FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Macedonia

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

Performance Report Highlights: Macedonia

FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals

The U.S. Government’s (USG) overarching foreign assistance goal is to build and sustain a more democratic Macedonia that is fully integrated into European and Euro-Atlantic structures and able to contribute to the stability of the western Balkans. Sector-specific goals include strengthening Macedonian law enforcement and military organizations; addressing corruption and improving the performance of the judiciary; increasing the ability of the Macedonian educational system to produce a workforce for today’s economy; and increasing business growth, investment and exports.

Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $27.98 million*

Date: 2011 Description: Macedonia -- Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $27.98 million. - State Dept Image

(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including Peace Corps funding and centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries.)

Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus

Peace and Security

-- USG- provided training and the donation and servicing of equipment resulted in increased regional cooperation of customs, border police and radiation safety personnel in radiation protection and combating movement of WMD. The skills of customs and border police officers and radiation safety personnel were improved in the use of existing radiation and contraband detection equipment and of the automated export licensing system. USG funding was used to purchase radiation detection equipment deployed at ports of entry and a vehicle for the Radiation Safety Directorate, thereby increasing Macedonia’s ability to detect and investigate radiation incidents at its borders.

-- The Macedonian military and civilian leadership continued their significant contributions to peacekeeping and coalition operations missions worldwide. Their largest contribution is to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan. In addition to the ongoing presence of 163 soldiers serving there, Macedonia deployed an additional 79 soldiers who were embedded with units from the Vermont National Guard. These two groups of soldiers took part in combined missions for over seven months. Macedonian soldiers also deployed to the European Union peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and the United Nations Interim Force (UNIFIL) mission in Lebanon. The training and equipment provided have also helped Macedonia meet its North Atlantic Treaty Organization Partnership Goals.

-- Anti-terrorism training and equipment provided to government law enforcement officials helped modernize police institutions and further the development of a professional, apolitical force. Anti-terrorism Assistance training in FY 2010 included several courses on VIP Protection.

-- USG assistance trained nearly 100 officers and non-commissioned officers of the Macedonian military. Forty-seven were sent to the United States, 16 attended resident courses at the Marshall Center, and an additional 64 participated in Marshall Center outreach programs across Europe. This training was complemented by the State Partnership Program with the Vermont National Guard, which conducted 32 military to military, military to civilian, and civilian to civilian events reaching an audience over 570 Macedonian military officers, enlisted, and civilians.

-- With USG funding, advisory support was provided to teams of police and prosecutors, resulting in the joint planning and carrying out of several complex criminal operations. The joint teamwork significantly increased the quality of complex criminal investigations, in particular in the use of special investigative measures such as cybercrime detection and investigation. Continued partnership with U.S. Dept of Defense European Command (EUCOM) resulted in reconstruction and refurbishment of a facility that will be utilized by the counter narcotics unit.

Governing Justly and Democratically

-- An Automated Court Case Management and Information System (ACCMIS), developed and deployed with USG support in all courts, became mandatory for managing all court cases as of January 1, 2010. The new system replaced the old manual case processing system, addressed the time consuming procedures in the courts, and improved court transparency and data reliability. Training on using ACCMIS data in conducting court audits was provided to 36 Ministry of Justice’s inspectors. As a result of the backlog reduction activities the basic courts in Bitola appellate region experienced a 64 percent reduction of cases older than three years. The best practices of Bitola region were disseminated nationwide and as of June, the basic courts had decided 52 percent of the 1.02 million cases on their dockets, representing a 22 percent increase over the previous year.

-- USG-trained legal professionals developed the Action Plan for implementation of the new Criminal Procedure Code. USG assistance trained 50 prosecutors, judges, defense counsels and law enforcement in asset forfeiture laws, resulting in a significant increase in the confiscation of criminal proceeds, totaling approximately $25 million. As a result of USG support, judgments are now published on the courts’ websites, public access is permitted to sessions of the Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils, and defense counsels have unfettered access to their detained clients.

-- Based on the recommendations of a USG-funded study, amendments to the Law on Court Budget were passed by the Parliament. The amended law mandates the provision of a minimum 0.8 percent of the GDP per year to the judicial branch, which will improve the financial independence of the judiciary by ensuring stable funding for the courts. USG-support was also provided to the Academy for Judges and Prosecutors to conduct a training needs assessment, which resulted in the adoption of a court staff training curriculum. With USG support 420 justice sector personnel were trained on efficiency and effectiveness in customer service, public information and communication, staff performance evaluation, and ACCMIS. The training of court public information officers culminated with coordinated events in nine courts throughout the country to mark the Macedonian Day of Judiciary, which included trial simulations with law school students, media briefings, guided court tours, presentation of court results, and public debates at courts.

