- Switzerland has been pioneering support to the development and modernization of local assemblies in Serbia. Most recently, through the project “Strengthening the Oversight Function and Transparency of the Parliament – Phase 2”, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Switzerland supported the introduction of digital platforms to modernize the work of local parliaments. The City of Nis Assembly is the first in Serbia to use software version adapted to the work of Nis parliamentarians. The system ensures greater efficiency of the Assembly’s work, saves money and allows for more users to simultaneously search for information, while having access to documents at all times. In addition to these benefits for the members of the parliament (MPs), e-parliament also makes the work of local assemblies more transparent and accountable for citizens. Apart from the development of the e-parliament, Nis was supported in preparing amendments to the Rules of Procedure regarding the City assembly’s transition. The Rules of Procedure will enable Nis City Assembly to adapt its work to digital way of working, as well as electronic voting, thus significantly reducing the time and cost of assembly sessions. Overall, the Swiss Government and UNDP assistance for the Nis Assembly encompasses 78 tablets, as well as expert support with a total value of 150,000 EUR. It is estimated that the City of Nis will thus save over 2 million dinars annually, which is the amount of savings in printing assembly materials. “Strengthening the Oversight Function and Transparency of the Parliament” Project is supported by Switzerland with 1,7 million EUR with the aim of achieving a more transparent and efficient work of the National assembly and local assemblies across Serbia
- The satisfaction with local self-government authorities, administrative services and civil servants have been increasing continuously, and now almost one in two citizens in Central Serbia feels that local self-governments are taking care of their citizens and providing them with services adequate to their needs. This is demonstrated by the results of the public opinion poll implemented within the Swiss PRO programme, supported by the Swiss Government. The survey was implemented by CeSID, on a representative sample of 11,387 adult citizens in 50 towns and municipalities in the Region of Šumadija and West Serbia and the Region of South and East Serbia. After the 2010 results with only 22 percent of respondents feeling that local authorities were taking care of their citizens, a rising trend has been recorded, with 26 percent in 2013, 37 percent in 2017 and the last survey results show that 45 percent of respondents feel positively about the treatment of citizens by the local self-government. Even though the perception that local self-governments are trying to meet their citizens’ needs is enhancing, still one-third of respondents feel that local authorities mostly do not respond to their citizens’ needs, and 12 percent feel that they do not respond to them at all. The Presentation of citizens’ views was held in Nis at Nis City Hall. A detailed analysis of the results is available on the Swiss PRO website (ttps://www.swisspro.org.rs/uploads/files/166-666-citizen-satisfaction-survey.pdf). On the behalf of the City of Nis, the attendees were greeted by the Assistant Mayor Marina Kostic. The City of Nis has been doing a great deal in the last few years to improve the quality of life in the local community, especially in terms of increasing the level of services provided by local self-government.
- In September 2017, the National Dance Art Foundation and the Belgrade Dance Festival, with the support of the Art Mentor Foundation of Lucerne and the Ministry of State Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia, started the implementation of the Dance Caravan project. The program covered 15 cities in Serbia, and the reactions of the audience exceeded the expectations of the organizers. That is why the Art Mentor Foundation has supported the second edition of this multidisciplinary project, which aims to bring classical ballet and contemporary dance to all interested participants and visitors through various activities. A total of 10 cities during 2019 and 2020 will host the 2nd Dance Caravan. The Dance Caravan is intended for the education and scholarship of talents. It is a project that involves a whole new audience in ballet and contemporary dance, and at the same time encourages local organizations to develop a production network and to lay the foundations of the creative industries, viewing cultural offerings as valuable tourism potential. Through intensive Dance Caravan programs, the level of interest of the audience, the possibility of further inclusion of talented children in various educational programs, as well as the technical capacities for establishing domestic and foreign guest performances are reviewed. The Dance Caravan program includes exhibitions, film programs, presentations, performances and gala concerts performed by ballet champions and soloists, as well as students of ballet schools from Belgrade and Rome. It brings ballet courses and contemporary dance to all generations, ending with open presentations. For the realization of this project, the National Dance Art Foundation uses a large part of its own resources, from film and photo archives, to the involvement of professionals of different professions, i.e. numerous dancers, choreographers, educators, concert historians, composers, ballet critics, ballet school students… All the programs are free to the audience, and the goal is for the planned activities in each city to gather visitors and participants of all generations.
