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Peter Wolf, Sector Fund Manager, GIZ

Right On Track

As a provider of international cooperation services for sustainable development, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is dedicated to building a future that’s worth living in for around 120 countries worldwide

The results that we’ve achieved over previous years, such as the introduction of digital solutions for better public services and the improvement of framework conditions and capacities for water and waste management in many local communities, instil us with confidence that we are on the right track – says GIZ Sector Fund Manager Peter Wolf.

GIZ has spent a full decade working around the world, on behalf of the German government and its international partners, to shape the future. Are you satisfied with what you’ve achieved?

GIZ

The GIZ Open Regional Fund for Southeast Europe – Modernisation of Municipal Services (ORF MMS) that I am allowed to introduce today is conceived as a cooperation and networking platform for all relevant stakeholders in the six Western Balkan countries (WB6) who want to use the benefits of stronger regional cooperation and improved local economic development. Together with our partners, we are creating better living conditions and perspectives for the local population across the region.

With the development of an e-registration system for seasonal workers in agriculture, over 46,000 people could work with full social security benefits, while the government generated 4.8 million euros in additional taxes and contributions from 2019 to 2020. The overarching framework for all the activities of our 23,600 employees, cooperation partners and commissioning parties is the 2030 UN Agenda, with its Sustainable Development Goals.

You are currently focused on the new 2021-2024 project cycle. What can you tell us about this cycle?

In the upcoming project phase, a strong focus will be placed on further strengthening regional networks and their capacities to create a businessfriendly environment. Based on the transfer of knowledge between governments, civil society and the private sector at the local, national and regional levels, as well as the exchange of best practices from EU member states, this project will facilitate cooperation and develop innovative approaches to fostering economic reforms.

The efficient dissemination and transfer of knowledge will be implemented throughout sector-specific network organisations.

We managed to reform the system for issuing building permits that led to the country climbing 177 places on the World Bank’s Doing Business list

The project will provide support for the development of concrete reform proposals to national authorities and intensive capacity building measures to local governments aimed at fostering economic development and improving the business climate.

The transfer of best practices, such as the e-registration system for seasonal work from Serbia to other WB6 countries, will be facilitated, including further digital transformation in local communities, COVID- 19 post-pandemic recovery and the promotion of inclusiveness through the support of vulnerable sections of the population following the principle “Leaving no one behind”.

You work to improve conditions for the development of municipalities and local economies in the six countries of the Western Balkans. Who are your partners in this important work?

In order to meet these challenges, our ORF MMS constantly strengthens the capacities of regional sector-specific networks, such as the Network of Associations of Local Authorities in Southeast Europe (NALAS), the Regional Capacity Development Network for Water Public Utilities in Southeast Europe (RCDN) and the Network for Business-Friendly Certification Southeast Europe (BFC SEE). These are the strategic partners of our work in the region.

The ORF MMS additionally promotes cooperation between these regional networks and national decision makers. Beside the involvement of ministries, municipalities, public utilities enterprises and their regional umbrella organisations, as well as international and bilateral donor programmes, the constant growth of the commitment of the private sector is duly noted and highly appreciated.

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