The objective of the project Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) is to support the local authorities (LAs) in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries to become active facilitators for economic growth and job creation. The project will encourage and support LAs in EaP countries to design and implement Local Economic Development Plans (LEDPs) and strengthen the technical skills and capacities of LAs to implement economic strategies in line with the principles of good governance and sound financial management.
The project team will conduct the following activities:
- Develop a content-wise concept of M4EG (including methodology for establishing the baseline, template for LEDPs, indicators, monitoring tools, oversight mechanism, etc.)
- Support the European Commission (EC) and Partner Countries’ (PC) authorities to fine-tune the target definition and process of the M4EG initiative
- Ensure buying in and ownership of all actors to guarantee the maximum sustainability of M4EG in the region by engaging with various stakeholders, such as LAs associations, business associations, SMEs, education institutions, etc.
- Establish synergies with Covenant of Mayors (COM) in the field of energy efficiency/climate and other major initiatives
- Raise awareness of, and promote sign up to and implementation of, the M4EG
- Assist the cities in the implementation of their LEDPs, thus leading to sustainable economic growth for the municipalities
The central office of the project is established in Tbilisi which functions as a central secretariat for M4EG in the region and covers the countries targeted by this project.
The project will contribute to: partnership of the M4EG members, development of local investment projects, and supporting cities to move to more accountable, transparent and business-oriented local administration systems.
With the purpose of overcoming a number of obstacles, in order to unlock the development potential of local authorities (LAs), the European Commission reaffirms the importance of LAs in partner countries in achieving development objectives. It therefore proposes more strategic engagement for their empowerment.
On the basis of the outcomes of the “Structured Dialogue on the involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and LAs in EU Development Cooperation”, the European Commission Communication Agenda for Change recognises both actors as key players in its two pillars. It calls for strengthened “links with civil society organisations, social partners and LAs, through regular dialogue and use of best practices”, in particular to “support the emergence of a local civil society which can effectively contribute to dialogue with public authorities and to oversee public authorities’ work”, and to “consider ways of mobilising LAs’ expertise, e.g. through networks of excellence or twinning exercises”. It also highlights the value of multi-actor partnerships including public actors, civil society, the private sector and local communities.
EU Urban Agenda, the EaP Municipal Development Flagship and the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2014-2017 include the development and empowerment of local authorities as a priority.
In addition, Agreements on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) have been concluded with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia as part of the Association Agreements (AAs). It is important to increase the visibility and awareness among the business population of the impact and opportunities deriving from the DCFTA. Though information may be available in the capital cities of these nations, it is less accessible in smaller cities, towns and remote areas. One of the purposes of the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) initiative is also to support municipalities in providing services to companies in cooperation with local BSOs to understand and benefit from the requirements and opportunities deriving from the DCFTA.
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