The city of Novi Sad and the municipalities of Babušnica and Bela Palanka are the winners of this year's awards, which are awarded by the Protector of Citizens to the cities, municipalities and city municipalities in the Republic of Serbia that contributed the most to the development of all forms of accessibility in their territory in the previous year.
The city of Novi Sad was awarded for the comprehensive and continuous actions of city authorities on the development of all forms of accessibility and social inclusion of persons with disabilities, and the municipalities of Babušnica and Bela Palanka for their contribution to improving the accessibility of public facilities.
The city of Šabac received recognition for the development of the partnership between the public and civil sectors in creating an accessible environment and the availability of services, and the city of Niš deserved a commendation for advocating for improved access to City Administration services. Certificates of appreciation were presented to the representatives of Vranje, Leskovac, Smederevo, Sombor and the municipality of Svilajnac.
The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić, said that this institution has been conducting a public call for the sixth year in a row, with the desire to encourage and recognize those local self-government units that have contributed the most to the development of all forms of accessibility in their environment.
Accessibility implies not only accessibility to the physical environment, but also to information, services, and products. The availability of such content makes life more dignified and complete, emphasized Pašalić.
He pointed out that the position of people with disabilities is not talked about enough, and that a very important aspect of the activities of the Protector of Citizens is raising social awareness at all levels about the necessity to take continuous and systematic measures to improve their position.
The General Secretary of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Nikola Tarbuk, pointed out that the awarded cities and municipalities serve as an example to others, which is one of the goals of promoting the improvement of all forms of accessibility through best practices. He particularly emphasized that support on the national level through various programs and types of financing is important, to be able to implement some of the local measures.
The Protector of Citizens has been awarding the award for contribution to the development of all forms of accessibility at the local level for six years in cooperation with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, and in previous years, also with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.