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World Bank - Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP)

Categories: City-to-City, News | Author: Maja | Posted: 1/10/2018 | Views: 3334
City to City Dialogue: November 14-15, 2017 Skopje, Macedonia

This two-day event was organized as part of the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP) aimed to assist and support cities and local governments in South East Europe (SEE) in a process of modernization and reform, in order to promote local development for inclusive and sustainable growth, and enhanced urban governance. This year’s City to City Dialogue welcomed several guests from Eastern Partnership countries (Ukraine and Moldova) which are part of the European Commission Program – Mayors for Economic Growth. It was a unique opportunity for exchange and learning experience beyond SEE region.

The dialogue in Skopje was eight in a series of City to City dialogues and focused on action planning, sharing of good practices and experiences as well as problem solving through peer-to- peer knowledge exchange.

Regional event was opened by H.E. Suhejl Fazliu, Minister of Local Self Government of Macedonia, Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Regional Director for Western Balkans and Gabrielle Janezic, Deputy Head of Mission, Government of Austria. The workshop was attended by over 100 representatives from central government, local government administrations, including Mayors, finance departments, Local economic development officers, urban planners, Local Government Associations, NALAS, NGOs from seven South East Europe countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

UPP experts presented the redesigned Municipal Finance Self-Assessment Toolkit (MFSA 2.0), to be complemented with modernized visual software application that would be user friendly while considering specific revenue and expenditure classifications of different countries in the Region, to be launched in February 2018 as a part of UPP III.  Further, main findings of the second Municipal Finance Review (MFR) report were presented by the regional expert. Selected issues of disaggregated finances dataset compilation and usage were discussed by local finance experts. The MFR-II (update) aims to compile disaggregated municipal finance datasets and to analyze fiscal data and indicators across municipalities in the participating countries. It will equip the ministries, local government associations, think tanks and policy researchers with evidences for fiscal planning and for budget negotiations. As a result of the previous MFR-I edition (UPP I), a number of LGAs already developed disaggregated municipal databases (Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro).

UPP Partner NALAS presented the Regional Decentralization Observatory (RDO) that will focus on regional monitoring of the decentralization processes and delivery of public services in SEE as well as develop with partner institutions overall Methodology for SEE Decentralization Observatory. As stated by the NALAS expert: “The success of the annual NALAS’ Fiscal Decentralization Report, as well as the Solid Waste Benchmarking showed that knowing where each of the countries of the region is going in each of the dimensions of decentralization is very important, both for national policy-making, but also for peer pressure and learning from the best practices.” The local autonomy, quality of local public services, citizens’ participation and the role of Local Government Associations are among the dimensions NALAS aims to explore through the Observatory.

Innovative funding opportunities were presented during the two-day event, including crowdfunding campaigns, as an example of alternative financing for regional projects. Mayor of Pregrada presented successful crowdfunding experience “You and me together for the kindergarten” as a good practice from Croatia where the municipality managed to fundraise 121% of the targeted amount. “Except the financial part, crowdfunding is a great tool for testing and promoting good ideas”, said NALAS Knowledge and Communications Manager who presented crowdfunding campaign focusing on Balkan cuisine. “Our ongoing campaign promotes SEE municipalities as unique culinary destinations with rich cultural heritage.”

As part of the C2C Dialogue several panel discussions showcased success stories from the Region. Cities and municipalities of Banja Luka, Rijeka, Kisela Voda, Subotica, Strumica, Gjirokaster, Bar, Zenica, Pregrada, Zapresic, Novi Sad among others had an opportunity to share experiences with their peers from the Region and beyond in order to improve their management and planning.

City of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Hercegovina emphasized the usefulness of the MFSA tool for the improved City management, providing training opportunities for employees, development of databases, increasing transparency. In the city of Subotica, Serbia, MFSA analysis unleashed some weak areas in the process of municipal financial management including: need for improvements in strategic allocation of resources through budget planning aiming at achieving policy goals as well as predictability and control of budget execution with main focus on revenues. The city also went through PEFA assessment which indicated weaknesses in the area of budget based on public policies and reduced share of capital investments. The city focused on: improvements of budget process and following the budget calendar, realistic budget planning, improving capital investment planning, raising credit worthiness and improvements in revenue collection.

