The Association of the Units of the Local Self-Government (ZELS) is a nonprofit organization and the only national association that brings together on voluntary basis its members, all 84 municipalities and the City of Skopje, as a separate unit of the local self-government. It was founded on 26 April 1972, declared as the Day of the Municipalities in the Republic of North Macedonia by the Statute of ZELS.
ZELS is a unique, well respected and powerful association of the local self-government units in the Republic of North Macedonia, which contributes to the development of local democracy and successful implementation of the decentralization process in the country. The basic role of ZELS is continuous lobbying on behalf of the interests of the municipalities in the Republic of North Macedonia. It is a representative of their opinions before the central government, thereby establishing itself into an important partner of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia in the enforcement and development of local self-government in the country.
ZELS continues the tradition of its performance based on the principles of non-politicization, equality of members, loyalty, political independence, professionalism and application of European standards, focusing on the development of the democratic society, with a strong local self-government in the Republic of North Macedonia.
On the 26th of April 2012, ZELS celebrated its 40th anniversary. It was a momentum of time honored commitment of the successful development of the municipalities and the effective implementation of the decentralization process. It is truly remarkable accomplishment, which will continue to pursue local democracy and utilize decentralization in the Republic of North Macedonia.
Being active on international level, ZELS is a member of:
CLRAE - “Congress of the Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
CEMR - “Congress of the European Municipalities and regions
NALAS - “Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe
ALDA - “Association of Local Democracy Agencies
Convent of Mayors - European Movement on energy efficiency
ZELS has been an implementer of over 30 projects in the past 5 years, cooperating with over 10 donor international organizations (SDC, USAID, European Union, Council of Europe, UNDP, OSCE, SNV, British Embassy, OSI/Budapest, RELMAS/Slovak Aid, European Agency for Reconstruction etc.)