On 4 June an e-workshop entitled “Governance based on citizens’ interests and needs” was held, which was attended by representatives of institutions, civil society and representatives of the Secretariat for Open Government Partnership (OGP).
The Republic of North Macedonia is part of the Global Open Government Partnership initiative, an international platform through which the institutions and the civil society cooperate with an aim to ensure transparency and accountability of the authorities to the citizens. In accordance with the accepted obligations, North Macedonia has adopted four Action Plans (2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018) and is constantly working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public institutions, increase transparency and access to information, improve the quality of public services for citizens and business entities.
At the moment, they are actively working on finalizing the fifth OGP Action Plan 2021-2023 within the priority areas: Transparency, accountability, proactivity and inclusiveness; Preventing corruption and promoting good governance; Delivery of public services and Access to justice.
The e-workshop aimed to ensure the finalization of the commitments, from the priority areas Access to Justice and Delivery of Public Services, which will be included in the new action plan through a proper review of what has already been done in close cooperation with key officials from institutions and civil society representatives, through:
- improved understanding of OGP and its requirements, guidelines and good practices of the OGP Council and the CSOs Network;
- getting acquainted with the status and results of the co-creation process of the National Action Plan;
- determining the importance and benefits of dialogue in finalizing the efforts to be included in the National OGP Action Plan;
- commitment to further involvement and participation in the finalization processes of NAP 2021-2023.
The strategic part of the e-workshop, which was attended by 50 participants, was opened by GORDANA GAPIKJ DIMITROVSKA, National Coordinator for OGP in RNM, who reviewed the objectives of the workshop and said that this event is a continuation of the Ministerial meeting hosted by the Prime Minister where the commitment of the Government to continue its efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in public institutions through the use of technologies and innovative solutions to meet the interests and needs of citizens was reaffirmed.
It was emphasized that after the e-workshop there will be additional short meetings between the stakeholders who proposed the commitments and the competent institutions in order to finalize the content and complete the fifth National Action Plan which should enter the government procedure for its adoption next month.
PAUL MAASSEN, Secretary-General, OGP, stressed the importance of the OGP initiative for RNM, referring to the strategic OGP support at the national and local level. He stressed that he especially appreciates all the achievements made so far since the country’s inclusion in the OGP initiative in 2011 and the political will, strong commitment and collective understanding of the Government in the reform agenda, as evidenced by the High-Level Ministerial Meeting held in April 2021. Hence, he stressed that RNM is one of the priority OGP countries that enjoy the support of the OGP Secretariat and that it serves as an example of good practices and successful reforms.
He pointed out that the first progress in the field of Access to Justice and Delivery of Public Services is visible, the topics that were the subject of work in the second part of the meeting in order to accept commitments, processes and ideas that will provide a new, efficient and effective way through which the authorities will serve the citizens and respond to their needs.
He stressed that he is pleased to see the inclusion of commitments in the area of Access to Justice in the next AP that refer to marginalized groups of citizens, especially as a continuation of the successful implementation of the commitments of the cycle 2018-2020, through which RNM is the only country in the Western Balkans that foresaw Access to Justice as an integral part of the OGP AP 2018-2020 and serves as inspiration and example for other countries around the world to do the same.
In the area of Delivery of public services, he referred to their importance as a platform for dialogue on various issues and the importance of ensuring inclusion for all citizens as well as an answer from the Government. What is especially important, added Paul Maassen, is to ensure the implementation of the proposed commitments, i.e. results that will lead to an improvement in the lives of all citizens.
In addition, the members of the OGP Council, IVONA STALEVSKA, Open Society Foundation – Macedonia and DARKO ANTIKJ, Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women, presented the status of the proposals-commitments in the priority areas Access to Justice and Delivery of public services.
Stalevska and Antikj chronologically presented the consultative process of co-creation in both areas, starting from the preparation of the documents that regulate the process, the 3 online informative meetings for education, 12 online meetings to identify problems, responsible institutions and the need for their possible translation in commitments and a series of individual meetings, with institutions and civil society organizations in each area separately. Additionally, they informed the attendees about identified problems in the areas from the beginning of the consultation process and their translation into draft commitments for the fifth OGP AP 2021-2023, giving an overview of their content and leading institutions together with other stakeholders important for the implementation of commitments.
The answer was provided by the State Secretaries of the Ministry of Justice, FORSINA TASEVSKA and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, RESMI EJUPI, who welcomed the efforts and cooperation with the civil sector and commented on each proposal separately under the authority of their institution.
In their speeches, they supported the process and pointed out the need to include the proposed commitments in the next action plan after further editing the content.
OGP Council members, Ivona Stalevska and Darko Antic, facilitated the operational part of the e-workshop where the draft commitments from the two areas were discussed, which were seen to need additional elaboration and harmonization of part of the content. The work was coordinated by the consultant Michael Canjares and representatives of the Secretariat for OGP, where based on the developed articles for work in working groups through a discussion between the applicants and the competent institutions, the goal of the workshop was achieved.
In order to finalize the efforts in the priority areas of Transparency, Accountability, Proactivity and Inclusion and Prevention of Corruption and Promotion of Good Governance, on 14 June 2021, the second e-workshop “Transparency and Accountability in the Public Sector” will be held.
—————————————————10 June 2021