Given the progress made on the financial Municipal Improvement Action Plans several cities moved towards Capital Investment Planning (CIP).  CIP is recognized as a document of strategic importance that brings together the development strategy and the financial capabilities of the Local Government (LG). The final result of the strategic planning process is a list of potential capital projects that would be implemented in the future. Therefore, CIP draft relies on strategic documents such as: Development Strategy, Sustainable Development Action Plan, General Urban Development Plan, Spatial Plans, Environmental Action Plan, Housing Strategy etc. The CIP enables the LG to better use its budget capacities, define priorities, prepare project documents in a timely manner, and improve access to external sources of finance (loans, donor funds, ministries’ funds and programs, and private equity).  Throughout the discussion, UPP cities/municipalities shared their experiences in engaging in full-scale capital investment planning whose rules and procedures vary depending on the level of fiscal decentralization in their respective countries.

Last session of the workshop was dedicated to sharing experiences on Urban Audit by municipalities of Gazi Baba and Strumica from Macedonia and Kucova from Albania. For Strumica, Macedonia the Urban Audit fits very well with the new policy for social inclusion and fair society. It is a credible document that integrates databases from different administrative departments of Strumica. It allows for more structured participation and priorities setting for development of settlements in Strumica. The Urban Audit helped Municipality of Kucova, Albania improve coordination and cooperation of different administrative units of the local government. For Gazi Baba, Macedonia one of the things the Urban Audit supported was to establish better status definition across sectors and thus, once the status was defined it helped improve the municipal planning. It also well related to the anti-corruption “formula” to work better, i.e. more data=more transparency=more accountability=less corruption.

UPP will continue with the C2C Dialogues as they proved to be successful way of gathering the Region around the table and discuss achievements as well as current issues.


PHOTO GALLERY

 

Session 2 - Crowdfunding
CF Pregrada.pdf
NALAS Crowdfunding Experience.pdf

Session 3 - MFSA 2.0
MFSA 2.0.pdf
MFSA COUNTRY REPORT - Albania.pdf
MFSA COUNTRY REPORT, UPP CITIES MACEDONIA.pdf
MFSA synthesis report.pdf
Savez FBIH MFSA.pdf

Session 5 - MFSA country reports
City of Zapresic.pdf
City of Banja Luka Action Plan.pdf
City of Zenica.pdf
Pljevlja Municipality.pdf

Session 6 - Integrated Urban Planning through ToD
Introducing Integrated Urban Planning through ToD.pdf

Session 7 - Rijeka and Novi Sad, Cultural Capitals of Europe
Cultural infrastructure Novi Sad.pdf
Rijeka - European Capital of Culture.pdf

Session 8 - Urban development Lessons learned under Cohesion Policy in Romania
Urban development Lessons learned under Cohesion Policy in Romania.pdf

Session 9 - CIP
Capital Investment Plan.pdf

Session 10 - MFR
Municipal Finance Review II.pdf

Session 11 - NALAS Regional Decentralization Observatory
SEE Regional Decentralization Observatory.pdf

Session 12- MFSA Action Plans
City of Subotica Action Plan.pdf
Foca Municipality.pdf
Law on spatial planning and construction - Bar Municipality.pdf
MFSA_Municipality of Gjirokastër.pdf

Session 13 - UA
Measuring efficiency at local government level - Marjan Nikolov.pdf
Minicipality of Strumica - Urban Audit.pdf
Municipality of Gazi Baba Urban Audit Experience.pdf
Municipality of Kucove-Urban Audit.pdf

Session 14 - World Bank Creditworthiness initiative (CCI)

City Creditworthiness Initiative.pdf
Creditworthiness Initiative.pdf

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Country Dialogues

July 9-10, 2015 Porec, Croatia

The World Bank in collaboration with the Association of Croatian Cities organized a Country Dialogue on Strenghtening Capacities of Local Governments.  The Dialogue, held on July 9-10, 2015 in Porec, launched the second phase of the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP II).

The objective of the Country Dialogue was to discuss the current strategic priorities of the respective Ministries of the Government of the Republic of Croatia in the area of local government development and to facilitate dialogue between the two levels of government on how to move the agenda forward on the topics of municipal finances, investments prioritization, asset management, urban governance and integrity building, and social accountability and citizen engagement.  In addition, the meeting provided an opportunity to present the results of the first phase of the Urban Partnership Program and to engage all key stakeholders in the second phase.

The World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP) aims to strengthen the capacity of local governments in SEE region, and to equip local elected officials, city administrators and technical staff with practical tools for decision-making, to effectively manage urban development for inclusive and sustainable growth.  While global in scope, this Program is targeted at the Western Balkan countries, including Croatia.

