EU and UNDP round-up first stage of the M4EG for urban municipalities in Georgia

Georgian municipalities on a journey to explore innovative ways to enhance inclusive economic development through the Mayors for Economic Growth Facility

Posted December 8, 2021

Photo: Vladimir Valishvili/UNDP

Mayors and local economic development specialists representing 48 Georgian municipalities united in the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) network have commenced a round of four regional meetings on the Annual Portfolio Call for Interests and Annual Innovation Call for Proposals, which will offer grant opportunities of around EUR 60,000 for the selected municipalities.  

The programme is an integral part of the new regional M4EG Facility, launched this year by the European Union in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The M4EG Facility builds on and integrates lessons learned from the first phase of the M4EG (2017-2021) that saw high interest in Georgia among local authorities.

Focused on intermediate cities in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), the programme offers learning and knowledge exchange on the development of innovative growth strategies adapted to the local context. The EU and UNDP will support the municipalities in developing a new generation of local economic development plans (LEDPs), promoting strategic thinking, and building urban resilience.

“Cities and mayors around the world are facing challenges posed by the pandemic - shrinking resources and multi-layer crisis across social, economic and cultural life of cities. This new context highlights the ‘radical uncertainty’ that local authorities and people in the region face. We hope that this initiative will help local cities in Georgia and other countries to better adapt to this fast-changing reality,” Irakli Khmaladze, EU Economics, Regional Development and Public Finance Programme Manager said.

The current stage of the M4EG Facility assists the municipalities to address radical uncertainty emerging from the pandemic crisis and discover new opportunities for sustainable and inclusive growth and economic prosperity. Working closely with local authorities and communities, the programme explores innovative approaches to development and seeks new ways to expand its network.

“We are happy to see such high interest in the programme among the municipalities. It is a unique opportunity for Georgian municipalities to develop, test and implement completely new approaches towards local development through system thinking, strategic innovation and portfolio design,” UNDP Head Nick Beresford said.

Call for Interest for Municipal Transformation Portfolio will be closed on 20 December 2021. In early 2022, one municipality will be selected to experiment and pilot portfolio design – an approach combining learning, capabilities, resources and experimentation that together bring about transformative change. The other finalist municipalities will be invited to apply for the annual Innovation Call – City Make-Over: Reimagining City Life.

Background:

The Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility is part of the M4EG initiative, launched and funded by the European Union since 2017. The M4EG Facility is run by UNDP, starting from 2021, in close cooperation with the EU, local authorities and a range of other partners.

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