- City of Nis signed Memorandum of Understanding on Good Governance with Swiss Government Support Program for Municipal Development through Promotion of Good Governance and Social Inclusion – Swiss PRO. The program will contribute to the enhancement of the quality of life of Serbian citizens, particularly those who belong to excluded groups, through improving the rule of law at the local level, strengthening social cohesion and increasing the responsibility, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of the local self-governments, as well as the participation of the population in the decision-making processes. Through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Government of Switzerland allocated funds in the total amount of EUR 5.8 million for the implementation of the Programme in the period from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2021. The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as the implementing partner is responsible for the implementation of the Programme, which will, in certain activities, be conducted in partnership with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM). The projects selected by public calls will, to the greatest extent, be implemented in line with the methodology of grant allocation. In this way, the institutions that are grant beneficiaries will have full control of the project implementation while UNOPS monitors the implementation and provides technical support. The Programme relies on good practices and results achieved by its predecessor Programmes EU PROGRES and European PROGRES. Key partners are the Government of Serbia, i.e. its institutions: the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG) and the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs (MLEVSA). The local self-governments from Sumadija and Western, Southern and Eastern Serbia included in the Programme represent key actors and beneficiaries of the Programme, which, together with their institutions and civil society organisations, should establish ownership over the activities conducted in their respective territories. The three key areas addressed by the programme are good governance, social inclusion and gender equality.
- Four Serbian students from universities in France, Austria, America and Italy attended a three-week summer internship at city administrations and companies in Niš as part of the “Meet the State of Serbia” project implemented by NALED in collaboration with the Telenor Foundation and the Embassy of Switzerland in Belgrade. The residence of students from the Diaspora is designed to get so that they could become acquainted with the work of the city administration, its role in the economic system of Serbia, as well as the relationship between the local self-government and businessmen operating in its territory.
- Swiss Embassy in Belgrade financially supported the creation and performance of the unique musical piece entitled the Music of Constantine’s Cities, which premiered within the celebration of 17th century anniversary of Edict of Milan signing.
- In 2009, the Regional Center for the Professional Development of Employees in Nis joined the Professional Development Project (PDP), which is being implemented on the basis of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2003 between the governments of Switzerland – the Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia.
- In July 2001, the City of Nis signed an agreement with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on the implementation of support programs for municipalities. The aim of this program was to promote autonomous, efficient and responsible local self-government, and the program itself contains five areas of action – municipal development, education and training process, administration reform, private sector development and integration of minority groups into society.
- During this year, the Swiss government also financed: part of the reconstruction works on the Zetska Street overpass; construction of a primary school in Medosevac; installation of four new 400 KW power switches (the value of the switch is one million dinars) in the transformer station – Nis Two – which ensures safer operation of the entire transmission system; construction of a collector sewer hub in Ivana Milutinovic Street in Nis. The total value of the works was RSD 7,306,063.00, of which RSD 3,619,341.00 was donated by Switzerland.
- The agreement was signed between the City of Nis Assembly and the Swiss Humanitarian Organization (SDR), which officially began the construction of 6 new residential buildings with four apartments each in Pasi Poljana. The value of construction works amounted to over 10 million dinars and the city provided land and municipal infrastructure (value of about 3 million dinars). In January 2001, the keys for 24 apartments were handed over. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees procured basic furniture and firewood.
- City Preschool Institution Pcelica received a transport vehicle to be used to deliver food from the central kitchen to the kindergartens. The vehicle, worth 15,000 German marks, is a donation of the the Swiss Embassy in Serbia and the Swiss charity SDR.
- PUC Naissus received from SDR the device for analyzing the presence of organic carbon in groundwater and surface water. This donation, worth a total of 45,000 German marks, is the result of a project in which the SDR and PUC Naissus jointly contribute to the monitoring of groundwater and surface water quality in Nis.