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UPP Technical Workshop on Municipal Finance and Urban Audit

Categories: Events, Workshops, News | Author: Maja | Posted: 11/20/2018 | Views: 1534
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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INTEGRITY BUILDING (IB)

In many countries, corruption is one of the main obstacles on the path to sustainable social and economic development. A recent global survey by Transparency International (TI) identified corruption as a significant public concern in SEE and curbing corruption has become a high priority for many of the region’s national and local governments.

To address the concerns about the effects of corruption on the health of city and municipal governments and the shared aspirations of mayors and other municipal leaders from SEE countries for making municipal governments more transparent and accountable and, ultimately, better performers, UPP launched the Urban Governance and Anticorruption Capacity Building initiative in February 2012. Local governments from seven SEE countries applied for the program “Cities without Corruption–Cities with a Future” organized under the UPP by the World Bank. The Program enabled local governments to participate in an innovative process to improve the quality of municipal services, to enhance the efficiency, transparency, accountability, and integrity of public service delivery, and to strengthen citizens’ trust.

This participatory process starts by assessing vulnerabilities to corruption in local governments as measured by its level of dysfunction and seeks to enhance collaborative governance by engaging Mayors and their teams in coalition building to improve accountability, transparency, and the efficiency of local government, and ultimately improve trust of citizens–the very foundations of sustainable urban development.

The participatory process, which is conducted by the local governments, follows a strategic planning methodology, moving from diagnosis to solutions formulation and implementation. The process involves city leaders, managers and staff, as well as external stakeholders, who diagnose their organizations’ vulnerability to corruption analytically, and with the support of skilled anticorruption practitioners.

Integrity Building initiative aims to go beyond compliance-based mechanisms and

(i) Empower public leaders to both act and build integrity in their organizations together with others;
(ii) Increase the individual integrity competence of public leaders and contribute to the leadership that meets the expectations of the employees, clients and citizens in a fast changing environment;
(iii) Build a culture of integrity in local governments.

Since 2012, ten municipalities in the SEE region have applied this methodology with 13 new municipalities ready to join the Program.

The second phase of UPP introduced the Integrity Leadership Training Program (ILTP). ILTP aims at empowering leaders to both act and build integrity in their organizations together with others. The purpose of such a training program is to increase the individual integrity competence of public leaders and contribute to the leadership that meets the expectations of the employees, clients and citizens in a fast changing environment.