On October 20th, the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence organized a local debate on the development of this municipality in the premises of the Regional Innovation Startup Center Priboj. The debate brought together the most important actors in the social, political and economic life of the city.

The debate was opened by Ms. Sonja Licht, President of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, who pointed out that the BFPE has excellent cooperation with Priboj, and that she hopes that this cooperation will continue to deepen. She underlined that during the pandemic, solidarity is expressed primarily locally, and only then nationally and globally. Therefore, it is necessary to maximally engage all resources in order for Priboj to develop. After Ms. Licht, the President of the Municipality of Priboj, Lazar Rvović, addressed the audience, who believes that for many years no good news could be heard from Priboj, but that this is no longer the case. In his opinion, the name of the project “from my town to my country” perfectly corresponds to the situation in Priboj, because all development initiatives came from the municipality itself, and not “from above” – from the state. He also believes that Priboj has always been a benchmark for the state, whenever the situation in Priboj was bad, it was bad in the state, and vice versa.

Photo: Facebook page “Udruzenje gradjana Primus Priboj”

Boris Mrdović, President of the Municipal Assembly of Priboj, gave an introductory speech at the second panel, dedicated to the development stakeholders. He pointed out that the free decline of the economy in Priboj was stopped and reversed with the opening of the Free Zone, as well as that Priboj is unique in that a consensus has been established on the issue of development. After that, representatives of companies operating in the Free Zone in Priboj joined the discussion, and they presented the biggest advantages and challenges of doing business in this municipality.

In the last part of the debate, the forms of citizen participation in the development of Priboj were discussed. Goran Reković from the association of citizens Primus emphasized that all strategic documentation of the municipality has expired, or will expire this year, and that it is necessary to dedicate themselves to the development of new documents, primarily the local development plan. He believes that Priboj should take advantage of its specific tripartite geographical position in the Lim basin. After him, Vladimir Pavlović from the Belgrade Open School addressed the audience, announcing that BOS and BFPE will help Priboj in drafting a local development plan. The debate ended with another address by Ms. Sonja Licht, who concluded that association is what we all depend on, and we unite because we have common interests and a common goal, and that is the development of Priboj.

The local debate was organized within the project: “From My Town to My Country: Developing Serbia by a bottom-up approach”, which is implemented with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).