- The 50th anniversary of the Serbian-Norwegian Association was marked in Nis. The event was attended by the delegation from Norway comprised of representatives of several Norwegian cities, led by the Deputy Head of the Norwegian Embassy to Serbia, Ms. Janne Marit Knutrud, the representatives of the Norwegian-Serbian Society and the Association of Friends of Norway and the Western Balkans. The aim of the Serbian – Norwegian Association is to spread friendship between the two nations that dates back to World War II, when thousands of Serbs were in Nazi concentration camps in Norway, where they encountered enormous friendship and support from the Norwegian people. The association also engages in the presentation of Serbian culture, tradition and history in Norway, organizing contacts between Serbian and Norwegian families and mutual acceptance, organizing study visits of pupils and students in both directions, organizing business contacts between Serbian and Norwegian businessmen and contacts of Norwegian municipalities with municipalities in Serbia.
- The City of Nis delegation visited the Rognan –Saltdal in Norway upon the invitation of the officials of Saltdal municipality, with whom City of Nis nurtures twinning relationships since the early 1980s. The delegation consisted of the member of Nis City Council Mrs. Tijana Djordjevic Ilic and the members of the Dance Club Boom 018 from Nis, who took part at the UKM Nordland festival as the part of the cultural exchange programme between two cities. This visit of Nis City delegation was the opportunity to learn more about Yugoslav prisoners in Norway during WW2, visit the memorials along the Blood Way Road and pay personal respects to the victims who were laid to their final rest but also learn about the friendship that was then created between the prisoners and the local population. This friendship continued through the cooperation between the municipalities in Norway and municipalities in Serbia. It is important to maintain these connections seeking for new joint content and transferring it to future generations which will ensure the longevity of these contacts.
- Long-standing friendly relations and cooperation between the City of Nis and the Norwegian Municipality of Saltdal, which were also formalized in the 1985 by Twinning Protocol, are continuing to mutual satisfaction. At the meeting between Nis City Deputy Mayor Milos Bandjur and Mayor of Saltdal Mr. Rune Berg the potentials of both cities were presented and the aspects of future cooperation were disused. The delegation of the City of Nis was in Saltdal last June attending the celebration of 75 years since the first Serb prisoners from concentration camps were taken for forced labor. Beside the Mayor with his associates, an amateur jazz orchestra from this city was staying in Nis performing at Nisville Jazz Festival.
- The guests at the City Hall were members of the Rognan Brass orchestra, from the Norwegian City of Saltdal, with which the City of Niš has been twinned since 1985. They participated in this year’s Nisville Jazz Festival. On the occasion of their visit to Nis City Hall they performed performed together with the local orchestra Impresija and announced the possibility of continuing cooperation.
- As the part of the International Youth Day, which is celebrated on August 12th, the City of Nis Youth Office presented its work so far in the presence of delegations from the Norwegian city Saltdal. After the presentation, the possibilities for further cooperation between two cities in the field of youth policy were discussed.
- At the invitation of the Speaker of the Assembly of the Norwegian Region of Nordland, the delegation of the City of Nis, composed of Deputy Mayor Milos Bandur and Nis City Council Member Svetozar Aleksov officially visited Norway as part of a national delegation marking the 75th anniversary of bringing the first group of prisoners of war from Yugoslavia to build roads and railways in Norway. The friendship that was then formed between the prisoners and the local population continued through the cooperation and twinning of municipalities and cities from the Province of Norland and the Republic of Serbia. In the Norwegian municipality of Saltdal, Botn, where the largest Serbian cemetery in Northern Norway is located, in honor of Yugoslav prisoners interned during World War II in Norway, wreaths were laid on the plaque by Norwegian King Harald Fifth and Serbian Ambassador to Norway Suzana Boskovic – Prodanovic. The Nis City Delegation spoke with the Mayor of Saltdal Municipality on several occasions, expressing mutual wish to continue developing relations that began in 1985 and were renewed by the 2002 agreement.
- Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy within the project Support to the Implementation of the Social Welfare Development Strategy in Serbia. This Memorandum regulates joint cooperation in the framework of the project Support to the Implementation of the Social Welfare Development Strategy in Serbia, jointly funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway. The project addresses the improvement of local and inter-municipal (regional) social care services through improved planning, improved funding and monitoring of local social care services. This program is implemented in 24 municipalities.
- The Young People – New Ideas Project – funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was implemented and the other partners in the project were: United Nations Development Program (UNDP), RS Government Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, NAR Consulting AS from Oslo, Norway, Faculty of Transportation, University of Belgrade and City of Nis. The project aimed to promote the participation of young people in the development and implementation of socio-economic projects at the local level. The work was organized in groups, and each group had a specific field of interest related to: Nis Airport Development Plan, with the aim of providing valid input for the Nis Airport Master Plan, and the analysis of the potentials of the airport to find its place on the international aviation market, as a medium-sized regional airport; regional development of Nis, with the aim of providing information and proposing safe solutions for various applications of geothermal energy in the Nis region; development of tourism in the Nis region, with the aim of developing a base for a specific tourism product of the Nis region, and analyzing the possibilities for receiving and accommodating transit passengers and the employment problem.
- Within the implementation of the SME Strategy and Entrepreneurship Development 2003-2008 and the Plan of the Government of the Republic of Serbia for SME Support and Entrepreneurship Development 2005-2007, the Project for Entrepreneurship, Training and Services in Nis was implemented and the Business Incubator Center was established. The basis for the implementation of these strategies was the ENTRANCE project, which forms part of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Government of the Kingdom of Norway and the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The Ministry of Economy and Regional Development was the leading national partner and the Norwegian organization SINTEF Technology and Society was the leading international partner. The Norwegian government invested € 1,300,000 in this project, the main objective of which was to help the development of small and medium-sized enterprises within a common space and to enable them to operate independently.
- Regional Center for Professional Development of Employees in Education in Nis was established with the assistance of Norwegian government with the grant in the amount of 1,315,000 euros. The Regional Center is the first institution of regional type in Serbia for professional development of employees in education. Activities of the Center re the following: organization of seminars and other forms of professional development; analysis of the needs for professional development of employees in education; analysis of the offer of professional development programs; planning training for other types of vocational training; assistance in creating new professional development programs; monitoring the implementation of different forms of professional development; cooperation with the Institute and other Centers for Professional Development; cooperation with the local community; cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the School Board.
- The Government of the Kingdom of Norway has donated 4.5 million German marks for the first phase of the Nis airport rehabilitation. The airport was officially opened on October 12, 2003.
- The cooperation with the Municipality of Saltdal was renewed by signing the Letter of Intent. The cooperation began in 1986 and was interrupted by wars and sanctions.
- The Government of the Kingdom of Norway provided 30 one-time scholarships for the best students of the University of Nis. In 2001 46 students from the University of Nis received one-time scholarships. In 2004, the Government of the Kingdom of Norway awarded 56 one-time scholarships.
- The Government of the Kingdom of Norway provided assistance to the Pcelica Kindergarten Institution in the amount of 20,000 German marks, which partially restored the inventory of the institution.
- The Government of the Kingdom of Norway provided assistance to the city in the amount of 80,000 German marks. 156 containers were bought from local company Block Signal and 1000 garbage from local company Gradjevinar.