LDA Subotica organized the Multistakeholder platform meeting within the Regional Youth Compact for Europe project held last month on 5th June.
The meeting was part of the event entitled Palic Talks, an annual event gathering representatives of public institutions, academia and CSOs on topics related with the development of local good governance. Multistakeholder platform focused on local democracy from the aspect of exercising the right of citizens to participate in the creation and adoption of public policies, as well as views on the good and responsible governance at the local level in the context of the recently adopted Public Administration Reform Strategy of Serbia.
Having in mind the continuous process and challenges of the reform of the local self-government system, the participants in the discussion especially pointed out:
Without developed institutional mechanisms that enable the participation of citizens in the adoption and adoption of public policies, one cannot speak of local democracy or real democracy in modern societies. Especially important is the involvement of youth in this process.
The development of local democracy requires that local authorities have a well rounded area of affairs within their competence, which they manage under their own responsibility towards the citizens of the local community. For the system of local self-government as a whole, addressing problems in fulfilling key responsibilities of local self-government are especially important, such as adequate development planning, administrative services, communal activities, realization of public interest through functioning of local institutions (in education, social and health care, culture or sports), local economic development, etc.
Although the process of drafting strategic documents was mostly participatory at the beginning, most often there was a lack of continuous monitoring and reporting on the effects of the adopted documents and measures. With the adoption of the Law on the Planning System of the Republic of Serbia and bylaws for its implementation, this area is systematically regulated, which envisages the obligation of local self-government units to adopt development plans and harmonize all their planning documents with this law. In addition to new aspects regarding development plans, from the point of view of local self-government, it is of special interest to define roles and obligations with this package of regulations, especially regarding the content of public policy documents and their harmonization within the planning system at all levels, improving transparency and participation in policy implementation and medium-term planning and reporting on the implementation of planning documents.
The participants pointed out that recognition of the functions of democratic government (elections, representativeness, responsibility, mobilization, political socialization, control, protection of the rights and culture of minorities, sense of security and belonging to the community, public opinion, role of local media) are essential for developing the concept of active citizenship where civil society organizations, local media and the local government play a fundamental role.