The workshop was attended by more than 60 representatives from about 20 cities and municipalities, including Mayors and Presidents of the municipalities, members of city and municipal councils, heads of finance, planning and construction, as well as municipal administration.  The meeting was opened by Mr. Vedran Neferovic, Vice President, Association of Cities, Croatia and the World Bank. The meeting was moderated by Dario Runtic, Senior Advisor of the Association of Cities, Croatia and Anto Bajo, WB local expert on municipal finance.

The first day of the Country Dialogue was dedicated to the topics of municipal finance including revenue mobilization, urban planning and land management, capital investment planning, and asset management.

The Municipal Finance session hosted a panel on local government revenue mobilization. Mrs. Nevenka Brkic, Head of financing for local and regional self-government, from the Ministry of Finance pointed out to recent changes in legislation which affected the amount and regional distribution of shared taxes, funding of decentralized functions, and intergovernmental transfers. The presentation provoked a rich discussion among local government representatives, including contributions from Crikvenica, Krizevci and Koprivnica among others.

The local expert stressed that particularly problematic was the collection of tax and non-tax revenues related to the property, such as taxes on holiday houses as well as taxes on inheritance and gifts.

The session further featured presentations from Rijeka and Crikvenica that took part in the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment (MFSA). The representative of Subotica from Serbia shared regional experiences with the Croatian cities. The MFSA helped detect problems at the level of central government, increase LGs borrowing rates from the current 2.5% of operating revenues, increase LGs fiscal autonomy, give more flexibility on the local tax policy (including replacement of conditional with unconditional grants). One of the MFSA outcomes was City of Rijeka Development Strategy.

The session on Urban Planning and Land Management included a panel discussion on Capital Investment Planning at Local Level, with an emphasis on the importance of Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Deputy Mayor of Krizevci presented PPP success story on local level aimed at improving the social infrastructure and economic development by job creation.

Rijeka and Crikvenica took part in the Land Use and Urban Planning Self-Assessment (UPSA) and presented their outcomes, while the experience of Gazi Baba (Skopje) from Macedonia served as regional good example of pilot implementation of the Urban Audit. A number of Croatian cities expressed interest in carrying out an Urban Audit (UA), the first step in identification of a priority investment program.  The Urban Audit helps local governments to assess the greatest needs for investments in infrastructure and service provision, and increase transparency and citizen participation in the process of investments programming.

The last session addressed key aspects of asset management at local level for revenue mobilization, presented by Helena Masaric, City of Opatija. Appropriate management of LG assets is key to economic development of urban and suburban areas. Existing legal framework for municipal asset management in Croatia impairs independent, efficient and economic asset management, which in turn hampers urban development and affects the future of communities.  City of Opatija laid out a number of issues in domestic legislation which limits efficient use of resources (housing, commercial property and land), which in turn affects fiscal stability of municipalities and ability of long term planning. Unsettled property ownership issues are a prime barrier for investments and economic development and for application of municipal projects for EU funding.

The second day of the Country Dialogue was dedicated to the topics of Anti-Corruption and Integrity building and to the demand side of governance – its citizens.

The session on Anti-corruption and Integrity building hosted a representative of the Ministry of Justice who presented Action Plans for implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy.  The presentation was followed up by sharing of good practices from anti-corruption strategic and action planning on local level implemented by UPP Phase I. The initiative aimed to support local governments in developing anti-corruption strategies and action plans, helped improve the capacity of anti-corruption practitioners, enhance networks, knowledge sharing, and exchange of experience on anti-corruption. The local expert presented the methodology while the city of Krizevci that took part in UPP I presented main outcomes of the process.

The session on Social Accountability and Citizen Engagement hosted a number of interesting and innovative approaches including the national e-consult system, Rijeka’s budget planning application (online game) for citizens, as well as crowdfunding projects initiated by the Mayor of Pregrada. The international expert further stressed the importance of social accountability mechanisms that enable citizens to become part of the decision-making process.

The second phase of the UPP aims to scale up use of diagnostic tools for local governments and anchor them as part of the municipal practice. At the same time, UPP II aims to expand the citizen engagement and integrity building agenda.

In the next phase, the World Bank through the UPP is expected to play a more prominent role in the support of local governments of Croatia while pursuing continued dialogue with the central government on key reform agenda.

Download Full Agenda (PDF)

Gallery - Strengthening Local Government Capacity in South East Europe: Urban Partnership Program July 9-10, 2015 Porec, Croatia 

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