On December 16-18, Regional Conference Cities without Corruption – Cities with Future was organized as part of the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program. The Conference brought together around 80 participants, including Mayors/ public managers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia whose cities received UPP support, Local Government Associations, and civil society representatives. The Romanian Ambassador in Slovenia gave opening remarks and the NALAS President delivered a keynote address. The anti-corruption practitioners together with local government representatives shared their experiences, results and lessons learned from a two-year engagement of coalition building. Ten SEE municipalities benefited from intensive capacity support and coaching by certified anti-corruption practitioners and international experts in the process of identifying vulnerabilities to corruption in local government organizations along with the best strategies to address them. A network of local CSOs and anti-corruption practitioners is helping to accelerate anti-corruption initiatives with local governments throughout the region.
The Urban Governance and Anti-corruption Initiative has helped develop effective, responsive, and participatory city-owned strategies to address corruption and to improve transparency and accountability in local governments. It has also helped cities create ownership as they carried out diagnoses and developed strategies to improve systemic dysfunctions. It has improved collaboration among departments within the municipality and among municipalities by sharing experiences through regional conferences. The Anti-Corruption Strategies were approved by the local Municipal Councils; three municipalities prepared detailed Anti-Corruption Action Plans, and the Zenica municipality (BiH) dedicated financial and in-kind support to this initiative and is on the way to implementation System 72, elaborated in its local Action Plan. Using a participatory approach in fighting corruption they have involved external stakeholders, local businesses and NGO representatives, listening to their experiences, needs and solution proposals and bringing their inputs into the final Anti-corruption strategic and action plans. The program helped strengthen leadership capacities at the local government level, including reducing discretion powers and encouraging leadership that inspires and motivates people for efficient and honest work. Participation of municipalities puts the spotlight on issues of transparency, citizen participation, and doing what is required to increase trust and confidence in local government; efforts to address these have tended to reinforce one another, thereby advancing the governance reform agenda.
Gallery - Regional Conference: Cities without Corruption – Cities with Future, Ljubljana, Slovenia (December 16-19, 2013)