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.