NEXPO 2011 Report

NEXPO Declaration of Local Governments Facing the Future

Almost 200 mayors from South East Europe used the occasion of NEXPO 2011 to discuss common challenges, present innovative approaches and agree together upon a joint Declaration on Local Governments Facing the Future: Good Governance, Social Inclusion and European Integration. This Declaration is addressed to the European Union, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the national governments in SEE, the associations of local authorities and their networks and recommends a stronger role of local governments and their associations in the EU integration process, and in the utilisation of the IPA and other funding mechanisms.

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Conference on Good Governance and EU Integration

Murat Daoudov,
Union of Municipalities of Marmara
Richard Williams,
Vladimir Moskov,
NALAS President
Ivailo Kalfin,
European Parliament
Alfonso Zardi,
Council of Europe
Pierre Pribetich,
Municipality of Dijon
Per Vinther,
ALDA President
Vesna Travljanin,
Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jeremy Smith,
Advocacy International

The European integration process is of paramount importance for ensuring that fundamental European values are shared by all Europeans. The European Charter of Local Self-Government is an essential basis for defining the principles of local self-government, but in itself, it does not define what constitutes good local government and governance. In that respect, the Council of Europe has developed a 12-point strategy for innovation and good governance.

Local authorities have important roles to play in the integration process: 1) A large proportion of EU regulations have to be implemented by local governments, or have a direct impact on them; 2) As the governments closest to citizens, they need to bring Europe closer to their citizens, informing them about the advantages and also the costs of the European integration process; 3) Local governments should be beneficiaries of programmes to support EU accession.

The current programme period for IPA financing (the Instrument for pre-accession assistance) expires at the end of 2012.  This means that it is necessary right now to engage with national government and the EU on the nature, scope and management of the next round of financing from 2013.

The session resulted with the NEXPO Declaration recommending a stronger role of local governments and their associations in the EU integration process, and in the utilisation of the IPA and other funding mechanisms.

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Twinning for Development

Li Liguo,
China International Friendship Cities Association
Nancy M. Huppert,
Sister Cities International


Keith Whitmore,
Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
Frederic Vallier,
Council of European Municipalities and Regions
Guinka Chavdarova,
National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria
Friedrich Wolf,
City of Cologne
Han Bin,


Jeremy Smith,
Advocacy International

There has always been an element of ‘development’ in the objectives and actions of twinned towns and cities, with small-scale projects and exchanges on economic, social and environmental issues. But in particular since the 1980s, and responding to European and global challenges, local governments have been far more involved in partnerships which focus on local development.

In Europe, it was in particular the development of the EU’s cohesion policy, financed through the structural funds, which led to and inspired an upsurge in project-based partnerships between cities, towns and regions. These certainly involved exchanges for mutual learning, but focused more on the development needs of the economically weaker regions and their municipalities.

In the wider world, the role of local governments in development has been more and more recognized by national governments and the European Union. The Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) explicitly recognizes local authorities as development actors, and since 2007, local governments have had access to a specific thematic programme with about €30m a year.

For twinnings to really succeed as instruments for development, we can learn some lessons from experience in Europe and across the world:

  • The development project must relate to an important problem identified by the partner local government, which must “own” the project from the outset
  • Clear objectives, a statement of expected results, and performance indicators should be set for the development project before it begins, and the project should be jointly planned
  • The subject of the partnership should relate to a competence shared by all partner local governments
  • The financial and in-kind contributions from each partner should be made explicit from the outset
  • The role and contribution of other actors in the partnership, e.g. civil society organisations at each end of the partnership, should also be explicit from the outset
  • Even if the partnership is more for the practical benefit of one partner, it is better if all partners can demonstrate benefits from it (e.g. staff development, involvement of local communities)

Social Inclusion

Kurt Kunz,
Vladimir Moskov,
NALAS President
Darko Bozic,
City of Belgrade
Stevco Jakimovski,
Municipality of Karpos
Tatjana von Steiger Weber,
Vasile Marin,
Hincesti Rayon
Ermin Hajder,
Municipality of Bosanski Petrovac
Kuno Schläfli,
Bülent Hamdi Cingil,
Yenisehir / Bursa
Pascal Arnold ,
Richard Kohli,
Marina Dimova,
Kelmend Zajazi,

Promoting social inclusion: an opportunity and/or an obligation for mayors?

