Contribution to implementation of SCTM Strategic Plan


This contribution will support the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM) to implement its cross-sectoral strategic plan, promoting decentralization, good governance and local governance reforms and assisting the implementation of the Serbian Government’s Local Government Reform Programme. SCTM will improve capacities of local governments (LG) to act efficiently, accountably, in the best interest of citizens, and defend LG interests at the central level.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Governance

Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society
Public sector policy
01.01.2023 - 31.12.2026
CHF  3’600’000
Background

Currently, uncertainty dominates Serbia’s economic, social and political outlook, mainly as a consequence of the ongoing geopolitical tensions in Europe.

A challenge for the new Minister of Public Administration and Local Self Government is to make up for the delays in the implementation of the Local Government Reform Programme 2021-25 (LGRP). Reform priorities in the LGRP include deconcentrating certain competences to district administrations, expanding inter-municipal cooperation, introducing a clearer division of labor, and increasing LGs performance through standardized functional models for LGs and other local public institutions. The reform priorities of LG’s are reflected in the SCTM Strategic Plan 2022-25, which is aligned with the LGRP. These reforms are expected to increase the quality and availability of public services as well as the respect of good governance principles at the local level. Switzerland has been a long lasting and credible partner to Serbia by providing support to LG reforms for over 15 years, building on its high democratic standards and long standing experience of decentralised governance.

Objectives Development of decentralised public governance and accountable local governments which respect citizens' rights and provide sustainable services to all citizens.
Target groups

Serbian national policy makers in charge of LG reforms, mayors and local officials, local assemblies and staff in local administrations. The local private sector will be involved in local economic development policy-making.

All citizens, men and women, including left behind groups using improved local services are indirect target groups.

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1)    Improved Local Governance strategic, legal, and institutional framework fosters the sustainable decentralisation process.

Outcome 2)    Local Governments enhance the application of good governance principles and utmost citizens’ participation, in developing and implementing their policies and practices.

Outcome 3)    Local Governments improve the quality and availability of local public services provided to the citizens and businesses.

Results

Expected results:   LGs will have to implement a significant share of reforms on Serbia’s path to European integration. SCTM will support key systemic legal and institutional LG reforms, including the modification, modernisation and digitalisation of LG’s work organisation. Human resource development will remain a priority, and advocacy for more substantial LG’s financing be continued, guided by good governance (GG) principles and the Code of Ethics for LG employees.. LGs will be enabled to implement sectoral priorities and reforms in their field of competences (administration, local economic development, rural development, tourism, public health, housing, urban planning, environmental protection etc.) and timely informed on adopted or amended laws and policies. SCTM will prepare manuals, guidelines and model regulations to facilitate implementation of emerging laws and policies. It will provide expert inputs via workshops, trainings, thematic expert networks, and advisory support.


Results from previous phases:  

With the previous institutional support from Switzerland the SCTM experienced a rapid and solid institutional development. It has professionalized its strategic planning processes, introduced results-based management tools and modernized its communication and capacity building mechanisms.

SCTM also successfully defended LG’s interests and ensured that know-how is delivered to its members. SCTM has become widely accepted among law and policy makers and became member in numerous governmental working groups that develop national policies and laws relevant for LGs. The LG Law was amended to strengthen citizens’ participation, as well as the work of local assemblies and local community councils, and to introduce inter-municipal cooperation. In addition, LGs were re-entitled to dispose of their own property. 

SCTM also provided substantial capacity development to its members through numerous trainings and by establishing thematic networks for LG professionals, a Law Alert Newsletter and an E-question & answer facility. SCTM also developed models of local regulations, facilitating LGs to adequately implement laws.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO


Other partners
Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities
Coordination with other projects and actors This intervention will be coordinated with other donor projects cooperating with the SCTM, such as from the EU and SIDA, and with Swiss funded interventions, namely the contribution to MPALSG, RELOF, MED, Local Governance for People and Nature and others.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    3’600’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    850’000