NALAS delegation took part in the Study Visit and the Best Practice Forum on Green Development for Sustainable Cities, organised by Darkhan Uul Province, Mongolia, from 28 June until 3 July 2022.


Mayor Dushan Raicevic from the City of Bar, Montenegro and Second NALAS Vice-President, Mayor Marko Filipovic from the City of Rijeka, Croatia, and Third NALAS Vice-President, Mayor Tadej Beocanin, from the City of Ajdovscina, Slovenia, Ms. Jasmina Vidmar, the Secretary General of SOS Slovenia, Mr. Mehmet Onur Partal, the Director of the President’s Finance Office in Turkey, Mr. Kelmend Zajazi, NALAS Executive Director, Ms. Jelena Janevska, Ms. Semra Amet and Mr. Joachim Roth from NALAS Secretariat, formed the NALAS delegation.


Main focus of the study visit were on-site visits of public administration institutions and service providers, Civil Society Organisations as well as business entities. Within two Best Practice Forums experience, expertise, challenges and opportunities were exchanged with relevant stakeholders from the Darkhan-Uul Province. The Best Practise Forums were organised around the topics of business and investment environment and smart city concepts to improve both local public governance service delivery and business promotion.


“This Forum is an important milestone for laying the ground for cooperation between the EU and Mongolian cities. In fact, NALAS is composed of both EU members and EU candidate countries who are undergoing reforms to become full EU members. This makes us an ideal partner to exchange and learn from each other. And we need to learn a lot and fast because the challenges are multiplying while our citizens have also growing expectations for better lives here and now. In this context, networking and exchange of good practices is so much needed to learn fast and inspire each other”, said Mr. Raicevic in his opening speech.


Mongolian partners expressed the highest satisfaction from all they were able to hear and learn from the NALAS delegation. Mr. Dusan Raicevic presented Bar’s experiences in promoting alternative tourism, entrepreneurship development and empowerment of women entrepreneurs. Mr. Marko Filipovic spoke about Rijeka as a Smart City and shared Rijeka’s transition from an industrial city into an attractive tourist destination. Mr. Tadej Beocanin talked about the sustainable growth of Ajdovscina and the role of the municipality in nurturing community’s investment climate.


Mr. Mehmet Onur Partal presented “Invest in Istanbul”, as a great example for attracting and supporting foreign investors. Ms. Jasmina Vidmar talked about smart tourism in Ljubljana, virtual market for agriculture products and Slovenia as the land of beekeeping. Ms. Vidmar also emphasised the important role that Local Government Associations play in presenting a unified voice of the local governments, advocating for their needs and advancing their capacities. Ms. Jelena Janevska shared the capacity development opportunities for local public administration and decision-makers offered by NALAS e-Academy.


During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed among Darkan-Uul Province, Mongolian University of Life Sciences and NALAS to (i) transfer NALAS know-how in virtual capacity development and contribute to the setup of an e-Academy at Darkhan-Uul Province and (ii) to contribute to an enabling environment of Darkhan-Uul Province to strengthen capacities of municipal staff, elected representatives and relevant local stakeholders in governance.


NALAS committed to provide technical support to promote the set-up of the first Mongolian Association of Local Governments and set-up the executive and five sub-committees for the Inter-Regional Darkhan – EU Forum, as a platform for transferring knowledge and technology, exchanging best practices, creating high-tech start-ups and enterprises, attracting investment and expanding cooperation by improving local governance, business environment, and institutional development between Darkhan-Uul province and the European Union focusing on green development, innovation, entrepreneurship, and start-up business.


The event was organised within the frame of the FRIENDSHIP project, supported by the Euripean Union and implemented by Darkhan Uul Province, in cooperation with the School for Agriculture and Business of the Mongolian University of Life Sciences and NALAS. The project promotes inclusive and sustainable growth of Darkhan city and its province using collaborative multi-stakeholder participatory and knowledge sharing approaches for improving resilience, accelerating digital transition, fostering innovation and promoting employment opportunities.