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World Bank - Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP)

Categories: City-to-City, News | Author: Maja | Posted: 1/10/2018 | Views: 7558
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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Regional Conferences

Cities For The People - Making Collaborative Governance Happen, March 26 - 28, 2017, Zagreb - Croatia

As part of the “Social Sustainability and Citizen Engagement” component of the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP), the Regional Conference “Socially Inclusive Cities” was held on March 27 and 28, 2017 in Zagreb, Croatia. The Conference brought together around 80 participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia including Mayors, city leaders, local and central government representatives, Civil Society Organizations, Local Government Associations, business sector and other key stakeholders.

City governments and mayors in the region are today facing challenges arising from climate change, economic transformation, and demographic shifts in their cities. Economic and social inequalities have further exacerbated resulting in lack of accountability, transparency and citizen engagement at the municipal level. As a result, municipal officials are experiencing increasing pressure to find sustainable solutions to transforming urban centers into resilient and sustainable communities – doing so by reducing energy costs, improving quality of services, reducing waste, providing socially inclusive urban environments, and creating economic opportunities for their citizens.  

Since 2011, the Government of Austria has been collaborating with the World Bank to strengthen the capacity of local governments in the seven SEE countries through the Urban Partnership Program. The objective of the Program is to support cities and local governments from South-East Europe in the process of reform and modernization, in order to promote local development for inclusive and sustainable growth, and enhance urban governance.

Dario Runtic, welcomed all participants on behalf of the Croatian Association of Cities. In her opening remarks, Vera Dugandzic, acting Country Manager of the World Bank Croatia Office, stated that the Urban Partnership Program had been successfully implemented for several years in seven South East European countries focusing mainly on strengthening the capacity of local government officials, city administrators and technical staff with practical tools for decision-making to manage urban development for inclusive and sustainable growth. She emphasized that “the Conference will provide a good platform for networking and exchanging of different practices, approaches and challenges local governments are facing in the area of citizen engagement and social inclusion”.
“Austria is committed to support the region’s path to EU membership, and hereby sees its role as the promotor of reconciliation and stabilization in the region,” said Martina Klenner-Auvillain, Deputy Head of Mission at the Austrian Embassy in her opening address. She further emphasized that urban development is key to this success, as it is one of key areas of strategic partnerships. There is no modernization without urban development, and the UPP provides space for constructive dialogue in these times of global challenges.
During the two-day conference, participants had an opportunity to learn more about good practices and challenges for socially inclusive citizen engagement and innovative, participatory tools of governance, including ICT tools used for integrating citizen’s voice. This event provided a platform for disseminating the findings of the UPP Social Sustainability and Citizen Engagement initiative and sharing approaches to improving collaborative government in a socially-inclusive and participatory manner and strengthening integrity of public services.

Keynote speaker, Mr. Fredrik Galtung, CEO of Integrity Action, spoke about the key ingredients to creating a culture of integrity in public services. It requires to put the power of feedback in the hands of the communities and beneficiaries, to build trust between key stakeholders, to create positive feedback loops and to make services more sustainable and resilient. Without integrity, measures to safeguard human rights, protect the environment, strengthen democracy, promote social equity and reduce poverty are compromised. In the absence of integrity, the corrupt flourish.

Nine cities across the region who had participated in the Social Sustainability and Citizen Engagement Initiative of the second phase of the UPP showcased their developed City Action Plans, e.g. the Deputy Mayor of Gjilan, Rexhep Kadriu, introduced the city’s plan to transform the municipal website into an “interactive forum” for citizens, which aims to activate citizen’s participation. Among others, the Deputy Mayor of Elbasan, Klevis Xhoxhi, presented their devised “Roadmap on Local Government Participatory Practices,” a toolkit that is designed to contribute to the ability of municipal officials to initiate or strengthen existing participatory practices in their own communities and to develop partnerships between municipal governments and marginalized groups for ensuring social inclusiveness. Afterwards the conference participants were asked to gather in groups to discuss the cities’ visions and to come up with inputs on how a city action plan can best be implemented, monitored and with whom a city can possibly partner in this process.

Speakers from across the region and beyond provided food for thought in discussing together the importance of citizen engagement on the road to transparency and accountability. Participants had the opportunity to learn about good examples for strengthening social sustainability and empowering citizens. For example, from the City of Rijeka, which is the only City in Croatia that provides on its website an interactive game “Budgeting(me)” where citizens can create a budget with real figures of the existing budget; or from the Citizen Service Centers in Pancevo, that provide easy and equal access to public services for all parts of the population. Further, the Mayor of Pregrada, Marko Vesligaj, shared the city’s experiences with a crowdfunding project that successfully used ICT-based tools for raising money to finance a kindergarten. Conference participants listened with interest to the presentation on the Albanian Model for Citizen Centric Service and the Macedonian-wide project on the improvement of municipal services.
In a highly interactive round table on ICT mechanisms, Mayor of Tuzla, Jasmin Imamovic, Mayor of Gramsh, Luljeta Dollani, the Deputy Mayor of Krizevci, Tomislav Katanovic and the PR Advisor from City of Pancevo, Jasmina Radovanovic discussed the challenges and opportunities on implementing ICT tools in their respective cities and municipalities.

Representatives of Local Government Associations in the SEE region shared their views in a panel discussion on building partnerships and measuring results. All panelists highlighted the importance of partnerships e.g. between city administration, civil society, the business sector and academia to better tackle municipal challenges.

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Agenda SSCE Conference Zagreb

Day 1:

Citizen Engagement - City of Rijeka
Citizen Engagement - City of Tuzla
Citizen-Centric Service Delivery - Albanian Model
City Action Plan - Elbasan
CIty Action Plan - Gjilan
City Action Plan - Kumanovo
City Action Plan - Sabac
Crowdfunding in the City of Pregrada
Effective Citizen Serivce Centers
Keynote Integrity Building
MFSA overview
Pancevo Citizen Service Center
Public consultations in local government in Croatia
STRENGTHENING ACCOUNTABILITY AND IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY - THE EXPERIENCE OF MSIP

Day 2:

Digital Transofrmation and e-services - City of Krizevci
Gramsh - The ICT challege and opportunity

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