As Serbia progresses down the path to European Union (EU) integration, IMC serves as an important institutional model and vehicle to promote smart, sustainable, and inclusive local development according to EU standards, as well as offer a mechanism for absorption of EU accession, Government of Serbia, and other donor funding.
In the first year, the Sustainable Local Development Project established eight inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) areas comprised of 32 total municipalities mobilized through a sustainable IMC mechanism. The project also identified 47 IMC initiatives to improve local governments’ financial and asset management, involve the public more directly in municipal affairs, support youth entrepreneurship and employment, and foster a more business-friendly environment. The project has also established strong relationships with local partners and identified 15 IMC champions from within its IMC areas to support the continued promotion of IMC concepts.
Designed to respond to the local context and build on the existing legal framework, the project’s approach focuses on sustainability, with particular attention paid to inclusive and participatory planning. The project focuses on three main components: IMC Programming, public administration reform, youth development and participatory mechanisms
With a focus on sustainability, Chemonics is working to ensure that IMC area partner municipalities can continue on their area-based development trajectories without further USAID support. Chemonics is therefore partnering with Regional Development Agencies (RDA), the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development, the National Agency for Regional Development, and Local (Municipal) Economic Development Offices to further institutionalize the IMC mechanism and the implementation of IMC programming, as well as to support the development of RDA technical capacities to the extent that they will be able to deliver the services that they are expected to provide to member municipalities.