“Civic participation implies the inclusion of citizens in the decision-making and policy-making process and builds a bridge between the government and the citizens. Citizens’ participation creates a more transparent government and helps improve services”, these are some of the messages shared with over 50 civil society organisations at the three information sessions on the topic of Participation of civil society organisations in policy making. The events were organized in the period from 5th to 7th June in Gostivar, Shtip and Bitola.
Effective citizen participation requires the government to involve its citizens in governance, a continuous flow of information between citizens and the government, the use of efficient mechanisms for gathering information from citizens, and informed citizens who understand and highly value the obligation to cooperate as equal partners in the process.
At the event, the findings of the report “Government Mirror: Public Participation in Law Preparation Processes, Annual Monitoring Report of ENER in 2022” were shared. Taking into account the low awareness of the local organisations about the online tool for their participation in policy making, at the session the organisations were familiarized in details how to access and use it as well as the benefits of the Single National Electronic Register of Regulations (ENER). “The public’s interest in commenting on ENER has decreased, i.e. in 2022, 112 comments were submitted for 23 draft laws of ENER, which is a decrease compared to previous years”, said Valentina Velichkovska in her presentation. Part of the reasons she pointed out for the reduced interest are the low level of awareness among citizens and civil society organisations about ENER, but also the weak response from the relevant ministries to the comments made.
Part of the participants’ conclusions about the reasons for citizens’ participation in decision-making were: the decisions made by the local government directly affect their lives and should be brought as close as possible to the citizens; people are more aware of the problems in their environment and have the best solutions that suit them; citizens feel respected by being given the chance to offer their expertise; citizens’ participation can improve governance by making it more transparent, consistent, accountable, effective and efficient.
The events were organised within the project “EU support of the Civil Society Resource Centre – Phase 2”, financed by the European Union, and implemented by the National Civil Society Development Foundation – Civic Resource Centre, the Macedonian Centre for International Cooperation, Media Plus, Shtip and Association for Democratic Initiatives – ADI, Gostivar.