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Friday, 27 January 2023

Consumers’ Organisation of Macedonia (COM)

The main objective of Consumers’ Organization of Macedonia (COM) is protection of consumers’ interests by advocating for availability of most essential goods and services, protection of products and processes harmful to the health of consumers, informing, advising and educating consumers about their rights and obligations. The vision of COM is a society in which citizens of the Republic of Macedonia fully exercise their consumer rights and practice responsible consumption. We are committed to the idea that we as consumers have the right to a better quality of life and responsibility not to jeopardize this right of future generations through our selection and use of products and services.

COM exists for consumer protection in the exercise of their fundamental rights, such as:

  • Availability of most essential goods and services;
  • Safe and high-quality products and services;
  • Accurate and timely information and education of consumers, due to correct selection of products and services;
  • Redress when consumer rights are violated; and
  • A healthy environment and sustainable consumption.

The purpose of COM is accomplished by providing advice, information and education of consumers in relation to their individual and collective consumer rights through representation of their interests in policy and legislation.

COM was established as a civic association in 1996 in Skopje, Macedonia. COM’s is an “umbrella” organization with Advisory Office in Skopje and it is comprised of consumer organizations from Bitola, Shtip, Tetovo, Ohrid and Kocani which have their own advisory bureaus.

COM’s expert commissions have been established on the basis of practical work, effective communication with experts in individual areas, the needs of citizens, bodies of state administration and local government in the area of consumers’ protection. Their existence and development is meant by appropriate programme directions in areas that have been established, to be a promoter of the improvement and understanding consumers’ rights and responsibilities.

Commissions’ program commitments constitute the essence of the professional component of the operational plan in the area of the working and development activities of COM. Within COM the following committees operate:

  • Legal;
  • Housing;
  • Nutrition;
  • Patients’ rights;
  • Energetics;

and the following Working groups for:

  • Education of children as consumers in preschool education; and
  • Educating students as consumers in primary education.

COM for 22 years actively works on raising public awareness and advocating the interests of consumers at national, regional and international levels through information, education and creation of appropriate legislation in the country. COM has already worked on projects that are closely related to the activities proposed in this proposal, such as: Strengthening the capacity of civil society to promote and protect consumers and their rights; Regional Model for a Smart Municipal Services Reporting System for the citizens (Regional model for smart reporting system of municipal services to citizens) covering region of the Western Balkans; Solar Water Heaters – promotion of solar energy; Advancing knowledge on consumer rights through teaching in primary schools – prepared functional Manual for teachers for the subject: “Skills of life”; Consumer friendly energy bills! – policy document used for public awareness; Raising consumer awareness on the need for proper labeling of certain groups of products; From farm to fork – safe food for the Macedonian consumer; Guide for services of public utilities of the City of Skopje; and others.

COM has implemented the Government consumer protection program and City of Skopje Consumer protection program in recent years as well as for the year of 2017. COM has leading the ConWeb – a consumers’ organisation for SEE since the central office is in the COM premises. The ConWeb Network is active and is supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Open Regional Fund for South East Europe – Legal Reform until October 2018.

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