On February 10 and 11, 2015, the UPP Partners Forum - hosted by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance - launched the second phase of the Urban Partnership Program (2015-2018). The Forum brought together over 60 representatives, including Local Governments from South-East Europe, Local Government Associations, Network of Local Government Associations (NALAS), local and international experts, and donor agencies, including Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The participants discussed ways to move forward in the second phase, looking for synergies with other programs active in the South East Europe (SEE) region.
The World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP) aims to strengthen the capacity of local governments in SEE, 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. At the same time, the UPP offers participatory approaches for citizen engagement and fosters integrity building.
While global in scope, this Program is targeted at SEE countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The first phase of the Program (2011-2014) focused on key dimensions of local government, including municipal finance, urban planning and land management, urban governance/ anti-corruption, and social accountability.
A number of knowledge products were shared at the Forum including “Improving Local Governments Capacity: The Experience of Municipal Finances Self-Assessment in Southeast Europe”, which contains two-page data profiles on 13 SEE cities from Bar to Tirana, and a step-by-step user guide on how to conduct a financial self-assessment. The data profiles provide an overview of the city, its financial situation, a historical analysis of revenues and expenditures, a ratio analysis, financial projections and a municipal finance improvement plan; Collective Engagement for Results in South East Europe, a snapshot of UPP Phase I results; and Curbing Corruption and Modernizing Local Governments in South East Europe, which illustrates the participatory process applied as part of the anti-corruption capacity building.