BELGRADE, October 24, 2016 — This two-day event is organized in collaboration with the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Serbia 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. The Program is targeted at South-East Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
During its first phase (2011-2014), the Program reached over 60 municipalities in the region. The second phase, which started in 2015, aims to scale-up engagement and reach an even larger number of municipalities, by offering a very holistic and collaborative approach to evidence-based policy making.
The main focus of the second phase is to foster central-local government dialogues to unbundle cross-sectoral issues local governments are facing in a particular national context; foster involvement of different departments (finance, planning, technical) and civil society to integrate the different tools and approaches at local level; support local governments in the implementation of the Action Plans developed in UPP I; and help scale up use of the self-assessment tools as part of municipal practice.
In the first phase of the Program, seven City to City (C2C) Dialogues were held on the following topics: (i) Improving Municipal Revenues (Budapest, December 2011); (ii) Modernizing Local Public Expenditure Management (Mavrovo, May 2012); (iii) Modernizing Legal and Regulatory Framework in SEE (Tirana, June 2012); (iv) Guided Urban Land Development - Reconciling Public and Private Interests (Budva, November 2012); (v) Mayors Symposium: Towards Transparency and Accountability (Vienna, January 2013); (vi) From Local government Self-Assessment to Implementation (Dubrovnik, June 2013) and (vii) From MFSA to City investment programming = Urban Audit (Skopje, December 2013).
In order to continue success from the first phase and secure good results in the UPP II, the City to City Dialogue in Belgrade will focus on Findings from Municipal Finance Self-Assessment and Urban Audit: Sharing good practices and lessons learned. This workshop will gather over 120 representatives from seven Western Balkan countries from central and local government, including municipal staff from financial and technical departments, city planners, few representatives of central government ministries, national associations of local governments, and civil society organizations, to discuss findings and progress made in carrying out the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment (MFSA) and Urban Audit (UA), share good practices from the Region, and discuss implementation challenges Local Governments are facing.
UPP will continue with these dialogues as they proved to be successful way of gathering the Region around the table and discuss achievements as well as current issues. Main focus of the C2C is on problem solving through peer-to-peer knowledge exchange by bringing together different stakeholders to share workable strategies designed to foster local partnerships and more efficient, self-sufficient, and transparent governance.