The author is a program assistant at CEDR – Centre for Education, Documentation and Research at HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje. He has a Master’s degree in Ethnology and Anthropology and long research experience with different socially marginalized groups/communities, particularly people who use drugs.
Budget monitoring and dealing with institutional barriers in Macedonia
Budget monitoring can be a beneficial tool not only to access public information, but also to prompt public institutions to greater accountability and transparency. Of course, this is not so feasible in a country like Macedonia, despite the separate Law on Free Access to Public Information. The positive aspect in these circumstances is that the process itself reveals institutional weakness, which on the other hand creates the opportunity for developing new communication and cooperation strategies with the institutions.
HOPS – Healthy Options Project Skopje in 2014 decided to carry out budget monitoring in order to examine the possibility for financing the harm reduction programs in Macedonia from the state budget of the country. Now, halfway through 2016, these programs are still being funded from finances provided by the Global Fund to Fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Funding from the Global Fund stops in December 2016, however, in 2014 there were still no announcements that the obligation for financing these programs would be assumed from the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia. In fact, the future financing of these programs in Macedonia remains uncertain, that, however, is not the topic of this discussion.