-- In the area of decentralization, USG assistance was used to help the Association of Local Self Governing Units (ZELS) and the Government of Macedonia draft the new Law on Construction Land, which for the first time provides the municipalities with the right to own and manage construction land. This law will provide local governments with a greater role in their own economic development. The completion of the installation of key systems for local property tax administration and financial management in all Macedonian municipalities resulted in the overall increase of 35 percent in the property tax collection rate. USG assistance was also used to support a law on municipal borrowing, a right introduced for the first time since Macedonia’s independence. As a result, seven municipalities received approval for borrowing from the Central Government, as a prerequisite for access to the World Bank lending program for municipal services improvement. The total value of these loan agreements is €9.66 million.

-- USG support helped improve civil society’s ability to advocate for positive reforms and the passing of key pieces of NGO legislation such as the new Law on Citizens' Associations and Foundations (NGO Law). The new law provides a comprehensive regulatory framework for civil society organizations, creates a basis for their sustainable operation, and helps increase the sector’s social impact. The law brings Macedonia’s legal system governing NGOs into closer harmony with European standards and best practices. According to the latest European Commission (EC) 2010 Progress Report on Macedonia, “the newly enacted Law on Citizens’ Associations and Foundations provided for wider practice of the right of association. The right to associate was extended to legal entities, foreigners and minors, without needing to register a formal legal entity.” The EC Report also noted that involvement of civil society in the policy development process and in legislative drafting is growing.

-- USG assistance supported three civil society organizations that worked with four municipalities in Eastern Macedonia to develop practices for more transparent, accountable, and responsible operations of their municipal administration. The assistance helped the four municipalities to discuss and develop 42 recommendations on municipal practices and services that needed improvement, such as having written procedures for consulting the public in the process of planning, preparation and adoption of the municipal budget and other strategic documents, updating municipal websites, engaging a communication/PR officer for the municipality, and developing a communication strategy.

-- USG-funded technical assistance helped Parliament to successfully organize its first three oversight hearings on topics including: U.S. – Macedonia relations; waste collection in rural areas; and the law on donations and sponsorships. More than 10 ministers were invited to provide testimony, together with relevant mayors, public institutions and civil society groups. The conclusions and recommendations were published on the Assembly’s website, ensuring transparency. This exercise of the Assembly’s oversight function was in line with provisions from the new Law on Parliament.

Investing In People

-- USG support helped to improve teaching and learning in science, math and technology through the training of more than 7,740 primary school teachers and the provision of 67,000 textbooks and other teaching and learning materials, including almost 6,000 manuals on improving science and math teaching techniques and 6,000 manuals on using laptops in the classroom. Slightly over 8,000 primary school teachers were trained in better ways to assess student learning. In addition, an on-line teachers’ toolbox was created of best practice videos, inventive lesson plans, and other learning and teaching materials, many developed and uploaded by teachers. In FY 2010, teachers created 18 video classes and uploaded 146 model lesson plans.

-- Comprehensive education support was provided to 2,965 Roma at pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels, helping them to remain in the school system and improve their academic achievement. As a result, 90.5 percent of pre-school participants of age to enroll in primary school did so; 94.1 percent of fifth to eighth graders successfully completed the school year and continued to the next grade; and 100 percent of high school beneficiaries obtained secondary education diplomas. The Government of Macedonia has recognized this program as a successful model and has begun to take on management responsibility.

Economic Growth

-- Under the pillar of private sector competitiveness, technical assistance was provided to over 400 companies, resulting in improved business management practices as seen by $25 million in new exports, new opportunities for investment, and credit for nearly 100 firms.

-- In coordination with the EU and the World Bank, the USG provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Economy to strengthen the capacity of its Energy Department and to develop a new Energy Law, one of the benchmarks set by the European Commission in its 2009 Progress report. The development process was fully transparent and included a number of newly adopted EU Directives, which brings the law in line with the EU requirements. In September 2010, the law was adopted by the Government and is under review by the Parliament. Also, U.S. support assisted the Ministry of Economy in updating the Energy Efficiency Strategy and to develop a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which is a requirement for signatories of the Energy Community Treaty.

-- U.S. assistance continued to support 20 export-focused business expansion projects for firms in three targeted value chains. These value chains were bottled wine, fresh fruits and vegetables, and processed vegetables. As a result, the 20 projects increased sales by approximately $6.5 million, benefiting 28,405 rural families. The USG investment in these projects was $465,024, while client company investments exceeded $8 million.

-- U.S. assistance helped to improve the productive and technological capabilities of 53 companies and the management practices of 310. Investments and market linkages resulted in $38.35 million in new investment, $21.6 million in new exports, and increased employment by 774 jobs. U.S. assistance to the digital media industry enabled the establishment of a Digital Media Park which now employs over 100 people and had over $1 million in exports this year.

-- In workforce development, U.S. support established the web-based National Internship and Job Placement Program with universities, vocational schools, companies and 8,500 students. Emphasis was placed on providing assistance equitably, and over half of the internship placements went to women (212). Computer technology training was provided for 322 teachers, each of whom established Student Technician Clubs in all 380 primary schools. Although men usually dominate participation in such activities, the project achieved a 48 percent participation rate by female teachers. In addition, the Ministry of Education and Science adopted the technology curriculum developed with U.S. assistance that is currently being piloted in nine school laboratories, emphasizing applied robotics computer controls and Computer Automated Design.