A City to City Dialogue on Municipal Finance, Urban Planning and Land Management takes place in Skopje these two days, within the World Bank-Austria Urban Partnership Program. The event brought together Mayors and municipal experts from the Western Balkans to discuss the challenges of efficient and effective planning and management of finances at local level, integrated urban planning through transit oriented development and capital investment planning. The event presented number of tools that municipalities can use to improve their strategic planning and management.

During the City to City Dialogue NALAS presented its crowdfunding campaign, as an example of alternative financing for regional projects. “Except the financial part, crowdfunding is a great tool for testing and promoting good ideas”, said Jelena Janevska, NALAS Knowledge and Communications Manager. “Our ongoing campaign promotes SEE municipalities as unique culinary destinations with rich cultural heritage”.

Mr. Elton Stafa presented the idea for NALAS Regional Decentralisation Observatory, through its objectives, the dimensions defined and the indicators to be monitored. “The success of the annual NALAS’ Fiscal Decentralisation Report, as well as the Solid Waste Benchmarking showed that knowing where each of the countries of the region is going in each of the dimensions of decentralization is very important, both for national policy-making, but also for peer pressure and learning from the best practices”, said Mr. Stafa. “The local autonomy, quality of local public services, citizens’ participation and the role of Local Government Associations are among the dimensions we aim to explore through the Observatory”.

Mr. Stafa and Mr. Ahron Haxhimali, the Director of the Association of Albanian Municipalities presented NALAS activities for scaling-up the use of the Municipal Finance Self-Assessment Tool (MFSA) in 13 municipalities in Albania, 1 in Kosovo and 1 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Through a Training of Trainers, we have built the capacities of national finance experts to guide the targeted municipalities in a successful implementation of the MFSA tool”, said Mr. Haxhimali. “We are looking forward to support these and many other municipalities in the future”.