Capacity building and expert assistance

From Municipal Cooperation

Promoting IMC
The need for IMC in Central and Eastern Europe
Obstacles to IMC in Central and Eastern Europe
The need for a national policy to promote IMC
IMC legislation
Financial incentives for IMC
Capacity building and expert assistance
Information and knowledge management

The municipalities that have never implemented IMC would surely benefit from capacity building to raise their awareness on the benefits of IMC, what they can do together and how they can do it. The evidence from Western Europe does not reveal large-scale formal training in IMC (although in France, universities do have modules in IMC). The methods of capacity building that seem to prevail are seminars, workshops and meetings.

In the West European context where IMC is and has been common practice for many decades, there is a widely available and easily accessible critical mass of information and knowledge about IMC that precludes the need for formal training. However, in CEE, IMC is completely new and there is almost no national experience to draw from. This is why formal training, including one that informs about the international and Western European experience as well as IMC practices in the region, is considered important, together with other methods of capacity building such as seminars and workshops.

Unlike formal training, expert assistance is widely used in Western Europe to support the identification of IMC possibilities and its establishment. The Italian regions, for instance, have permanent staff who provide expert assistance in IMC. The possible areas of expert support include:

  • Preparation of feasibility studies
  • Neutral mediation/facilitation between municipalities
  • Identification of the optimal minimum size of IMC to achieve economies of scale
  • Advice on the legal forms of IMC
  • Advice on how to comply with IMC legislation
  • Support the drafting of agreements, contracts and statutes
  • Advice on the restructuring of the municipal administration to allow for IMC
  • Support for the design and operation of joint management structures
  • Neutral mediation in situations of conflict, etc.

Expert assistance would clearly be highly relevant in the context of CEE.