SEE Cities

Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Cities


Mayors' Dialogue "Towards Transparency and Accountability" Vienna, Austria

Categories: Previous events | Author: Monika Kresic | Posted: 6/23/2016 | Views: 3106
January 23-25, 2013
Mayors' Dialogue "Towards Transparency and Accountability" held on January 23-25, 2013 in Vienna, Austria was organized as part of the WB-Austria Urban Partnership Program in cooperation with the City of Vienna and the Austrian Ministry of Finance.  The Program aims 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. 

This Symposium focused on leadership challenges in urban management in SEE, looking through the lens of the role of City Leaders in urban governance. It provided a platform for dialogue on issues of open government, ICT tools for good governance and citizen participation, and the key role of city leaders in instituting reforms in a collaborative and transparent manner.  The underlying objective of the conference was to continue to expose the partner municipalities to good practices in municipal governance, finance and land management; to share the findings and the results and validate the progress of work conducted under the City2City dialogues to date with participating SEE Mayors; and to highlight the importance of improving existing municipal finance and urban planning practices and, more importantly, making linkages between them and engaging the community in both.  

The Conference began with an introductory presentation of the “Vienna Charter of Living Together” that clearly highlighted the importance of civic dialogue in fostering inclusiveness and a sense of community which, in the words of the Mayor “cannot be legislated into existence.”  The Vienna Charta project aimed to set the course for a good and respectful climate in cooperation with all citizens.  It has resulted in an effective process to build social inclusion in shaping the political decisions that affect citizens’ lives.  

Over the two intensive days participants had an opportunity to hear stories from European cities Poznan, Turin and Barcelona – that have succeeded in transforming themselves from declining centers of heavy industry to vibrant regional capitals of the emerging new knowledge-based economy. The Mayors’ Dialogue brought together senior officials from cities in the SEE Region, altogether over 100 participants including more than 20 SEE Mayors, Guest Mayors from other European Cities, Heads of Finance Departments, City Planners, Local Government Associations, NALAS, and NGO/CSO representatives.  There was a wide range of round tables and vibrant panel discussions ranging from how city mayors can make progress in strengthening urban services delivery in a sustainable and inclusive manner utilizing tools of good governance, to how citizen participation can be institutionalized and sustained, as an integral part of good city governance.  The Mayors’ Dialogue hosted a session at the Rathaus, Vienna City Hall, which included remarks by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance and the Deputy Mayor of City of Vienna.
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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)




"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."

 All testemonials >>>