One of the most interesting issues we’re working on in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia right now is finding new ways to encourage citizen participation in local governance. Access to information is key:
“Before, most people outside the administration found it quite difficult to access and understand a lot of information about the key functions of the municipality,” says Risto Atanasovski of the local NGO Foundation for Local and IT Development in Gevgelija. “This was especially the case for environmental protection and communal services. But now with this new IT tool, Dashboard, all this information is available at a glance in a highly user-friendly and interactive format. This is a major step towards greater transparency and citizen participation in local government.”
Dashboard is the latest innovation designed to open a window into municipal functions and facilitate greater public participation in local decision-making on environmental protection services.
Launched in April 2014, this new interactive web tool is now successfully operating in the Municipality of Gevgelija and looks set for expansion to other local government functions and services.
The Dashboard website presents users with a clear, concise, and intuitive display of key data on the municipality’s efforts and achievements in environmental protection services.
A carefully selected set of indicators is easily accessible and allows the user to measure the effectiveness of local government actions and investments.
“The development of this platform means we can present the citizens with a clear picture of the competences and activities of the municipal administration in the area of environmental protection and communal affairs,” says the Gevgelija’s Mayor, Ivan Frangov. “And the public can now easily contact and give feedback to the relevant department through the site. In this way they will be directly involved in the creation of municipal policy.”
UNDP in Macedonia supported a report on environmental governance in the municipality of Gevgelija and ‘Foundation for Local and IT Development’ came up with new ideas to address the gaps identified by the study.
The NGO proposed a web-based solution to provide the citizens and administration of the municipality with a one-stop site where all key information about local environment protection and communal services could be accessed and where the public can provide feedback.
The Foundation’s proposal received the strong backing of the Municipality of Gevgelija and financial support for its development from our ‘Think Globally—Develop Locally’ project in the region.
“Besides giving citizens efficient access to relevant information about local services, an added value of the dashboard tool is that it enables consistent social auditing of the quality of local services,” says UNDP’s Ilmiasan Dauti. “And of course it has significantly increased and expanded the engagement of citizens and the civil society sector in shaping and implementing local environmental protection policies. This is definitely an innovation we want to see applied in other municipalities in the future—the potential is vast.”
>> Read more about how we’re using mobile apps to tackle youth unemployment in fYR Macedonia and join the conversation:
What are some other ways that people and organizations are using mobile apps and websites to encourage greater citizen participation?