World Bank Austria Urban Partnership Program Supports Municipal Leaders in South East Europe

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SKOPJE, November 14, 2017 -  Local and central government representatives from seven South East Europe (SEE) countries today attended a City to City Dialogue in Skopje to share good practices and findings from the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment (MFSA) and Urban Audit and discuss implementation challenges that local governments in the region are facing. The event was part of the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program (UPP) which assists and supports cities and local governments in South East Europe in a process of modernization and reform to promote local development for inclusive and sustainable growth, and enhanced urban governance.

City to City Dialogues focus on problem solving through peer-to-peer knowledge exchange. This meeting, part of an ongoing series, focused discussions on two self-assessment tools, the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment (MFSA) and the Urban Audit, which help local governments improve their financial management and investments programming capacity. Additionally, they help to establish common ground for discussions and actionable ideas on how to modernize urban planning, support local economic development, and ultimately improve the quality of life of citizens.

During the Program, over 60 municipalities in the Western Balkans have carried out the self-assessments designed to help municipal leaders develop a comprehensive action plan for mobilization of local resources, public assets management, and investment programming and prioritization, said Sabine M. Palmreuther, Senior Operations Officer at the World Bank and Task Team Leader of the Urban Partnership Program. “The action plans are the most important parts of the MFSA analyses–they turn the results and lessons learned into specific actions, which aim to correct weaknesses and improve ratios and eventually services in the city”.

The event attracted over 90 participants from technical departments, finance, investment programming, urban planning; representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Local Self Government, Local Government Associations, Network of Associations of Local Authorities in Southeast Europe (NALAS), and civil society.

Overall, the Urban Partnership Program aims 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. Supported by the Austrian Government, the program is implemented jointly with the Network of Associations of Local Authorities in Southeast Europe (NALAS).

Background

Nine City to City (C2C) Dialogues have been held as part of the Urban Partnership Program since 2011, focusing on core issues of local government agenda, including: Improving Municipal Revenues; Modernizing Local Public Expenditure Management; Modernizing Legal and Regulatory Framework in South East Europe; Guided Urban Land Development - Reconciling public and private Interests; Stock-taking from Self-Assessment findings and formulation of Municipal Finance Improvement Programs; Transition from financial self-assessment towards municipal investment programming.

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