After the meeting with the mayor of the city of Pirot and the opening of the IT training center on 24 November 2022, German ambassador to Serbia Anke Konrad, the Head of Development Cooperation at the German Embassy Christian Schilling and GIZ Serbia Country Director Daniela Funke met with representatives of local civil society organizations that participated in defining priorities and formulating recommendations for the improvement of local development policies.
Through the cooperation between local self-government, civil society and organizations gathered around the “SDGs for All” Platform, which is supported by the governments of Germany and Switzerland within the project “Public Finance Reform – 2030 Agenda 2030”, the Mid-Term Development Plan of the City of Pirot for the period 2022-2024 was adopted, as well as the new Local Public Health Action Plan.
In a lively and open discussion, the representatives of the organizations Pirgos, Osveženje, Stara Planina, Lav, Žene Juga, Ternipe and Zvono introduced the ambassador to the topics that move them the most: the enabling environment for the work of civil society in Pirot, cooperation with the local self-government in addressing some of the most important development priorites, but also with the challenges that civil society organziations are facing in their day to day work. Gender equality, the inclusion of Roma men and women in decision-making processes, prospects for the local youth and environmental protection, primarily the preservation of the Stara Planina nature park, were identified as some of the priority topics.
Ambassador Konrad thanked the participants for the open conversation, adding that this would not be her last visit to Pirot. She pointed out that the German government has always considered civil society an important actor in the implementation of international development and humanitarian aid, with local civil society organizations being viewed as experts on on-the-ground issues. One of the aims of German support to civil society is its empowerment, so that it can actively participate in decision-making, especially in the context of the accession of Serbia to the European Union and the identification of development priorities for more effective implementation of sustainable development goals in Serbia.