All mayors share a common vision to improve the lives of their citizens. In order to achieve this vision, this means reaching out to those vulnerable citizens who, for reasons of disability, age, gender, ethnicity, living in rural or remote areas, unemployment or lack of education, face challenges in accessing local government services.

As front line public service providers, the level of government closest to citizens, local governments play an important role in ensuring equitable access to essential services. Local governments are also an important place for citizens to participate in decision-making processes and to ensure that their voices are heard when it comes to development priorities. Due to this closeness between local governments and citizens, mayors indeed have unique opportunities, and also obligations, to support the wellbeing of all of their citizens.

There are many measures that mayors can take to improve social inclusion in their municipalities, like improving education services, supporting job creation and ensuring inclusive local development planning. The experience of the mayors attending this conference includes many creative and effective initiatives. In order to share these experiences and to discuss the role of mayors and of their development partners in improving social inclusion, NALAS and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation are hosting a conference on social inclusion as part of the NEXPO.


Arne Musch,
VNG International



The purpose of decentralization is to deliver high quality, efficient and accessible public services. Local government associations are in a constant quest to serve their member local governments needs especially in the dynamic decentralization and reform environment such as the case in South East Europe.

Setting up service standards in order to build the capacities of municipalities to deliver responsive services to citizens has been one of the most successful services provided by many associations across the world. This can be achieved by setting up a framework for monitoring the performance of local governments which is widely known as “Benchmarking of public service”.

Benchmarking is a tool to measure performance of a local government over a standard. The process of systematical and periodical collection, maintaining and analysis of the information is not an easy exercise; however, local government associations can have a multiple benefit from applying such a tool:

  • The process of setting the standard is a good exercise in itself to build a common understanding of what makes a good service in a certain service delivery area such as urban planning, social health services, etc.
  • once the performance of local governments is measured, they can compare with each other and self-evaluate the efficiency of their own performance
  • The local government association will have a good overview of areas where local governments need to make improvements. This may guide the LGA training and technical assistance program
  • This can also help to identify best performing local governments who can serve as a showcase for the others
  • The data for the current and past performance can be used as a baseline to measure effectiveness of different capacity building programs and interventions


Matej Gombosi,
Municipality of Beltinci
Sanja Stanisic,
Municipality of Bar
Sasa Kek,
Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia
Luka Mulej,
Maja Zupancic,
Directorate for e-Government and Administrative Processes
  Bostjan Brezovnik,
University of Maribor

What is the role of ICT and (especially local) e-Governance in addressing social inclusion?

There are closer connections between ICTs and social inclusion in the economic sense rather than political empowerment (participation sense). However, there are promising indications on how ICTs can address the political dimension of social inclusion. Generally speaking, there is a differentiation within e-governance between a) e-government and b) e-democracy / e-participation.

E-Government – This side of the e-governance coin looks at the “supply-side” (i.e. how the government can improve its services towards its citizens through ICTs. This aspect of e-governance is important but not sufficient. There is a need for a complimentary side, the e-democracy / e-participation.

3-D Public Exhibitions – The project 3D public exhibition is a portal for publication of municipal spatial plans which provides 3-dimensional visualization and citizen participation. Within the project activities tools for use in municipalities were developed, which consists of a portal for the unveiling of municipal spatial plans and three-dimensional display for its presentation.

Catalog of powers and duties of municipalities – The catalogue of Slovenian municipal competences is a comprehensive source of information on the municipal jurisdiction and individual acts relevant for municipalities.

Energy Efficiency

Roman Doubrava,
DG Energy,
Gerard Magnin,
Energy Cities
Marijan Maras,
City of Zagreb
Stevco Jakimovski,
Municipality of Karpos
Miroslav Kukobat,
Anatol Sirbu,
Municipality of


Borko Rajcevic,
Energy Community
Julije Domac,
Bruno Wilhelm,
Johannes Elle,
GIZ Open Regional Fund

