News and EventsThe Rio Conventions Project Presented at an International Conference on Inter-Municipal Co-operation
High Level International Conference on Inter-municipal Co-operation (IMC) jointly organized by UNDP Bratislava Regional Center (UNDP BRC), Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Local Government Initiative of Open Society Institute (LGI/OSI) took place on 23 and 24 September, 2010 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Participants included some 90 representatives from the host organisations, ministers, state secretaries, deputy ministers, senior officials from the ministries responsible for local and regional governments, mayors and representatives from municipal associations in the region of South Eastern Europe (SEE) and the Newly Independent States (NIS).
Conference debates focused on key challenges and solutions on the best ways to improve the environment for and practice of inter-municipal co-operation in areas such as: public service delivery, local social and economic development, municipal finance and budgeting. A special focus was made on the necessary inter-municipal and inter-district cooperation for the improvement of environmental services available to the public: e.g. maintenance of landfills and water supply systems, nature preservation, tourism development, energy supply and energy efficiency. The presentation of the Rio Conventions Project focused on best practices of inter-district and inter-municipal cooperation in Bulgaria identified in the process of update of the District Development Strategy of Plovdiv district and the integration of global environmental issues into regional development and special planning policies in Bulgaria.
The event also provided a platform to launch the jointly developed by CoE, UNDP BRC and LGI/OSI IMC Toolkit. The toolkit consists of a set of tools on IMC including: Manual, Guide for Practitioners, Training programme and IMC trainers’ Library and IMC Web-site.
Over the past fifty years, local governments in Europe have been confronted with limited public finances, population migration and various market pressures. In various countries of SEE central governments are gradually encouraging horizontal co-operation between local authorities by passing new legislations. Local councils are starting to work with private service providers, and have horizontal co-working relationships with their neighbouring municipalities to improve their performances and achieve economies of scale for providing certain public services, or to better access EU funds. However, in some countries, local councils compete rather than work collaboratively with each other.
To this respect the conference helped the consolidation of efforts and the way forward to improving the practice of IMC in Europe. The participants in the event also discussed concrete initiatives on IMC, at central and local level, identifying key challenges and possible solutions and elaborated and agreed on a series of recommendations for further action to improve environment for, and practice of, IMC.
- Presentation of the Rio Conventions Project
- Conference Agenda
- List of Participants
- Manual on Inter-Municipal Cooperation
- Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level adopted by the Council of Europe
- IMC Guide for Practitioners
- IMC Web Site