For the first time in Mitrovica north a Public Debate was organized yesterday with the topic: Public participation in decision making at local level.
This debate was part of various activities that the NGO “Community Building Mitrovica “, supported by the IKV Pax Christi from the Netherlands is organizing in monitoring and evaluating the presence of public in decision making processes. The aim of this informal debate was to give participants the opportunity to discuss about the importance of participating in decision making processes and give suggestions and recommendations in order to strengthen cooperation between local authorities and civil society.
After opening the debate by the chair person, different good practices were presented to the participants. Bert van der Linde expressed his gratitude for being together with all those people who were willing to contribute and help the community to improve the way of living. He mentioned some good practices of increasing public participation; one of the good examples mentioned was realized in Croatia. “Although, in this debate I see people from different countries, you, as a local people have a key role in improving the situation” he said.
Valdete Idrizi the Executive Director of CIVIKOS, presented shortly the work that they are doing in order to improve the central decision making. She also stated the importance and need for citizens of Mitrovica to be heard. “We criticize when there is a space for criticism”, and Civil Society needs to create a strategic plan how to work with local institutions in order to improve their liveability.
Until now the citizens of north Mitrovica face difficulties when trying to participate in local decision making. Approaching the local institutions in a direct manner has not been affective. Problem in the north is a lack of institutional transparency and the implementation of activities by civil society. It is necessary for citizens to be active to have influence and to created local institution awareness of the right for citizens to be heard. The participants agreed that by implementing small scale activities live of north Mitrovica citizens can improve and step by step public participation in decision making will increase.
Because of the great success of this first public debate regarding public participation in decision making in north Mitrovica continuation is desirable. In cooperation with IKV Pax Christie follow up meetings will take place. As many participants as possible are needed to really hear the voice and become aware of the needs of the north Mitrovica community. This debate was the first step in the right direction to increase public participation in decision making and make the north Mitrovica citizens aware of their influence possibilities.
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