Strategic Planning and Development LeadersApr 3, 2014
Conference on strategic planning and implementation of development strategies in 40 BiH municipalities and cities was held yesterday in Sarajevo as part of the UNDP’s Integrated Local Development Planning Project (ILDP) activities. The conference’s main purpose was exchange of experiences, good practices and challenges that local communities face with when implementing their development priorities.
The conference enabled sharing of views of 18 municipalities and cities that have been developing their local strategies over the last year in accordance to the widely accepted Methodology for Integrated Planning of Local Development (MiPRO). The conference, also, provided opportunity to 22 local governments to discuss the successes and challenges of systemic implementation of their local strategies.
The conference speakers included Mayor of Mrkonjić Grad, Ms. Divna Aničić, who spoke of their experiences of the last year’s strategic planning process, which resulted in a finalized integrated local development strategy for Mrkonjić Grad. The second speaker at the conference was Mayor of Orašje, Mr. Đuro Topić, who spoke of challenges and successes to the local development strategy implementation process.
The conference participants emphasized advantages of the applied methodology, among them wide participation of representatives from public, private and non-governmental sectors. The strategies that are developed in this manner represent legitimate platforms for future investments into economic, social and environmental sectors.
In relation to the local development strategy implementation processes, participants particularly noted the necessity for financial soundness of strategies, the importance of attracting external financial resources to fund strategic priorities- in the context of strengthening the local project capacity- and the need for a systemic strategy and development management via establishment of specific local development units within the municipal and city administrations. Considering that local communities have similar problems that can be effectively solved through joint actions, the importance of inter-municipal cooperation was also emphasized.
Regula Babler, Local Governance, Migration and Development Advisor for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), congratulated the first generation of 22 local governments for succesfully applying a comprehensive local governance model with the ultimate aim to translate strategic priorities into concrete actions. Ms. Babler particularley emphasized the need for higher government levels to engage in advocating and lobying for the local institutions in order to achieve the required political and financial development stimulus.
“The new model of local development management introduced across ILDP local governments is a novelty for the entire country. As such, the model represents a challenge that is not easy to achieve; it represents new frameworks requiring reformation and changes in the way that local governments address development priorities. This is why support to the local authorities represents key segment in strengthening municipalities and cities to drive local development in their communities“, stated Zahira Virani, UNDP BiH Deputy Resident Representative, emphasizing the significance of local strategies’ integration into the higher level government’s strategic priorities.
ILDP is a joint initiative of UNDP and SDC implemented in a partnership with Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, Ministry of Justice of FBiH, Ministry of Governance and Local Self-governance of RS, Una Sana Canton, Western Herzegovina Canton, Associations of Municipalities and Cities of both entities, and 40 municipalities and cities across BiH.