PROKUPLJE – A programme to improve lives in poor areas of Serbia celebrated its first anniversary recently with a series of public activities attended by Serbian President Boris Tadić.
|Serbian President Boris Tadić at the first anniversary celebrations of PROGRES.|
The European Partnership with Municipalities Programme (PROGRES) is funded by the European Union and the governments of Switzerland and Serbia, and is being implemented by UNOPS in 25 municipalities in south and southwest Serbia. The programme is assisting deprived municipalities by improving infrastructure and local government services, enhancing governance, and promoting entrepreneurship and local culture.
PROGRES is focused on strengthening the principles of accountable, transparent and participatory governance, creating an environment conducive to investment and business development, and improving the area’s physical, economic and social infrastructure.
|Nearly 700 children particpated in the entertainment programme.|
To mark the first anniversary, an information day was organized in the underdeveloped town of Prokuplje, which included an entertainment programme designed to inform local people about PROGRES. Nearly 700 children danced in the street for residents.
The President of the Republic of Serbia, Boris Tadić, visited the programme stand during the festivities and spoke to PROGRES staff and volunteers, praising their commitment.
During the first year of the programme, 40 partnership projects between civil society and local governments have been set up to support vulnerable social groups. PROGRES has supported the construction of three Citizens Assistance Centres to raise the quality of local government services as well as the implementation of 21 infrastructure projects to improve living conditions for the people of south and southwest Serbia.
Assistance also included technical support to create the municipal planning documents that are a key precondition for investors. In addition, significant efforts were made to enhance transparency and gender equality in the work of local governments.
At the anniversary the PROGRES team thanked the community for their involvement by donating Braille books to a local charity for the blind.
The total budget of this three year intervention is €18.1 million. The European Union has contributed €14.1 million, the Government of Switzerland €2.5 million, and the Government of the Republic of Serbia €1.5 million.
UNOPS is acting as project manager for PROGRES and is responsible for the timely and cost-effective achievement of outcomes for the programme.