Following the political crisis and protests after the parliamentary elections in December 2016, a new governing coalition bought some optimism about the political situation in Macedonia.
The new government seems willing to undertake reforms and the recently released 2018 EU progress report on Macedonia refers to a ‘more inclusive and open political atmosphere in the country’, including for journalists and the media to report freely.
From January 2019, WFD is supporting government institutions to ensure public money is spent effectively and efficiently. We are looking to improve the skills and practices in the National Assembly with regards to reviewing legislation and policy. In order to achieve this, we will work with the Assembly to support MPs in conducting systematic and meaningful reviews of laws.
An alliance for change – between independent local organisations and the media – will focus on promoting more transparent public spending.
Effective democracy represents everyone in society. That’s why it is important to increase efforts to engage persons with disability in the decisions that impact on their lives.
As part of the Western Balkans Democracy Initiative, funded by the UK government, WFD will work with political parties to better represent the interests of persons with disability (PwD) in the policy making process. An initial small change that can make a big difference to the political engagement of PWDs is how accessible information on political party websites is.
We also hope to create disability champions among political party leaders through activities that will give them insight into the challenge’s persons living with disability face daily. The selected MPs will spend a day shadowing a person with disability and will use this experience to promote awareness.
Between 2016 and 2018, WFD supported CSOs to develop their research techniques and skills. The 12 CSOs involved in the programme work on multiple issues which effect the everyday lives of Macedonian citizens. Encouraging greater use of a thematic evidence-base to engage with parliament helped achieve legislative change in these areas. Examples of WFD-supported initiatives include: patients with rare diseases, social discrimination, child exploitation and hate speech. Through the work of our partner CSOs, we helped create a better environment for Macedonians effected by these and other social and human rights issues.