On Wednesday, May 12th, a local debate was held in Pirot on the project “From My Town to My Country – How to Ensure Serbia’s Development”, organized by the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence and with the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The local debate gathered representatives of local self-government, civil society organizations, entrepreneurs, representatives of small and medium enterprises, and representatives from educational institutions.

The debate included three panels. The first panel – Development potentials of Pirot, which was discussed by the Deputy Mayor of Pirot, Milos Colic. Second panel – Socio-economic elements of the development of the City of Pirot, ie, presentation of socio-economic aspects of the development of the city identified through the research of the Association Pirgos and BFPE. Third panel – Green Development of Pirot – Opportunities and obstacles, that is, the development of the city’s priorities in line with the sustainable development goals in the field of environmental protection and energy.

Milos Colic, the deputy mayor of Pirot, stated that it is very important that Pirot is recognized in Serbia as an example of good practice and visible progress. On the other hand, the combination of modern and traditional stems from the rich cultural intangible heritage that Pirot is proud of, its natural resources and good economy. Colic emphasizes that by creating a strong Pirot, a stronger Serbia is also being created.

“We are talking about the sustainable development goals and how the city can contribute to the realization of those goals, so that by creating a good and favorable climate for life in Pirot, by creating a strong Pirot, we can create a stronger Serbia.” For us in Pirot, every segment of society is important. What is crucial is balanced development. We have created a local self-government that is accessible to everyone, where citizens participate in decisions, and every humanity of the social environment is reflected in the attitude towards the most vulnerable groups. These are primarily people with disabilities, children and the elderly. Pirot will strive to be one of the best local governments in all social segments – from sports, culture, education, economy, environmental protection, and so on. For all that, in addition to a great desire, a lot of work is needed. Pirot is an economic and transit center, but we want to be the first in culture, tourism in particular, social protection, simply in every segment of society, “said Colic.

“In order to do this job in the right way, we are doing it in cooperation with our local partners, in Pirot it is the organization” Pirgos”, with the support of local governments. As a regional center with its world-famous characteristics, starting with the Pirot carpet, ironed sausage, developed industry since ancient times, Pirot is certainly one of the brightest examples of how, in fact, with engagement at the local level can ensure a good lifestyle for citizens, but also the improvement of the overall standard and life at the national level. Although, there is also a period of crisis, currently a world pandemic, sometimes it is about other challenges and it is up to us to find the right ways to take the next step through conversations with representatives of the local community. If it is something good to make it better, if there are some challenges, how can everyone get involved to solve those challenges, first at the local level, and then at the national level “- said Stefan Vladisavljev, program coordinator of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence.