"The MFSA tool is very useful and can help LGs assess their financial performance and look for additional financing. On the other hand, it is a huge responsibility to translate the budget into strategies that will drive LG's development",
Reisa Duraj, Head of Finance and Treasure Relations Sector of the Shkoder Municipality, Albania

"This capacity building program will enhance knowledge and skills of local governments, particularly of medium and large cities."

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City to City Dialogue on "Guided Urban Land Development: Reconciling Public and Private Interests"
November 4-7, 2012

On November 4-7, 2012, City to City Dialogue on "Guided Urban Land Development: Reconciling Public and Private Interests" was held in Budva, Montenegro. This workshop brought together heads of municipal financial departments, urban planners, private real estate developers and non-government organizations, for constructive cross-disciplinary and cross-agency dialogue on how to guide urban development in SEE.  The workshop was attended by over 100 participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.  The audience included delegates from the Local Government Associations, over 20 partner cities, local and regional experts, representatives of private real estate industry, delegates from central government agencies and institutions from some of the participating countries, and a representative from the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED), Serbia. The workshop was designed and delivered in a participatory manner. 

This was the fourth C2C Dialogue organized as part of the WB-Austria Urban Partnership Program.  The C2C discussion was centered on one of the central challenges of guided urban development: how to balance and reconcile public and private interests and enhance the collaboration between city planners, financial departments, private operators, and civil society in the process of urban development.  The workshop discussion focused on: (1) the implications of land use policies and land based fiscal instruments on land development and municipal revenues, and on (2) the linkage between the financial capacity of the municipalities and their ability to finance recurrent day-to day maintenance and capital investments and shape the cities of tomorrow.

Participating municipalities shared findings from their Municipal Finances Self-Assessment (MFSA) process carried out in the past year. Twenty three municipalities are currently participating and new ones are joining in. All of them reinforced their interest in the MFSA because they acquired a better understanding of their own financial situation and saw the process as an opportunity to map out where they are and where they want to be in the future.  The key points highlighted during the session include: diversity of urban profiles and investment challenges facing the cities and municipalities in SEE, impact on municipal finance and capacity to self-finance capital investment budget, and weak investment capacity due to the 2008 financial crisis, among other factors.

Panel sessions and discussions were complimented with the site visit to Budva municipality where participants had an opportunity to discuss different issues with representatives of Urban Planning, Finance and Investment department as well as Chief of Cabinet of Budva.

Participants also discussed the newly designed Urban Planning and Land Management Self-Assessment template.  The next steps would consist in continuing the work on Self-Assessments, some of which will be presented at the Mayors Dialogue in January 2013 in Vienna.

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