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Diplomacy in Action

FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
FY 2008 U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative Activities with Central and Eastern Europe


FY 2008 Foreign Assistance Goals

United States Government (USG) assistance to Macedonia focuses on facilitating the country’s continued development on the path toward full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community and assisting the Macedonian Government’s efforts to sustain economic and democratic reforms that will yield strong, stable, political and market-oriented economic institutions. In FY 2008, security sector assistance focused on building the capacity of intelligence and law enforcement units to collect and analyze information, improving border control, strengthening criminal investigations and prosecution, and supporting ongoing efforts in regional and international peacekeeping operations. Support for transparent democratic governance remained a cornerstone of USG assistance, which worked to improve the effectiveness of the judicial system particularly in the areas of organized crime, corruption, and war crimes. Assistance to political parties was designed to increase their professionalism and internal democratic practices while support to strengthen local government was targeted at improving municipal services and enhancing political competition. In the area of investing in people, the goal of USG assistance was to improve the quality of the national education system. To promote economic growth in an economy characterized by high unemployment and modest growth, assistance was provided to strengthen the business environment by promoting transparency and reducing corruption, improving business management practices, marketing and finance access capacity, improving agricultural productivity, and increasing exports.

Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $26.05m*

FY 2008 Areas of Focus

P&S: Peace and Security

GJD: Governing Justly and Democratically

IIP: Investing in People

EG: Economic Growth

XCPS: Cross-Cutting Program Support
Date: 01/01/2009 Description: Macedonia: Total FY 2008 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $26.05m ,  Peace and Security=$5.23m, 20% , Governing Justly and Democratically=$7.70m, 30% , Investing in People=$4.03m, 15% , Economic Growth=$8.41m, 32% , Cross-Cutting Program Support=$0.69m, 3%. State Dept Photo

(*Foreign Operations appropriated assistance, excluding Peace Corps funds and centrally managed Foreign Operations funds that are not budgeted for specific countries.)

Highlights of FY 2008 Performance by Area of Focus

Peace and Security

In FY 2008, USG assistance:

  • Provided counter-terrorism (CT) training to enhance and sustain Macedonia’s capacity to take strong, effective, and decisive measures to prevent terrorist networks from taking root. Having effective CT programs has been, and continues to be, a key element in Macedonia’s effort to fulfill criteria for NATO membership and EU accession. Over the past year, the success of several police operations can be traced directly back to the training and expertise provided through U.S. assistance.

  • Contributed to the determination by NATO that Macedonia was qualified for membership. Macedonia continued its significant contributions to peacekeeping and coalition operations worldwide with a total of eight deployments: two to Iraq with 150 soldiers; two to Afghanistan with 270 soldiers; two to Bosnia with 25 soldiers, and two to Lebanon with two soldiers.

  • Trained twenty-seven officers and NCOs in the U.S. for formal training. Eight officers were resident students at the Marshall Center. An additional nine conferences/training seminars were conducted with a total of 126 participants. All seminars and conferences were conducted from a regional perspective, with participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

  • Provided advisory support to multi-functional teams of police and prosecutors which resulted in their planning and conducting several complex criminal operations jointly. Further training was provided in complex investigative techniques, court testimony, criminal analysis, and money laundering linked to terrorist financing and human trafficking in coordination with international partners including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the European Union as well as the Embassy of the United Kingdom.

  • Donated equipment to enhance the capacity of the Macedonian Police to combat organized crime, illegal trafficking, and potential terrorist activities as well as to assure proper border control, while raising the level of police professionalism and accountability. Donation values during this period amounted to approximately $264,000.

  • In support of the Ministry of Interior’s (MOI) recently established Human Resources Department, the USG provided advisory assistance in reviewing the new Human Resources Management Strategy to ensure a proper merit-based career development system for members of the MOI at all levels and ranks, with the goal of established professional positions with civil service protections.

Governing Justly and Democratically

In FY 2008, USG assistance:

  • Conducted trainings for court enforcement agents that resulted in significant improvements in the efficiency and reliability of the Macedonian enforcement system. The average time for enforcing a court judgment in the commercial area is 60 days, which makes Macedonia a regional leader and contributes to the creation of a favorable business and investment environment.

  • Provided advanced skills training to criminal justice officials in organized crime, war crimes, electronic surveillance and special investigative methods. As a result, prosecutors obtained several major crimes convictions and forfeiture of approximately $3 million worth of criminal assets. Between January and July 2008, the total debt collected through the private enforcement system was $42.2 million. Further, out of the 30,657 cases filed from January to August, enforcement agents disposed of 15,355, which was 31 percent more efficient than the previous enforcement system. In addition, the training of 239 court staff, judges and Ministry of Justice personnel resulted in user satisfaction of all 27 basic courts reaching a level of 67.8 percent.

  • Achieved significant results in its work with the Parliament, even though it was interrupted due to the early parliamentary elections in June 2008. These results included: implementation of a Code of Conduct for Free and Fair Elections; opening of 42 Constituency Offices nationwide; and designation of Fridays for work on constituency relations rather than sessions of Parliament. In addition, the Parliament voted to amend the 2008 parliamentary budget to provide substantial financial support to the constituency office network, the internship program, and an initiative to open Parliament’s doors to public tours.

  • Worked on the fiscal aspects of decentralization resulting in the approval of the first-ever municipal loan in Macedonia. The recipient municipality utilized USAID’s Development Credit Authority to obtain a $635,000 loan to implement an energy efficiency project. In addition, local tax collection rates nationwide increased by an average of 20 percent, thus moving municipalities closer to the key objective of increasing their own-source revenue collection and decreasing their dependence on central government funding.