Energy Efficiency proved to be a topic of highest interest during the NEXPO. The promotion and use of EE and RE potentials is of growing economic and social importance for municipalities in SEE. Cooperation within the NALAS network is helping to increase the political influence of local au-thorities on EE/RE-related policies at the national level as well as to develop their technical and institutional capacities and to raise additional funds for the joint development and imple¬men¬tation of EE/RE initiatives. The Know-how Energy Efficiency Workshop gathered more than fifty people audience and the emphasis was on the municipal energy action plans and the Covenant of Mayors as a broad European initiative to promote Energy Efficiency in municipalities. Two mayors from SEE region participated in the workshop and expressed their point of view – the Mayor of Karpos, Macedonia – Mr. Stevco Jakimovski, and the Mayor of Antonesti, Moldova – Mr. Anatol Sirbu.
Diverse set of speakers and expertise demonstrated the significance of the Energy Efficiency for the quality of delivered municipal services and municipal budget. The Know-how Workshop on Energy Efficiency preceded the Official Ceremony for Signing the Covenant of Mayors and Agreements for Supporters of the Covenant of Mayors which held place on the 11th March. During the official ceremony which was witnessed by Mr. Gerard Magnin, the Executive Director of Energy Cities, and Mr. Roman Doubrava from DG Energy of the European Commission the Covenant of Mayors was signed by 21 mayors. Some of the signatories decided to sign the Covenant spontaneously.





Zdravko Krsmanovic, , Mayor of Foca, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jasar Spahic Mensur, Mayor of Kakanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Rado Savic, Mayor of Lopare, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Aida Daul, Mayor of Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Dusan Malinovic, Mayor of Sipovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Neoto Stojakovic, Mayor of Ribnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Zivojin Jurosovic, Mayor of Milici, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Nusret Helic, Mayor of Gracanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mehmed Mustabajic, Mayor of Maglaj, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stevco Jakimovski, Mayor of Karpos, Macedonia
Gheorge Fosca, Mayor of Leova, Moldova
Plesco Aurel, Town Lipceni, Rezina District, Moldova
Ciobanu Alexandru , Gura Galbenei, Cimislia District, Moldova
Ţurcanu Silvia, Chiscareni, Singerei District, Moldova
Gheorghe Zagorodni, Mayor of Cahul, Moldova
Mihail Silitraru, Mayor of Yaloven, Moldova
Nina Costiuc, Mayor of Budesti, Moldova
Silvia Turcanu, Mayor of Chiscareni, Moldova
Alexei Burlacu, Mayor of Rogojeni, Moldova
Aleksandar Dzuric, , Mayor of Bijelo Pole, Montenegro
Dzhevat Durak, Mayor of Karshiyaka, Turkey






Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Association of Towns and Municipalities of Republic of Srpska
Association of Municipalities of the Republic of Croatia
Association of the Units of Local Self-government of Republic of Macedonia
Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova
Union of Municipalities of Montenegro
Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities
Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia
Union of Municipalities of Marmara


Sustainable Tourism

Cristina Vojic Krajcar,
Istria Tourist Board


Stefano Giovanni Lucchini,
Municipality of Sauris


Gino Baral,
Eco Museums Association


Giorgio Andrian,
Autonomous Province of Trento


Diego Vecchiato,
Veneto Region
Kamil Okyay Sindir,
Municipality of Bornova
Silvia Sterbet,
Municipality of Valeni


Aleksandar Ristin,
Municipality Alibunar
Xu Ruiyu,


Ivo Ino Jerkic,
Municipality of Citluk
Victor Magiar,
National Association of Italian Communes
  Ana Nikolic,


The purpose of this workshop was to review some successful models of rural and mountain area revitalisation through sustainable tourism practices, adopted by different regional and local authorities which are considered of great interest and duplicability for other areas of South-East Europe.

The participants debated around the innovation and efficacy of different experiences and methods to be a first contribution to the constituting Task Force on Sustainable Tourism, set up by NALAS and supported by the SeeNet Program, in terms of concrete and innovative ideas to form the basis of a coordinated regional strategy, which would aim to promote the development of tourism founded on the concept of sustainability.

Discussion points:

  • Sustainable itineraries that enhance cultural and natural resources of rural and mountain areas
  • Involvement of local communities and the creation of income generating opportunities, the examples of the “Scattered Hotel” and of Eco museums
  • The issue of the multilevel governance of territorial resources
  • Tourist promotion and territorial marketing
  • European Funds for the development of tourist initiatives in rural and mountain areas
  • A proposal for the capitalization of good practices: Anci-Nalas Task Force for sustainable tourism

Exhibitors | NEXPO Declaration | Evaluation Form for Visitors