The objectives of the component are to: (a) help municipalities to be more effective by (i) testing and developing models and tools, (ii) conducting needs assessments, (iii) identifying investment and maintenance priorities, and (iv) formulating practical action plans’, (b) promote the creation of, or strengthen the associations of local authorities as crucial players in the advancement of municipalities at national levels, and as facilitators for the dissemination of innovative local government thinking.
Municipalities often lack appropriate standards for the delivery of urban infrastructure and services. These problems are compounded by rapid rates of population growth and limited resources. Decisions tend to be ad hoc and. as such, resource allocation may be inefficient and wasteful. Local authority officials will consequently be exposed to case studies of successful municipal development experiences, and address the issues of standards with the appropriate guidance. Activities of this kind will fill a critically unmet need of providing direct, short-term help in developing tools, procedures, and internal management assessments.
Countries that have developed a stable system of local authorities within some degree of decentralization or delegation of responsibilities to municipalities are the ones where municipal associations have been created and are effective. They provide a unique forum for the debate of municipal issues and for the development of the local government agenda, both in terms of policy reforms and managerial and technical issues.
The focus of the component will be on activities related to:
- Participatory planning and consensus building, related to the preparation and subsequent implementation of municipal action plans, taking into account the heterogeneity of communities in terms of class, gender, and other criteria
- Application of local valuation and taxation systems (o generate revenues, accompanied by the development of the administrative tools required for accounting, management, and investment of local revenues;
- Appropriate physical planning techniques, to combine action plans with fiscal projections, and to design innovative mechanisms for local participation:
- Technical standards for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of municipal infrastructure, and for the delivery of urban services in: education, health and support to the weaker groups of the community:
- Development of pilot cases of effective municipal management that can lead to the replication and the adoption of management tools, procedures and operational guidelines.
The strategy of the component will be to respond to requests for assistance from municipalities. This component will be available especially to mid-size municipalities of focus countries in Group A, where the impact of the activities can be relevant and the process and experimentation may lead to the establishment of practices and standards. At the scale of municipal associations, the program will be promoting their establishment and development throughout all the countries of Groups A and B, catering for their regional integration within the network of IULA Africa Section.
In addressing municipal development and management issues, the program will seek and support community-based and non-governmental organizations because they are especially well equipped to mobilize participation in decision making, resource generation and program implementation. Visits to other municipalities will be part of the implementation process, to ensure that experiences are compared and shared accordingly.
Municipalities should, as standard good management practice, have a rolling plan of action. The vast majority do not have such a plan because they lack the resources and methodologies. The MDP will support specific municipalities in preparing the plans, which, in turn, can be used to seek assistance from the central governments and/or development agencies. With this type of involvement, the MDP also acts a clearing house, matching municipal needs to assistance programs.
The program will support national associations in carrying out their activities, in building their institutional base. and in broadening their capacity to serve as the focal point For debate and advocacy. These associations are national in character and provide a forum for municipalities to share experiences, exchange information, develop unified policy positions, and speak with one voice on common issues relevant to local governments, thereby ensuring the effectiveness of their advocacy role.
As a follow-up to its commitment during Phase I, the program will continue to collaborate with IULA-AS (the regional umbrella organization of national associations) providing direct support to the secretariat for strengthening its capacity. IULA-AS should gradually be able to assert its regional role and to assume more operational responsibilities, thus enabling the program during Phase II to transfer to it all activities related to the support of local government associations.
The quantitative output that is expected from the component can be estimated tentatively as follows: (a) three activities per year will be implemented in collaboration with municipalities to provide support in the preparation of urban development plans, following the methodological workshop on urban plans held in Dar Es Salaam in 1992: this support will be given especially to Tanzania, Malawi. Uganda, and Mozambique, which are trying to evolve new models of urban development which are more relevant and sustainable: (b) three activities per year will be implemented with municipalities in management, technical and participatory issues: and (c) two activities per year will be developed in regard to strengthening and supporting associations of local authorities.
Tile outcome of the activities of direct support to municipalities and their associations will also be captured in publications that the program will edit, produce and disseminate. The qualitative output of this component should be improvement in the fiscal, managerial and technical performance of municipalities and in their ability to assess needs, drawing up development plans, and involve community groups and NGOs in decision making and implementation of plans. The output should also be the higher quality and regional relevance of information material available to municipalities. The exchange of experiences also should DC more integrated and efficient. Stronger and better established municipal associations should also allow for sensible improvement in the policy dialogue between local and central governments, for the mutual reinforcement of the associations through their regional networks, and for better quality services to member municipalities in the countries of Groups A and B.