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Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Cities

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World Bank - Austria Urban Partnership Program at NEXPO

Categories: Regional Conferences | Author: Monika Kresic | Posted: 6/23/2016 | Views: 4479
Rijeka, Croatia: September 25-27, 2013

As part of our collaboration with NALAS, WB-Austria Urban Partnership Program team organized two workshops, and disseminated knowledge and learning products at the NEXPO. The event provided great opportunity to showcase and market the anti-corruption program as well as self-assessment tools at workshops that took place on September 26. Program beneficiaries were also invited to present and share what they have achieved with, and beyond, the Program's support. 

The workshop “Cities without corruption – cities with future” shared an innovative and practical approach on how to treat and prevent the vulnerability to corruption in local governments, which has been implemented in a number of municipalities in South-East Europe (SEE) as part of the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP). The approach implies a strategic and participatory process conducted inside local governments. The process follows the strategic planning steps, from diagnosis to solutions' elaboration and implementation, focuses on changing corrupt organizational systems and supports mayors to act as institutional reformers rather than judges or prosecutors. The process involves city leaders, managers, and staff, as well as outside stakeholders, who diagnose analytically and without fear their organization's vulnerability to corruption and act as the creators of its future.

Participants had the opportunity to meet and learn from Ronald MacLean Abaroa. During his four mandates as Mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, he used successfully this approach in order to address the hyper corruption in his city and local government. They also learned how this approach was adapted and applied in SEE local governments. Ana Vasilache/Partners Foundation for Local Development (FPDL)- Romania, as well as, Anticorruption Practitioners and local governments' representatives from Krizevci, Croatia and Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose cities received Urban Partnership Program's support to apply this strategic and participatory methodology, presented their experiences, early results and lessons learned.

At the same time, participants discussed the future steps needed to scale up the use of this anti-corruption methodology by more local governments in the SEE Region.

The workshop “Findings from Municipal Finance and Urban Planning and Land management self-assessment tools and Piloting Urban Audit” showcased Tirana, Albania; Podgorica, Montenegro and Belgrade, Serbia who are engaged in carrying out self-assessment tools designed to help municipal leaders develop a comprehensive understanding of their cities’ finances and Banja Luka, Bosnia and Hercegovina as well as Novi Sad, Serbia who worked on land use/urban planning self assessment. These tools should empower cities in shaping sound solutions going forward. The Municipal Finance Self-Assessment (MFSA) helps assess a city’s financial health and to identify specific actions to improve mobilization of local resources, public spending, public assets management and maintenance, investment programming and access to external financing. The Land Use/Urban Planning Self-Assessment (UPSA) helps assemble a diagnostic in the area of spatial and land use planning; compare their performance against other cities in the region, qualitatively and quantitatively; and establish a common ground for discussions and actionable ideas on how to modernize spatial planning and land management further, to support local economic development and improve quality of life of the citizens. In addition, the workshops discussed lessons from the Urban Audit (UA) conducted in Gazi Baba and Strumica, Macedonia. UA is a self assessment on urban services and infrastructure that provides municipalities with data and information about all aspects of urban development (population, land occupancy, municipal assets, infrastructure, and services inventory program) related to the current situation and desired situation in one municipality.

This session shareed and discussed experiences from the SEE region and future steps needed to scale up the tools and methodology through partner organizations such as LGAs, NALAS and Ministries of Finance.

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Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Cities

Worldwide, local governments face an increasing demand from the growing urban population to provide basic infrastructure and services, promote more inclusive growth, adapt to climate change, and mitigate risks from disasters. Although development pathways differ because of regional and local variations, one consistent pattern has emerged: economic prosperity most often occurs in cities.

Cities can reduce poverty and expand individual and national prosperity. The bulk of economic activities take place in cities; urban centers attract business, trade and other service industries, and offer dense labor markets with the ability to move products over smaller distances, shortening the supply chain. However, cities in South-East Europe (SEE) do not yet harvest their full potential to contribute to economic prosperity and deliver better quality of life for their citizens. They face a number of challenges such as climate change, natural disasters, increasing global competition and financial instability. At the same time, cities have room for improvement: they can use their own resources more efficiently and also possess a huge potential for energy efficiency.

In order to address these challenges the World Bank and Government of Austria have partnered to launch the Urban Partnership Program (UPP) aimed to strengthen the capacity of local governments in South-East Europe, to promote city to city exchange and peer learning within and beyond Europe and to equip local elected officials, city administrators and technical staff with practical tools for decision-making, to effectively manage urban development for inclusive and sustainable growth. While global in scope, this Program is targeted at South-East Europe, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. 

The Program is structured into three product lines to reflect the demand: E-learning & Knowledge products: Global curriculum through World Bank Open Learning Campus and Regional/local Partners: NALAS (E-Academy), LGAs; Connectivity through City to City Dialogues on Municipal Finance, Urban Planning & Land Management; and Sustainability through In depth city engagement, including self-assessment tools (Municipal Finance Self-Assessment and Urban Audit) and participatory methodologies (Integrity Building and Social Sustainability & Citizen Engagement). 

Where We Work in South-East Europe (Phase I)

 

 

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"The MFSA tool is very useful and can help LGs assess their financial performance and look for additional financing. On the other hand, it is a huge responsibility to translate the budget into strategies that will drive LG's development",
Reisa Duraj, Head of Finance and Treasure Relations Sector of the Shkoder Municipality, Albania

"This capacity building program will enhance knowledge and skills of local governments, particularly of medium and large cities."


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