Inter-municipal cooperation – the key for integrated local development

How Integrated Local Development Project (ILDP) assists in the enhancing of cooperation among cities and municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Mr. Elvedin Miljković, coordinator of inter-municipal project in Velika Kladuša

Cooperation between neighboring cities and municipalities contributes to progress for all people who live there. Inter-municipal cooperation in the EU countries has become a standard for quality services in local self-governance affairs.  Collaboration between the local governments can create the better and more efficient solutions to the social issues and will result in improved quality of life of the communities. However, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), cooperation of the municipalities and the towns is very rare, and it was necessary to establish concrete forms of cooperation among local self-governance units, allowing them to respond effectively to the needs of their citizens and advance the development of their communities. From the willingness of assisting the better quality of life of local population, the Swiss Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in BiH launched inter-municipal cooperation projects, as a part of implementing the Integrated Local Development Programme (ILDP).

Development of greenhouse production by launching inter-municipal cooperation in Velika Kladuša, Sanski Most, and Ključ

Ms.Rasima Halilović, ILDP beneficiary and farmer from Sanski Most in her greenhouse

The greenhouse farming project as an inter-municipal cooperation project, it brought together the residents of Velika Kladuša, Sanski Most, and Ključ. It allows the three municipalities advance their potentials by working together. The Project enabled to strengthen the corporation between three municipalities of Unsko-sanski Canton, and the effective usage of the agricultural land  which those municipalities are enriched with, as well as the development of primary agricultural production. Within the project, 45 greenhouses have been granted and the greenhouse production which has natural, human and technical capacities for development has been supported. The project directly benefits the 56 users, including 16 women who have been granted greenhouses with irrigation and planting material.

“This programme helped me and my family, it refreshed our work, it gave us new hope. This greenhouse is top-of-the-line and we've had an excellent production result,” said Mr. Šerif Hušidić, farmer and ILDP beneficiary from Velika Kladuša.

The Project has supported the self-employed women with technical and financial supports through the local authorities, and the conditions for more development capacities and retention of the population have created, especially targeted for youth in the rural areas.

“This programme helped us a lot. It used to be very hard, but it's much better now. I have something to sell every month: onion, lettuce, spinach…,” said Ms. Rasima Halilović, farmer and ILDP beneficiary from Sanski Most.

The project provided farmers-beneficiaries with greenhouses and materials, and  organized the theoretical and practical agriculture training for them. The beneficiaries also received support in placement of their agricultural products from the greenhouse on the market, which was an additional impetus to farmers to continue with this kind of agricultural production.

“We defined two primary goals for the project:  First, to increase the capacity and the sustainability of greenhouse farming through inter-municipal cooperation, for instance, institutional development among the three municipalities. And the second goal was to strengthen human and technical capacities, through on-going training, both theoretical and practical,” said Mr. Elvedin Miljković, coordinator for the ILDP inter-municipal cooperation project in Velika Kladuša municipality.

One of the critical aspects of the project is to establish the Joint Coordinating Body with nine members from the public and private sectors, to support the farmers.   During the works of the Body, the representatives of the , cooperatives of farmers and non-governmental organizations from the three municipalities have participated (Local Action Group Una-Sana, Association of Greenhouse Producers, Secondary School for Agricultural). The project has set the foundations for collaboration of private and non-governmental sector by making integrated plan of development for production of fruit and vegetables in open and closed space from 2015 and until 2018.

“Within the scope of this project we have achieved strong cooperation with our farmers, and have provided them all production materials, professional supervision, as well as the placement of their products on the domestic market,” said Mr. Senad Hadžibajrović, from “Agrisan” collective in Sanski Most.

Establishing inter-municipal cooperation in the field of farming in the territory of the city of Bijeljina, and the municipalities of Ugljevik and Lopare

Ms. Radinka Tešić, ILDP beneficiary and farmer from Lopare

In the North-East part of BiH, in the fertile lowlands of Semberija, the city of Bijeljina, and the municipalities of Ugljevik and Lopare are located with just 40 kilometers apart to each other. Working together, assisted by UNDP and the Swiss Government within the scope of ILDP’s “Project of establishment of inter-municipal cooperation in the agricultural sector”, they established an inter-municipal farming council. Inter-municipal partnership between the City of Bijeljina and the municipalities of Ugljevik and Lopare has been established for the development of agricultural areas of Semberija and Majevica, through the project under ILDP.

