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Democracy and Governance

THE CHALLENGE

The Republic of Macedonia separated peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991 but has not yet completed political and economic reforms required for European integration. USAID supported Macedonia in its implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which brought the 2001 ethnic conflict to an end, by helping to enact the legal framework for decentralization, supporting peaceful and fair parliamentary elections, and facilitating an accurate and widely accepted national census. USAID’s democracy assistance focuses on helping Macedonia to prepare for European Union (EU) and NATO accession.


PROJECT AREAS

Governance and Rule of Law

USAID is working to promote greater equilibrium among the three branches of government. The primary goal is to increase public confidence in the rule of law and provide the necessary checks and balances to the executive. Activities in this area include:

Judicial strengthening to improve the role of the judiciary in the separation of powers and promote rule of law. USAID is building the capacity of professional associations and civil society organizations to better participate in judicial reforms. We provide training to judges and court staff to enhance court efficiency and quality of justice. Our aim is to foster public confidence in the court system by making operations more transparent.

Parliamentary development to increase the accountability of elected officials, strengthen their ability to represent the public, engage minorities in the political process, ensure the integrity of the election process, and support the development of political parties. USAID provides technical assistance, training and operational support to the Macedonian National Assembly to introduce and improve practices such as public hearings, legislative review and legislative research.

Training Internal Auditors in the Public Sector, in partnership with the Government of Slovenia and its Center of Excellence in Finance. USAID will facilitate the development of the internal audit profession in Macedonia in accordance with international standards and best practices that will improve public financial management and increase accountability, transparency and efficiency in the public sector.

Civil Society and Media

USAID helps citizens increase effective oversight of their government by making civil society more effective and by promoting independent and legitimate media. These efforts include:

Support for civil society organizations (CSOs) to stimulate civic activism and engage in advocacy and oversight endeavors to promote democratic reforms. In addition, one activity specifically focuses on engaging civil society to develop strategies for addressing climate change.

Strengthening independent media in Macedonia to increase the legitimacy of the media and strengthen freedom of expression. USAID is strengthening the capacity of journalists and journalist associations, and is encouraging peer reviews to enforce professional ethics and journalism standards and increase practitioner credibility. Currently, we are focusing on these areas: 1) a media fact checking service to empower Macedonian citizens to hold the media accountable, and to aid journalists in adhering to their professional standards; 2) investigative journalism and cooperation between media and civil society to bridge the current disconnect between journalists and CSOs on issues of public interest; and 3) media legal reform and responsible media to encourage legal reforms leading to a sustainable media environment.

USAID promotes understanding between ethnic groups and the integration of institutions by building awareness and providing diversity training and technical assistance to communities, educators and administrators to promote stability and decrease ethnic tensions.

Through a new project, USAID will improve the performance of independent organizations, associations or entities that are crucial for the development of the Macedonia, helping them improve their institutional capacity.


ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In Macedonia, USAID’s impact in the area of Democracy and Governance includes the following:

  • Increased municipal financial independence by introducing financial audits, credit ratings and municipal loans
  • Trained over 3,000 election monitors
  • Contributed to free & fair elections in all cycles from 2002 through 2011
  • Helped to develop and implement the National Anti-Corruption Strategy
  • Helped to establish the Macedonian Institute for Media (MIM)
  • Supported new Laws on Courts, Enforcement, the Judicial Council, Civil Procedure, Parliament, and NGOs
  • Automated court case management and budget systems
  • Supported the establishment of a reliable system for enforcement of civil court decisions
  • Supported the implementation of a key population census in 2002
  • Improved legal framework for decentralization
  • Unified and modernized municipal finance and tax administration in all 84 municipalities
  • Installed audio recording system to record trials in 80 courtrooms
  • Supported public presentations, roundtables and debates to promote diversity and interethnic integration
  • Increased participation and improved coordination of Macedonian Government and donors in integrated education
  • Initiated a pool of 34 Master Trainers to train school directors, boards and teachers in diversity
  • Initiated School Integration Teams in all 57 schools in 4 pilot municipalities
  • Increased the capacity of two government ministries (Justice and Economy) setting up better management systems
  • Supported local associations (media, local governments, human resources) to improve their governing bodies and management approach

 

 

 

Last updated: June 05, 2014

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