Local action plans (LAP) to address the issue of refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees under the readmission agreement are strategic and action documents of local governments that establish the needs of these categories of persons and provide measures and activities and allocation of funds of the local governments in order to improve their position.
Local action plans organize and solve problems of this population on a midterm level, with the measures and activities that are fully tailored to their actual needs. Employment and housing solutions are the basic needs of refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees under the readmission agreement.
Training for LAPs covered so far 146 municipalities/cities, of which 18 municipalities are in Kosovo and Metohija.
Until now, local action plans are developed and adopted in 135 municipalities/cities, of which 12 municipalities are in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
135 municipalities/cities formed the municipal/city migration councils. They are composed of representatives of various institutions/organizations at the local level that address the problems of refugees, IDPs and returnees under the readmission agreement. A total of 80 percent of the municipalities/cities formed a special budget line, through which local governments, depending on the degree of development of the municipality, co-financed projects in the minimum amount of five percent. In some places these amounts make up 20 to 30 percent of the total project cost.
The importance of local action plans is reflected in the fact that the local government with the completion of local action plan accurately recorded problems and needs of this population and have planned or proposed solutions.
Local action plans are prepared with the cooperation of relevant institutions in a municipality/city. Thus LAP represents the official attitude which shows the willingness of a community to solve identified problems and the particular instrument that provides solutions. Preparation of LAP with the state analysis is the duty of the Migration Council. When LAP receives approval from the Municipal/City Council it is sent to the Municipal/City Assembly. After that it is published in the "Official Gazette" and after eight days becomes effective.
To make LAP applicable and to achieve certain goals it is necessary to have up to date records of the number of refugees, internally displaced persons and the number of returnees under the readmission agreement. Commissariat for Refugees and Migration has these data.
A total of 61 municipalities/cities has adopted new, enlarged LAPs. The newly adopted local action plans are related to the period from 2013. till 2016. In total 46 cities/municpalities are in the process of revision of the existing or adopting new LAPs.
In some municipalities LAPs have been adopted for a period of five years, but the municipalities decided to review them and to include activities for returnees. Number of municipalities recognized the need for new plans as previously planned activities were implemented, and in some places exceeded, so those municipalities made new action plans that cover all three categories of migrants.
Since December 2008. begins the realization of projects to support local action plans. The Government of the Republic of Serbia in the period from 2008. till 2013, through a system of local action plans and with 29 public calls, supported 160 municipalities and cities, with a total amount of around two billion RSD. Allocated funds provided housing solutions for about 3,000 families through the donation of packages of building material. So far 266 households with a garden were purchased, and public call for local governments for the allocation of funds to help another 135 families with this type of housing is ongoing. A total of 2,664 families of refugees and internally displaced persons received the package for economic empowerment.
To support local action plans for 40 municipalities and cities the European Union has allocated 3,7 million EUR, while UNHCR has allocated 2.7 million dollars.
Since 2008. internally displaced persons become beneficiaries of IPA programs, which directly accelerates the pace of solving their housing problems. Thanks to the local action planning system which, according to Professor Walter Kalin, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, "represents a unique model to address the issue of forced migration in the world," local governments are actively involved in addressing the needs of IDPs.