BIRN Serbia and local government representatives in Nova Varos, organized a panel ‘Local Budget Forum’ and presented the draft budget for 2013, part of its ‘’Participatory Budgeting’’ project.
More than thirty people and local community representatives in Nova Varos had an opportunity to get details about the budget and participate in the debate.
Mayor Dimitrije Paunovic stressed the importance of the public’s participation in the budgeting process considering that the budget resources belong to them.
’’The spring election led to delays in budget planning and I am afraid that we will not be able to realize all the plans, therefore I would like to invite everyone present to give their suggestions which will be considered during budgeting process,’’ he said.
The draft budget was presented in ‘’citizen’s budget’’ format that contains the budget spending for this and next year.
The presentation was followed by a discussion. Locals gave numerous comments and suggestions regarding the budget for 2013 while the mayor said that the proposals will be on the agenda for the Municipal Council session and at the parliament meeting.
‘’Your money, our responsibility’’ questionnaire results were also presented at the Local Budget Forum. The questionnaire was organized by local authorities and BIRN Serbia in order to involve people in the budgeting process by offering them list of municipal projects and asking them to choose three they think are the most important.
300 people from Nova Varoš selected ‘’Artificial snow system on the mountain Zlatar’’, ‘’Infrastructure works’’ and ‘’Waterworks and sewerage construction’’ as top community priorities.
BIRN Serbia signed a memorandum of understanding with the mayor confirming further cooperation.
The project of implementing the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level through the European Partnership Programme with EU PROGRES municipalities in 25 municipalities in the south and southwest Serbia is supported by the European Union, the Swiss and the Serbian government.
BIRN has launched a special focus page on media in the Balkans – the first of its kind in the region.
The application of the existing Law on Free Access to Information of Bosnia and Herzegovina vary from one institution to another. One third of institutions respond to requests for access to information in accordance with the Law, while some do not respond at all.
A court has acquitted five defendants accused of staging a hate campaign in the media against BIRN director Jeta Xharra.
About a dozen journalists and representatives of civil society organisations that treat health issues on June 12 in Skopje discussed priority concerns and problems in this field in Macedonia.
About 20 NGO representatives and journalists on June 7 discussed priority issues, problems and challenges in the field of inter-ethnic relations in Macedonia.
BIRN Macedonia in partnership with the Center for Civil Communications brought together journalists, NGO representatives and artists to talk about Macedonian cultural policy on June 4.
Several dozen representatives of NGOs and journalists debated priority issues in the field of education and youth on May 30 in Skopje.
The human rights situation in Macedonia was the topic of the fifth debate organized on May 28 by BIRN Macedonia in partnership with Center for Civil Communications in Skopje.
Economists from Kosovo and Serbia debate the future of the disputed Trepca mine complex, in the new episode of the TV debate series “Tema”, produced by Internews Kosovo and BIRN.
About 20 journalists and representatives from civil society held a debate on May 21 in Skopje on good governance in Macedonia.