The ‘Dream Labs’ paved the way for the National Development Strategy
Can we redesign the way we create, implement, and monitor our participatory public strategies and plans?
Can we get citizens, national institutions, organizations, and movements, excited and engaged in national development planning processes and their formulation? These are the core questions we asked ourselves, as the UNDP team in Skopje, North Macedonia that started working on supporting our institutions in the development of a 20-year National development strategy for the country.
Few months later, more than 1,000 citizens were actively included in the process of creating a comprehensive document about the development path of the country in the space of economy, social policy, environmental protection, culture, education and all the other relevant fields for advancing the quality of life in the next 20 years. We have developed several avenues that will ensure citizens engagement, participation, and ownership in the creation of the vision for the country. One of those avenues has been an exercise in collective imagination, the ‘Dream Labs’, a series of 30 visioning workshops. In the course of March 2022, 24 workshops were held in all of the eight planning regions and six online workshops in order to interactively include the citizens who shared their suggestions, visions and ideas about the future development of the country. This innovative approach laid the groundwork for creating national process engaging whole of a society.
“The process of creating the National Development Strategy in consensual manner and beyond the parties, as well as in an interethnic, gender and socially inclusive manner is of immense value for the country’s sustainable development. It is really important that this process reflects the vision of the future for all of us, to ensure ownership and continuity of the development path”, said Rosana Dudziak, UN Resident Coordinator in North Macedonia.
“Inclusiveness, openness and transparency are part of the basic principles which UNDP supports and upgrades through its work in numerous different projects. The visionary workshops were organized based on these principles. The great interest of the citizens and the constructive ideas they shared are an encouraging message that we have chosen the right model for drafting a document whose content is important for every citizen of this country", stated Armen Grigoryan, UNDP Resident Representative.
The visionary workshops were open for all citizens, regardless of their age and profession, including the vulnerable groups as well. The events were organized at locations having proper access to the persons with physical impediment and interpreting in sign language was provided as well. The participants gave suggestions for different topics from the area of education, labour market, environment, economy, social inclusion, agriculture, tourism, culture.
The Government of North Macedonia started the preparations for the development of the National Development Strategy in early 2021, through a project supported by the British Embassy Skopje Good Governance Fund and implemented by the UNDP in coordination with RCO North Macedonia to ensure that that the collective UN expertise is utilized in the process where needed.
All citizens have the opportunity to be involved and to leave a personal imprint in the creation of the National Development Strategy. Their comments, suggestions and ideas about different topics are of key importance for the country and the society and can be shared on the National Development Strategy Internet platform www.nrs.mk.