“When dealing with this pandemic, two moments are very important: the intensive cooperation and communication with all stakeholders and the frequent communication with the public to deal with the challenges of spreading fake news, give precise information and listen to the feedback”, said the Minster of Health d-r Venko Filipche in his introductory statement at the Civica Mobilitas Thematic Forum on “Dealing the Crisis with (In)Sufficient Resources”.

The Director of the Crisis Management Centre, Stojanche Angelov, spoke about two aspects in the cooperation with the CSOs: public awareness raising and supervision and control of the policies. “We expect that the civil sector contributes even more on these issues by making the citizens more information, which should contribute to better prevention in the fight against the pandemics”, he added.

For Zoran Drangovski from the Macedonian Association of Young Lawyers, one of the representatives of the civil sector in the Main Headquarters for Crisis Management, it is crucial that the institutions know what the CSOs work so that they know the capacities and resources that they have.

CSOs, mostly Civica Mobilitas grantees presented the conclusions and recommendations from the previous meeting to the representatives of the institutions and at today’s meeting they once again stressed part of the burning issues, such as the access to information, access to services, treatment of people with disabilities and other vulnerable categories, etc. The participants were interested in whether the institutions planned any preparatory activities for the vaccination process, i.e. how the citizens will be informed, which citizens will have the priority and how they will deal with the challenges of the process.

Speaking about the cooperation with the CSOs, Filipche stressed a number of good examples even before the crisis and he said: “We want to make legal changes with which we would increase the competencies of the CSOs and use their capacities. They have the know-how, a good communication with the beneficiaries, appropriate resources that could be helpful”, and he added that a policy can be implemented only if it serves the group for which it is intended. “It is of special importance that this group is involved in the policy creation”, said the Minister.

Drangovski stressed that they would insist on a better flow of information from the Main Crisis Headquarters to the public and that they would ask for a way of direct communication via which the CSO representatives would transfer the information to the public. In this direction, the conclusions of this forum will be presented at the first meeting of the Main Crisis Headquarters, as early as Monday, 21 December 2020.

The debate was followed by around 200 citizens, part on Zoom platform and part via the livestream on Facebook.