BELGRADE, 1 December 2015 - NALED and Mena Group from Niš, in cooperation with the World Bank and Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, have published an open call for cities and municipalities in Serbia to take part in the regional Urban Partnership Program, which will help them master new mechanisms for developing budgets, countering corruption, and engaging citizens in the decision-making process.
Applications for the program will be accepted until 13 December. Over the following year, the selected local governments will learn how to evaluate their finances, identify which areas are not sufficiently covered by municipal service, determine the infrastructure status, locate the poverty pockets, and plan their investment programs accordingly.
The Urban Partnership Program will also help them evaluate to what extent the municipal organizations are prone to corruption, in order to prepare a strategy for strengthening the integrity and the action plan for improving transparency and liability. Practical advice and tools will assist local governments in better assessing their communication with the citizens and define the mechanisms that should be introduced to promote citizen engagement in the decision-making processes.
“The effects of reforms currently conducted by the national authorities in Serbia will be as strong as the local administration allows,” said Tony Verheijen, World Bank Country Manager in Serbia. “If local governments demonstrate the ability to efficiently plan capital investments, effectively manage public resources, and establish good dialogue with citizens, the reform effects will be even more visible and will have stronger impact on the lives of people.”
Vice President of NALED Managing Board Ana Brnabić stressed that NALED’s intention was to stimulate the implementation of good governance principles at the local level, through active participation and synergy of the local administration, private and civil sectors and the citizens. “We hope that the local government representatives will recognize the importance of this initiative and that we will jointly stem towards the development of modern administration, which would lead to satisfaction and trust among users, as a basis for developing new initiatives, sustainable mechanisms and conditions for further development”, said Brnabić.
The Urban Partnership Program (UPP) is financed by the World Bank and Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance. Together with Co-Plan from Albania and Institute for International Urban Development from USA, NALED will be in charge of implementing the component “Social Responsibility and Citizen Engagement”, while Mena Group and municipal finance consultants will deal with the area “Anticorruption / Building Urban Partnership Integrity” and “Self-evaluation of Municipal Finance /Urban Audit".