SEE Cities

Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Cities

PHILOSOPHY

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The role of local governments has been evolving with increasing responsibilities and capacity gaps remain and need to be addressed. Local governments in South-East Europe (SEE) are particularly challenged by the status of decentralization, mismatch of revenue and expenditure management, absence of infrastructure investments, weak local institutions, weak mechanisms of social accountability, increased need to combat corruption, frequent shifts in political structures, and low speed of institutional reforms.

The World Bank –Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP) was designed to strengthen capacities of local governments in South-East Europe (SEE), and to promote city to city exchange and peer learning within and beyond Europe. The Program aims 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, the Program is targeted at the Western Balkan countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

UPP Phase I (2011-2014) was shaped by the demand of municipalities and local government associations and was focused on key dimensions of local government, including municipal finance, urban planning and land management, urban governance/anti-corruption, and social accountability. Through the sustained effort of providing practical tools that met actual needs, UPP I has achieved a strong take-up by municipalities in each of the four program areas.

UPP Phase II (2015- 2018) builds on the successful first phase and includes:

I. A comprehensive, three-tier approach to knowledge, learning, and innovation, combining:

(i) e-learning to share global knowledge (facilitated by local experts);
(ii) a series of City-to-City (C2C) dialogues for intensive peer learning from global/regional good practices
(iii) use of practical hands-on diagnostic tools and participatory processes.

II. Capacity building activities focusing on four key dimensions of interest to local governments, including: (i) municipal finance, (ii) urban planning and land management, (iii) urban governance/ anti-corruption, and (iv) social accountability.

III. Support to the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) to become a regional knowledge and e-Learning hub in order to ensure the flow of knowledge and sustained learning impact beyond the UPP.

The aim of the Second Phase of the Program is to scale up the use of LG diagnostic tools and to anchor them as part of the municipal practice; expand citizen engagement and integrity building agenda and support urban resilience in SEE cities; foster involvement of different departments (finance, planning, technical) and civil society to integrate the different tools and approaches at local level; foster central-local government dialogue for improved policy making; support local governments in the implementation of the Action Plans developed in UPP I; and leverage partnership for greater impact and reach.

Testimonials

"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.

"The Anti-corruption Strategic Planning, as part of the World Bank Urban Partnership Program, helped my municipality better understand the importance of having a proactive approach in integrity building on local level; it helped us understand how we can improve our internal system of organization, communication and cooperation, so as to make our municipality more accountable, transparent and citizen oriented",
said Mr. Emil Doncev, Mayor of Vinica.

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

“On February 26, 2013 the Municipal Council of Kucova approved the anticorruption strategy with a majority of votes. It was one of the rare cases where the members of the council from all political parties (including the opposition) voted pro the same strategy.”
Klodi Tavani Kosta, director of programs, Partners Albania


“The Social Accountability Initiative came at exactly the right time, as this issue was not yet being discussed in the Municipality of Prishtina.”
Participant from Prishtina, Kosovo


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