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UPP Technical Workshop on Municipal Finance and Urban Audit

Categories: Events, Workshops, News | Author: Maja | Posted: 11/20/2018 | Views: 2721
October 25-26, 2018 - Vlore, Albania

On October 25-26, 2018, in Vlore, Albania, the Urban Partnership Program in collaboration with theMunicipality of Vlore welcomed around 40 participants from Albanian and Macedonian cities and municipalities, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Finance from both countries and from the Albanian Association of Municipalities (AAM), to share experiences, challenges, and best practices with their peers, in a trusting and familiar context.

 

The UPP has been fostering financial management and sustainable urban development, as well as supporting capacity building with a network of local experts in the region, through the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment, the Urban Audit and related tools. In the latest UPP survey, 67% of respondents said that the MFSA helped to improve the financial management of municipalities and 82% that the UPP improved the delivery and quality of municipal services to citizens. The success of the program that has involved more than 80 municipalities and 500 practitioners and decision makers is mainly due to regular interactive workshops and events where experts have the opportunity to exchange best practices and discuss solutions to main issues of local finance and development with their peers from neighboring countries and beyond.

 

The main focus of the workshop was the presentation of the new MFSA V2.0 application to participants after the testing phase and before its official launch. As most of them have already worked on the previous version of the MFSA, presenting the new configuration of the web-based platform, how it operates and what are the benefits for the municipalities using the tool, was greatly appreciated. Participants were given a chance to test the MFSA V2.0 together with local experts and tried to identify aspects that could be improved. The received feedback, comments and recommendations for further improvement of this tool were collected and will be presented during the City to City Dialogue. The MFSA V2.0 application is currently being tested with users, revised and customized, and it will soon befully released and disseminated.

 

Workshop participants were welcomed both by Honorable Dritan Leli, the Mayor of Vlore, as well as Mr. Rama, Deputy Mayor of Vlore. Mr. Leli pointed out how important and positive the cooperation with the World Bank has been for the city, and highlighted the essential role played by these types of technical workshops in improving urban development while Mr. Rama, outlined in his keynote address the most important economic growth priorities for the municipality, which included tourism, infrastructure improvement and PPPs. During the first day, participants had a chance to exchange experiences on common topics such as financial management and integrated urban development, financing capital investment projects and furthering citizen participation and transparency for project selection processes. The workshop was also used as a platform to discuss further integration between the MFSA and UA; e.g. what data/information can be used from MFSA as input to UA and vice versa. Urban Planning experts outlined how the UA evolved from identifying territorial and service deficiencies and needs, to fostering international partnerships and regional networking for LED. This was shown through two best practice examples shared by Municipality of Kucove, Albania, and Municipality of Gazi Baba, Macedonia.

 

 

At the end of the first day, participants had the opportunity to hear about the Urban Lab Participatory approach implemented in Ksamil, Saranda in Albania under UPP. Professor Markus Tomaselli, from the University of Technology in Vienna (TU Wien), explained how undertaking the lab and conducting workshops/surveys/questioners with different constituents of Ksamil, a town that highly depends on tourism with its population increasing tenfold during the summer period, brought to light several new, but very important topics and issues to be addressed.

 

The site visits and field trips to Zvernec provided clear insight into infrastructure development and challenges linked to the local economy. Road investment, sewage treatment plant, Petrolifera, gas power plant are among the most important infrastructural projects for Vlore which will allow better living conditions, but also allow increase in attractiveness to tourists and visitors. As a highlight, participants visited lagoon of Narta and island and monastery of Zvernec as they represent important cultural touristic attractions in the area.

 

The second day of the workshop was opened by Professor Dr. Arben Malaj, Honorary Consul of Austria to Vlore who stated how these kinds of workshops are symbols of the need to shift emphasis to the local level, in order to shorten the distance between voters and decision makers and tackle critical global challenges and address EU. During the course of the day, participants had the opportunity to discuss systems of debt management and financing capital projects. Our UA experts led a group exercise where participants discussed capital projects selection and financial sources. Groups worked on sources of funding for capital projects including PPPs, local government budgets, commercial loans, fiscal autonomy, MSIP and other IFIs, and others. For more information please see the full summary report.

 

Participants were inspired by local best practices in Macedonia and Albania as well as the World Bank MSIP and PIUTD programs where the UPP is supporting municipalities in project selection and application for funds.

 

Once again, the cities and municipalities appreciated the opportunity to share and discuss important issues of joint interest, provide suggestions and support to one another, and to pose questions to the Ministries and LGA representatives in a safe environment.



PHOTO GALLERY

Documents:
Final Agenda - Vlore, October 24-26 2018.pdf

DAY 1
Citizen Enagement in Decision Making - S. Kdolsky.pdf
Citizens Engagement, Fier - R. Hyseni.pdf
Citizens Engagement, Prilep - B. Jankuloski.pdf
UPP Survey review, Workshop - Vlore 2018.pdf
Urban Audit, Municipality of Kucova - Xh. Kostreni.pdf
Urban Audit of MGB for LED OF Municipality Gazi Baba - S. Trajkov.pdf

DAY 2
City of Vlore - J. Puka and A. Paparizo.pdf
PIUTD - Tuo Shi.pdf

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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.