  • Provided training to 1,161 political party representatives, including 576 women and 585 men, from both governing and opposition parties. In addition, 419 youth members from governing and opposition parties also received training on a variety of topics, including leadership, political communications and media relations. As a result, major governing and opposition parties conducted aggressive grassroots campaigning prior to the June 1, 2008 snap parliamentary elections. Parties organized meetings with citizens to articulate campaign messages. Governing and opposition parties utilized USG-sponsored public opinion research for their strategic messaging, issue development, and campaign planning and outreach. As a result, the campaign was much more focused on issues than in prior years.

Investing in People

In FY 2008, USG assistance:

  • Focused on basic education and higher education. Given Macedonia’s small size, basic education programs have a nationwide reach and provide the catalyst for transformational change. For example, during the reporting period, 100 percent of primary school teachers and students were beneficiaries of U.S. assistance.

  • Increased the numbers of students from the Roma minority that are staying in school and performing better: over 95 percent of USG-supported Roma primary and secondary school students continued to the next grade in FY 2008 and had higher academic performance than their non-supported counterparts. Notably, retention rates for USG-supported Roma girls – a particularly disadvantaged group - are higher than boys in secondary schools. In 2008, after four years of USG support, 75 percent of all secondary school Roma students (262) who started their freshman year in 2004 graduated from high school.

  • Helped all eight public Teacher Training Institutions (TTI) to modernize curricula and prepare future teachers for the workforce. Two new study programs were developed and six were significantly revised to incorporate European Credit Transfer System competence-based and outcome-oriented principles. Additionally, a “Guidebook for School-Based Assessment Standards and Implications in Pre-service Teacher Training” was developed and distributed to all pre-service TTIs; five adopted a new course in student assessment; and two adopted a new “Mentoring Module.”

  • Renovated 37 schools in FY 2008 – 623 classrooms – to improve the learning environment and increase energy efficiency. Computer servers were installed in 437 previously-established primary and secondary school computer labs in order to facilitate the exchange of information among all teachers via the first Education Web Portal in Macedonia. Over 3,300 school administrators and teachers were trained in areas related to improved math, science, information technology, and assessment practices. National School-based Assessment Standards were developed, adopted by the Ministry of Education (MOE), and delivered to all primary schools in Macedonia. This was done concurrently with the development of and training in a Code of Assessment Ethics.

Economic Growth

In FY 2008, USG assistance:

  • Was provided to the Government of Macedonia to implement reforms promoting greater transparency, efficiency and uniformity of procedures. A computer application to track exports and was established and an electronic procurement system was launched.

  • Improved productive and technological capabilities of 82 companies and management practices of 84 companies in high-growth sectors. USG-facilitated investment and market linkages for 28 companies resulted in greater investment, increased value-added exports, and employment generation. Through a Public-Private Partnership, a plastic recycling project increased foreign investment (1.5 million euros) and created 200 jobs. USG assistance helped to restructure the Association of Information Technology Firms to provide better member services.

  • Expanded Macedonian agribusinesses’ understanding and ability to better utilize export marketing tools and strategies, which involved Macedonian companies’ participation in international trade fairs and business-to-business meetings. As a result, Macedonian companies realized new product orders of 1.3 million euros and concrete sales of over 2 million euros. The value of total domestic investment stimulated during FY 2008 was $2.1 million, and as a direct result of U.S. assistance, approximately $3.2 million of additional financing was identified for 35 agriculture-related firms.

  • Provided support to improve the public procurement system and sound public procurement policies. The assistance resulted in a draft of the new Law on Public Procurement, which aligns with European Union (EU) standards. To ensure proper implementation, the Public Procurement Bureau received USG support for extensive capacity building assistance. The system for electronic procurement makes the process transparent and reduces opportunities for corruption.

  • Helped Macedonia fight corruption. For the third year in a row the Ministry of Transport and Communications is using a web-based system, developed with USG assistance, for electronic distributions of international transport licenses. The system has reformed the distribution system by imposing selection criteria which removed bias from the decision-making process and increased the transparency of the selection process.

Success Stories

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Become More Effective – A major achievement in the area of promoting the development of civil society was a strengthened civil sector through the elevation of 19 “Leader CSOs” to new levels of effectiveness, as measured through a comprehensive performance assessment tool. CSOs were measured at regular intervals to determine their progress in: financial viability; local resource mobilization; service delivery; productive partnership and collaboration; strategic outreach; branding; and sectoral leadership. According to these assessments, CSOs receiving assistance developed or improved partnerships with stakeholders, served as support organizations to the sector and offered trainings to other CSOs, and acquired advanced advocacy skills and applied them to issues that matter to citizens. Examples of such issues were: consumers’ rights; agricultural policies; domestic violence; decentralized management of education; waste management; and government budget monitoring. One CSO helped over 800 Roma citizens obtain personal documents, while another established volunteering centers throughout the country and organized cultural, humanitarian and clean-up activities. Additionally, The Hope Fellowship Program offered trainings in: leadership and communications; management and operations; advocacy; anti-corruption issues and strategies; and youth issues. These trainings helped to build the capacities of women leaders of all ethnic backgrounds from government and civil society.

Macedonian Institute of Media Begins Diploma Program – The One-Year Diploma Program (OYDP) offered through the School of Journalism and Corporate Communications was instituted by the Macedonian Institute for Media (MIM) to better feed the domestic need for high profile professionals in the demanding fields of journalism and public communications/relations. An important MIM partner in the development of this program was the USG-supported Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). With the support of ISC, students of the OYPD have been able to sharpen their investigative journalism skills. This support has helped the students frame their work over the past two years in 30 minute programs called "Our Circle," which aired on national and local TV and radio stations. Further, ISC has supported workshops and seminars for OYPD students in Struga and Strumica, which have also resulted in programs being aired nationally, and supported the Roma Mainstream Program to allow Roma students to finish their diploma exams.

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