Cities, Towns and Association of Polish Cities Advisors Have Begun Implementing Local and Institutional Development Plans
We already know the names of victorious cities and towns – recipients of funding from the “Local Development” Programme financed from the Norwegian and European Economic Area Financial Mechanisms.

The Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy announced that 29 municipalities would receive funding totalling over EUR 102 million.

The importance of the competition to participant cities and towns can be proven by a quote from deputy mayor of Ostrów Wielkopolski (competition winner) Mikołaj Kostka, whose Facebook profile read that this victory was one of the most important days in over ten years of his work as a local government official. Kostka added, “3.5 million euro in Norway Grant funding will be provided to Ostrów Wielkopolski to deliver tasks thanks to which our city will become even more resident- and natural environment-friendly. Yet the grant amount itself is not the most important aspect of the endeavour. I believe that the way of creating our project – highly praised by Polish and Norwegian experts alike – and its potential outcomes are much more significant. Owing to the excellent team of Ostrów Wielkopolski Municipal Authority staff and assistance we received from Association of Polish Cities advisors, we could begin by diagnosing Ostrów’s tribulations. Opinions offered by young inhabitants of Ostrów, local businesses and social activists were of great importance and value. We were seeking a concept for a City until 2050, for an Ostrów we would want to live, study, work, rest, bring up children and grow old in. We will soon begin making that vision come true, a vision as bold as it is realistic. I would like to use this opportunity and thank everyone for their commitment. Do join us in continued collaboration.”

Similar projects will be developed across Poland by a further 28 small and medium-sized towns and cities. We know that municipalities have begun preparing in earnest, to be able to deliver all tasks as planned. Regrettably, step one will have to involve an adjustment of task schedules and budgets to actual funding amounts approved, followed by identification of funding sources for supplementary activities; yet recent presentations of guidelines adopted for the Local Government Investment Fund (FIS) and National Recovery Plan (KPO) allow a modicum of optimism.

Association of Polish Cities advisors are busy preparing for future work as well – they will have the pleasure of continued co-operation with victorious cities and towns, helping them implement tasks planned jointly with urban teams and local residents at the previous competition stage, funded from European Economic Area financial mechanisms and other sources.

We made a conscious effort to prepare for the task in the course of in-house workshops for city and town advisors, held in Paprotnia on 13 and 14 July.

Intense times lie ahead. Yet the Association of Polish Cities’ offer addresses competition winners and finalists alike – all participants of competition stage two we have no intention of forgetting – as well as all Association of Polish Cities member municipalities. We are launching Experience Exchange Networks in fields key to urban development. Networks will be operated in online and on-site meeting formats, as well as through study visits. We are certain they will be a valuable contribution to our database of good practices in local development governance.

Efforts to support cities and towns will obviously involve the use of the Local Development Monitor, a key tool developed as part of the predefined project and the entity behind a yet another new gateway, this one with an entrepreneurship focus: Improving development monitoring systems remains a Programme priority for us. We are also working on successive Local Development Forum editions.

Follow us on Facebook and the website – our bulletin boards regarding current information on successive work stages pursuant to the “Local Development” Programme, and other assignments delivered for municipal beneficiaries by the Association of Polish Cities.