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UPP Technical Workshop on Municipal Finance and Urban Audit

Categories: Events, Workshops, News | Author: Maja | Posted: 11/20/2018 | Views: 2722
October 25-26, 2018 - Vlore, Albania

On October 25-26, 2018, in Vlore, Albania, the Urban Partnership Program in collaboration with theMunicipality of Vlore welcomed around 40 participants from Albanian and Macedonian cities and municipalities, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Finance from both countries and from the Albanian Association of Municipalities (AAM), to share experiences, challenges, and best practices with their peers, in a trusting and familiar context.

 

The UPP has been fostering financial management and sustainable urban development, as well as supporting capacity building with a network of local experts in the region, through the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment, the Urban Audit and related tools. In the latest UPP survey, 67% of respondents said that the MFSA helped to improve the financial management of municipalities and 82% that the UPP improved the delivery and quality of municipal services to citizens. The success of the program that has involved more than 80 municipalities and 500 practitioners and decision makers is mainly due to regular interactive workshops and events where experts have the opportunity to exchange best practices and discuss solutions to main issues of local finance and development with their peers from neighboring countries and beyond.

 

The main focus of the workshop was the presentation of the new MFSA V2.0 application to participants after the testing phase and before its official launch. As most of them have already worked on the previous version of the MFSA, presenting the new configuration of the web-based platform, how it operates and what are the benefits for the municipalities using the tool, was greatly appreciated. Participants were given a chance to test the MFSA V2.0 together with local experts and tried to identify aspects that could be improved. The received feedback, comments and recommendations for further improvement of this tool were collected and will be presented during the City to City Dialogue. The MFSA V2.0 application is currently being tested with users, revised and customized, and it will soon befully released and disseminated.

 

Workshop participants were welcomed both by Honorable Dritan Leli, the Mayor of Vlore, as well as Mr. Rama, Deputy Mayor of Vlore. Mr. Leli pointed out how important and positive the cooperation with the World Bank has been for the city, and highlighted the essential role played by these types of technical workshops in improving urban development while Mr. Rama, outlined in his keynote address the most important economic growth priorities for the municipality, which included tourism, infrastructure improvement and PPPs. During the first day, participants had a chance to exchange experiences on common topics such as financial management and integrated urban development, financing capital investment projects and furthering citizen participation and transparency for project selection processes. The workshop was also used as a platform to discuss further integration between the MFSA and UA; e.g. what data/information can be used from MFSA as input to UA and vice versa. Urban Planning experts outlined how the UA evolved from identifying territorial and service deficiencies and needs, to fostering international partnerships and regional networking for LED. This was shown through two best practice examples shared by Municipality of Kucove, Albania, and Municipality of Gazi Baba, Macedonia.

 

 

At the end of the first day, participants had the opportunity to hear about the Urban Lab Participatory approach implemented in Ksamil, Saranda in Albania under UPP. Professor Markus Tomaselli, from the University of Technology in Vienna (TU Wien), explained how undertaking the lab and conducting workshops/surveys/questioners with different constituents of Ksamil, a town that highly depends on tourism with its population increasing tenfold during the summer period, brought to light several new, but very important topics and issues to be addressed.

 

The site visits and field trips to Zvernec provided clear insight into infrastructure development and challenges linked to the local economy. Road investment, sewage treatment plant, Petrolifera, gas power plant are among the most important infrastructural projects for Vlore which will allow better living conditions, but also allow increase in attractiveness to tourists and visitors. As a highlight, participants visited lagoon of Narta and island and monastery of Zvernec as they represent important cultural touristic attractions in the area.

 

The second day of the workshop was opened by Professor Dr. Arben Malaj, Honorary Consul of Austria to Vlore who stated how these kinds of workshops are symbols of the need to shift emphasis to the local level, in order to shorten the distance between voters and decision makers and tackle critical global challenges and address EU. During the course of the day, participants had the opportunity to discuss systems of debt management and financing capital projects. Our UA experts led a group exercise where participants discussed capital projects selection and financial sources. Groups worked on sources of funding for capital projects including PPPs, local government budgets, commercial loans, fiscal autonomy, MSIP and other IFIs, and others. For more information please see the full summary report.

 

Participants were inspired by local best practices in Macedonia and Albania as well as the World Bank MSIP and PIUTD programs where the UPP is supporting municipalities in project selection and application for funds.

 

Once again, the cities and municipalities appreciated the opportunity to share and discuss important issues of joint interest, provide suggestions and support to one another, and to pose questions to the Ministries and LGA representatives in a safe environment.



PHOTO GALLERY

Documents:
Final Agenda - Vlore, October 24-26 2018.pdf

DAY 1
Citizen Enagement in Decision Making - S. Kdolsky.pdf
Citizens Engagement, Fier - R. Hyseni.pdf
Citizens Engagement, Prilep - B. Jankuloski.pdf
UPP Survey review, Workshop - Vlore 2018.pdf
Urban Audit, Municipality of Kucova - Xh. Kostreni.pdf
Urban Audit of MGB for LED OF Municipality Gazi Baba - S. Trajkov.pdf

DAY 2
City of Vlore - J. Puka and A. Paparizo.pdf
PIUTD - Tuo Shi.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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