Within the scope of the project, Inter-municipal council has been set up which consists of the representatives of the City of Bjeljina, the municipalities of Lopare and Ugljevik, and Agrarian fund of the City of Bjeljina, primary producers and processors and the Department for providing expert services in agriculture in Bijeljina. Inter-municipal council gives professional recommendations to the local authorities in relation to improvement of agriculture in the region, increased surface for the production of vegetables in closed space, creating new work places in the sector of agriculture, as well as establishing sustainable mechanism of coordination between producers and processors. Based on those recommendations, local authorities are able to utilize the budget funds to projects with high efficiency and to facilitate measuring the factors which will bring faster/prompt growths in agricultural production. Also, the engagement of Inter-municipality council for agriculture provides a better representation of all agricultural producers from the region at the market as well as setting up a stronger connection between agricultural producers and processors.

 “Local governments should direct their budget funds effectively, towards the projects and measure that leads most efficiently towards the growth and the development of farming in those units of local self-government where the project has been implemented,” said Mr. Sreten Vučković, coordinator of ILDP inter-municipal cooperation project in Bijeljina City Administration.

Besides establishing Inter-municipal council, a support has been provided to the sector of greenhouse production. These  activities  could enable creation of new jobs and realization of additional revenues in rural areas, in short period of time. During the project, at the territory of three units of local government,  10.360 square meter sized-greenhouses  has been created to support 27 farmers and advisory services by experts were also provided. Furthermore, 125 farmers participated in the training of basic principles of Global Gap certificates with introducing GAP standards, which is an international standard of good agricultural practice.

 “I think the donations should be continued to the under-developed towns and municipalities. This is very good for people in the countryside, who don't have their own financial resources for greenhouse production,” said Ms. Radinka Tešić, farmer and ILDP beneficiary from Lopare.

Development and promotion of tourism offer in the municipalities of Jajce and Mrkonjić Grad

Mr. Velid Hrnjić, representative of “Ćusine” Mountaineering Club in Jajce

There is no more than 17 kilometers exists as the crow flies between Jajce and Mrkonjić Grad.  By road, it's just a few kilometers more. These two municipalities are on the two sides of the inter-entity line, but what brings them together are their tourism potentials, advanced and promoted by designing a joint tourism offer. Within the scope of the ILDP “Improvement and promotion of touristic offer in the municipalities of Jajce and Mrkonjić Grad”, it has been improved touristic infrastructure on two touristic destinations – on Pliva lakes (at the territory of municipality of Jajce) and Zelenkovac (at the territory of municipality Mrkonjić Grad) – which presents good foundation for the joint promotional activities and creation of joint touristic product.

“I think that these regional projects bringing together at least two municipalities, and more if possible, are certainly needed to ensure the full use of this area, because Mrkonjić Grad perhaps has what Jajce lacks and vice versa,” said Mr. Edin Hozan, Mayor of Jajce.

“We have an excellent cooperation with the “Vidik” Mountaineering Club from Mrkonjić Grad, and this project was the launching pin which should further develop on our tourism, but also improve the work of our organizations,” said Mr. Velid Hrnjić from “Ćusine” Mountaineering Club in Jajce.
 
“We need to communicate on daily basis and we already cooperate in providing recommendations, bringing guests, disseminating information, providing certain services to each other,” said Mr. Boro Janković, from Eco Centre Zelenkovac in Mrkonjić Grad.

Joint project of improvement and promotion of touristic offer in the municipalities of Jajce and Mrkonjić Grad has increased competitiveness of that micro region in the area of tourism and it should attract more visitors which should lead to an increase in revenues from tourism. The project enabled the creation of joint promotional materials as well as the joint participation at fairs, with the improvements of the competitiveness of both municipalities in the sector of tourism.

Cooperation among neighboring municipalities - greater opportunities for the better future for all citizens

This success story illustrates the good practices of inter-municipal cooperation launched within the ILDP, which is assisted by the Swiss Government and UNDP. We believe that these positive examples will be incentives for the residents and authorities in other municipalities and towns across BiH: cooperation with neighboring municipalities ensures faster and more effective development, thus creating greater opportunities for the better future, for all citizens who are living in these areas.

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