Over the past month, more than 50 potential evaluators have undergone training for professional development in order to be involved in the process of evaluating the extent to which local governments meet the criteria for obtaining a certificate of business friendly environment (BFC SEE).
Cities and municipalities from eight economies of the Western Balkans entered the certification process according to the latest IV edition of the BFC SEE program with the aim of showing that they offer services tailored to the needs of businesses.
Two-day trainings were organized in Skopje, Pristina, Tirana, Podgorica, Belgrade, Mostar, Rijeka and Banja Luka, with the help of the Technical Secretariats. REDAH, the Chamber of Commerce of the Republika Srpska, the Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro, CLER, ALAA, ZELS and Riinvest, in cooperation with NALED, organized a comprehensive training program for potential auditors, and the facilitators of these trainings were long-term experts in the field of local economic development with experience in work within the BFC SEE process, Dijana Spalević and Jovica Damnjanović.
Together with the training participants, they went through the role and tasks of evaluators, the implementation of the certification process according to the latest methodology, as well as through all 10 certification criteria, i.e. how BFC SEE evaluators adequately assess and evaluate the fulfillment of criteria and sub-criteria by cities and municipalities. At the end of the two-day training, potential evaluators will be tested, after which they would acquire the license of an authorized auditor.
Also, trainings were held in Tirana and Pristina for representatives of interested local governments in order to find out what will be expected of them when the certification process begins.
Cities and municipalities that enter the race to obtain the BFC SEE certificate this year will face the latest, improved set of criteria, which they need to fulfill in order to acquire the status of a business friendly local government. In that process, they will be supervised, controlled and checked by an independent expert committee, the main and supporting evaluators who evaluate the degree of success in the fields of development of strategic documents, spatial plans, organizational capacities, collection of local levies, support for entrepreneurship and the like.
In the 10 years of the BFC SEE Program's existence, more than 100 cities and municipalities have gone through the certification process. In order for the Program itself to keep up with the demands of modern society and modern forms of business, BFC SEE has improved its methodology, standards and criteria on several occasions over the past decade.
This year, the last, IV edition of the BFC SEE standard was approved. With the latest edition, there have been significant improvements to the content, development models and innovations that the Program offers to local governments. Novelties are particularly seen in the field of digitization of municipal services, environmental protection and circular economy.
BFC SEE encourages cities and municipalities to have as efficient a building permit system as possible, to have information about the investment opportunities they offer, to be as transparent as possible regarding the costs of doing business. The local governments that participated in the Program often point out the greater networking and regional connection of BFC municipalities, recognition and promotion, as well as the possibility of participation in regional initiatives and projects, as the most significant benefits.
Paraćin joined the league of champions of local development last month, which makes it the 12th municipality in Serbia that has this certificate. A public invitation to cities and municipalities to participate in the new round of certification was recently published, and all those interested can contact their technical secretariats. When it comes to Serbia, local governments can apply through NALED. The program is supported by the GIZ Open Regional Fund for the Modernization of Municipal Services (GIZ ORF MMS).
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