The Autumn Networking Workshop was attended by over 120 persons – representatives of urban teams and Association of Polish Cities advisors working jointly on the process of cities and towns implementing investment projects funded as part of the “Local Development” Programme.
In his welcome speech, Director of the Department of Assistance Programmes at the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy Maciej Aulak said that the Workshop had been designed to exchange experience in a less formal setting, and make project delivery better and easier. He told the attendants that while a margin of flexibility had been negotiated with donor states with regard to selected parameters, despite municipal applications the project eligibility deadline has remained unchanged: the Programme has to close by April 2024. Deputy Director of the Association of Polish Cities Office and Pre-defined Project Manager Tomasz Potkański encouraged everyone to engage in dialogue with Ministry representatives, and submit any questions or doubts. He expressed a belief that the Workshop was an excellent platform for information exchange, not only with the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy but also with urban teams, the latter well-equipped to exchange experience regarding Local Development and Institutional Development Programme implementation efforts.
Workshop Day One focused on “Local Development” Programme-related training courses on how to draft financial and substantive reports, including a question and answer session moderated by Kamil Wieder from the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy.
Day Two agenda included networking workshops, individual sessions exploring themes submitted by meeting attendants. Discussed subjects included the following:
- Practical aspects of bilateral collaboration (contract settlement, planning, joint activities, major cultural differences),
- Project cost eligibility,
- Civic participation (ways of encouraging residents to actively join urban life, convincing management staff to join social dialogue),
- Increasing investment costs and contractor shortages,
- Project management (techniques of convincing participants that regular project delivery monitoring is worth their while),
- Engaging municipal authority staff, management included, in institutional development processes,
- Developing municipal staff competences,
- Public procurement (challenges and good practices).