Municipal Environmental and Economic Governance (MEG) Project - Phase 1
Local authorities are the level of government most readily available to citizens while also holding the most development potential. Municipal administrators are also the most dynamic government actors, acutely aware of the need to create better living conditions and help generate employment for their citizens. Political deadlocks and complex constitutional arrangements in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) have, however, conspired to slow the pace of reforms, discourage investment, and exacerbate growing social inequalities.
As essential public service providers, local governments continue to struggle with user satisfaction, quality of service considerations, sustainability and access, with the latter particularly relevant in rural areas. At present, less than 40% of the country’s population is connected to the public sanitation system with 90% of the collected wastewater released into the watercourses without treatment, resulting in serious contamination of both water and soil. In addition, most of the water utilities in the country are not financially sustainable, which poses a long-term water supply risk.
To address these challenges, the Government of Switzerland launched the Municipal Environmental and Economic Governance (MEG) Project in 2016. The project is part of the Swiss Cooperation Programme in BiH within the Local Governance and Municipal Service domain and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in BiH (UNDP BiH). The MEG project aims to improve municipal development management systems and services in the environmental and economic sectors. These improvements will result in better local services for the citizens, enhanced accountability and trust between local authorities, citizens and businesses. Special attention will be paid to improving living conditions of vulnerable groups.
What will MEG do to improve water services and create a business friendly environment in BiH?
Together with its 18 core partner local governments, competitively selected from a wider group of 31, private sector actors, relevant cantonal, entity and state level institutions, the MEG project will enhance municipal performance, helping apply sound public policy and management processes, spurring interaction among local decision-makers and citizens, and supporting capital investment to unlock sustainable economic growth and job creation.
To support and sustain changes introduced at the local level, the MEG project will encourage improvements in the regulatory framework, aligned with relevant EU standards, and towards decentralized and improved service delivery.
The project will support the creation of synergies between municipalities, businesses, ministries at the entity and cantonal levels, as well as associations and professional thematic networks. Approximately 700,000 citizens, including 40,000 socially excluded, will benefit from the improved local services, employment opportunities or improved business environment.
Expected results from MEG project
Through the implementation of the MEG project, the following main outcomes are expected:
- Outcome 1: Supported local governments apply effective development management systems characterized by stronger oversight from the legislative and greater accountability towards the citizens.
The MEG project will support the local governments' councils and administrations, through capacity development and improvements that will bring about sound public policy and management practices. Specific attention will be afforded to local government councils in strengthening their role in the local democratic system. This will entail, among others, on-the-job training, review, and support in the improvement of local government councils’ organization, procedures and their interaction with, and accountability to, the citizens.
- Outcome 2: Citizens and businesses in target localities benefit from good quality services provided by local governments in the environmental and economic sectors.
With the aim of improving local government services in general, and those relating to environmental and economic sectors in particular, the MEG project will use water supply and wastewater services, as well as services related to improving the business-friendly environment as the main entry points. Support to the provision of other services, e.g. solid waste management, is not excluded and will depend on priorities of partner local governments. Crossovers are possible into the green economy sector in order to maximize economic opportunities while safeguarding the environment.
- Outcome 3: Improved regulatory framework at higher and local government levels and pro-active networking accelerate sector-specific reforms and enable more effective local public service delivery.
The MEG project will support local governments as well as higher government levels in improving their regulatory frameworks, with the specific focus on the economic and environmental sectors and related public services. In addition, the project will support selected cantonal and entity ministries in improving their policy design and development capacities. Further support will be provided to existing professional networks due to their instrumental role in improving local good governance practices in general and public service delivery in particular.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Rural and Regional Development
United Nations Development Programme
GOVERNMENT OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
SWISS AGENCY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION - SDC
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PRO
DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS