Centre for Institutional Development and the Macedonian Institute for Media.