Elaboration of Local Economic Development Plans (LEDPs) in an inclusive and participatory manner is one of the main requirements for the Signatories to the “Mayors for Economic Growth” (M4EG) Initiative.
To guide and support the processes of local planning, the M4EG Secretariat developed special guidelines and a tailor-made capacity building programme for Local Economic Development Officers (the delegated representatives of signatory local administrations) who are the main contact points for the M4EG Secretariat at the working level. The first trainings commenced in November 2017, with the entire programme of four modules wrapping up in May 2018.
Although the requirements under the Initiative are uniform and identical in all the countries, as are the capacity building programme contents, each country has formed its own national pattern of stakeholders’ cooperation while conducting local planning processes.
One of efficiently working approaches has been observed in Moldova, which contributed to the consistently even and good performance of Moldovan signatories during the training programme, as noted by the trainers and the M4EG Secretariat team.
Mayors working hands-on
While having steady support at the national level from the State Chancellery and the Congress of Local Public Authorities (CALM), the main drive for cooperation and participation comes from the local actors. The commitment of the signatory local administrations is easy to see - high-level officials like mayors and deputy mayors were personally taking an active part in all the capacity building trainings, notwithstanding the huge workload they had to deal with.
Ion CARPINEANU, Mayor of Carpineni village:
“We have a relatively small municipality with few staff in the city hall, and there is no one who knows the situation in the community better than the mayor. I wanted to be part of the decision-making process. Rather than just getting subordinates’ reports about these important processes, I prefer being informed first-hand and directly taking part in the capacity building and planning events”.
All in all, 5 municipalities out of the 20 Moldovan signatories (25%) were represented by their Heads or Deputy Heads taking part in the trainings.
Regional Development agencies on board
Commitment alone isn’t always enough to succeed in such complicated task as planning local economic growth and development. Support from the local stakeholders where local capacity is not enough can make all the difference. In case of Moldova, it was the contribution of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) from North, Center, and South regions of the country, which assisted the signatories in their efforts, and, as a result, brought the quality of planning work to a higher level.
The RDAs have been active since the very start of the planning processes in the signatory municipalities. First of all, they have assumed the role of communication platforms for the municipalities in their respective region, hosting regional workshops on local economic development planning, and ensuring synergy between related projects at the local level. Having participated in the M4EG Training of Trainers in Local Economic Development, they consistently supported their municipalities throughout the process, also assisting them with data processing, analysis, interpretation and visualisation, etc.
Intermunicipal cooperation bearing fruit
“South Open Gate of Moldova for Businesses and Investments Promotion” is one of the Mayors for Economic Growth Pioneer Projects in Moldova, selected for financial support from the European Commission under the Call for Proposals held in 2017.
It holds a special place among the 16 M4EG pioneer projects in the Eastern Partnership region, as it is targeting economic development of a territory encompassing not one, but several municipalities. It has become the result of the applied bottom-up approach and successful intermunicipal cooperation at the stage of project planning, with a strong coordinating role of the South Regional Development Agency.
The RDA was the institution that ensured communication with and participation of all eight districts from the region, took care of the related administrative and logistical arrangements, and assisted the principal beneficiary, Cimișlia Municipality administration, in the project proposal writing and budget elaboration. In addition, the South RDA is responsible of the implementation of one of the project components.