arrow-circle arrow-down-basicarrow-down arrow-left-small arrow-left arrow-right-small arrow-right arrow-up arrow closefacebooklinkedinsearch twittervideo-icon

Western Balkans Regional Hub: National Exchange Of Experiences and Good Practices Between Community Action Teams in North Macedonia

Publication Date:
Content Type:

— 1 minutes reading time

On 13-14 June, 2023, the Strong Cities Network Western Balkans Regional Hub, in partnership with the Municipality of Kumanovo, North Macedonia and with support from the U.S. Department of State, convened over 20 mayors and other city leaders, local government practitioners, and civil society experts from six municipalities across North Macedonia, as well as national government and international community representatives to exchange experiences, challenges, lessons learned and good practices on multi-stakeholder models for preventing hate, extremism and polarisation. Particular attention was placed on the Community Action Teams (CATs) that have emerged in different municipalities across the country.

The discussions explored how best to sustain these local structures, given the human and financial resource constraints under which they often operate.  For example, professionals involved in them typically participate on a voluntary basis (in addition to their regular jobs) and the structures often lack dedicated funding for programme delivery. With the updated National Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Strategy soon to be released, participants also highlighted the importance of sustained national-local cooperation (NLC) in prevention and response.  This involves, inter alia, enhancing trust between local government institutions and law enforcement, for which the Ministry of Interior bears responsibility.

Throughout the discussions, participants pointed to the unique role of mayors and other city leaders, as well as city practitioners, in addressing hate, extremism and polarisation and respond to community needs and grievances. Local government representatives also expressed that national exchanges such as this one helps draw attention to this role and how best to enable more local leaders to fulfil it on a consistent basis. They also shared how valuable these exchanges are in ensuring that national government representatives hear directly from their local counterparts about the threats they are facing and how best to prevent and respond to them through a comprehensive ‘whole-of-society’ approach.