President Stevo Pendarovski visited the municipalities of Novo Selo and Strumica today as part of the “Face to Face with the President” project.
In Novo Selo, President Pendarovski was presented with the concept “Forum in the Community”, as the second phase of the project “Strengthening the Municipal Councils”, which aims at greater participation of citizens in decision-making processes in their municipalities, improvement of the local government system and overall living conditions in the local communities, through the improvement of legislation and policies, digitization of services, increased transparency and reduced opportunities for corruption.
The residents of Novo Selo today presented six projects in the field of communal infrastructure, from which they will independently choose one that will be implemented in their municipality.
President Pendarovski expressed his support for the project and pointed out that the immediate participation of citizens in decision-making processes in the municipalities and policies that directly affect them, contributes to the strengthening of local democracy.
“Citizens’ participation in the decision-making processes in their municipalities is key to the development of democracy at local level and is the best way to channel the needs and wishes of citizens. As said – nothing for the citizens, without the citizens. There is no real progress, without local progress. Without participation of citizens, first of all in their communities, and then in wider social processes, we cannot talk about democracy and a developed civil state. If the processes do not start from the bottom to the top, from the base to the top, then it is clear that the politicians cannot make any change because they will not have the support of the citizens”, President Pendarovski said in his address, emphasizing the importance of the inclusion and participation of young people in these processes.
The project is implemented in ten municipalities and is financed by the Swiss Government and the Ministry of Local Self-Government, co-financed and implemented by the United Nations Development Program – UNDP. The Mayor of Novo Selo, Gjorge Bozinov, the permanent representative of the UNDP in the country, Armen Grigorjan, and the Swiss Ambassador, Veronique Hulmann, addressed the event.
In Strumica, President Pendarovski visited the family house of former President Boris Trajkovski, where he and Trajkovski’s relatives shared memories of the former president, his personality and the policies he advocated.
In Strumica, the President also met with the six-year-old Stefani Petkovska, who donated her hair to make wigs for children with cancer. Praising the brave action of the young heroine, the President expressed hope that her example will be a motive for everyone else within their possibilities to help vulnerable groups and especially children who are facing serious diseases, in order to overcome the situation more easily.