Strategic planning and transfer of technical capacity – Oradea Metropolitan Area

STRATEGIC PLANNING | GOVERNANCE

Challenge

Lower administrative and technical capacity at the level of member localities within the Metropolitan Area

Solution

Key actions: elaboration of Local Development Strategies for all the associated communes, elaboration of the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan 2021- 2027, of the Integrated Urban Development Strategy 2021-2027 and of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Action Plan at the level of Oradea Metropolitan Area.

The Oradea Metropolitan Area has been proactive in extending its mandate and effectively supporting member localities in their planning, preparation and implementation efforts, even in the absence of dedicated legislation on metropolitan areas. This was possible through various forms of partnerships and association, with the aim to generate visible impact and support the sustainable development of the area.

The Oradea Metropolitan Area supports member localities in strategic planning and capacity building, while also encouraging the shared use of technical expertise between all localities. An early project was implemented in 2010-2012 through the Operational Program Administrative Capacity, Priority Axis 1. Structural and process improvements in the public policy management cycle, Field of intervention 1.1 Improving the political-administrative decision making. The “Local development strategies in the Oradea Metropolitan Area” project aimed to develop the capacity of public administrations in the metropolitan area to update their local development strategies for 2015-2020. In this framework, the MA offered guidance for the classification and prioritization of local projects for the member communes and also financed the elaboration of the Oradea Metropolitan Area Development Strategy.

For the 2021-2027 programming period, the Oradea Metropolitan Area has undertaken the updating of the Sustainable Development Strategies of all 11 member communes, resulting in a package of strategies, reflecting the unitary approach to metropolitan planning. The updating of the strategic documents has been done by an internal team of the Metropolitan Association and City Hall. Due to the pandemic context, public consultations for each locality were organized online.

The package of Sustainable Development Strategies of the localities in the Metropolitan Area, updated by the MA

Source: Oradea Metropolitan Area

The Integrated Development Strategy of Oradea Municipality and Oradea Metropolitan Area for the period 2021 – 2027 was also financed through EU Funds (Administrative Capacity OP), along with two other strategic documents: the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP). The project lead was the Oradea City Hall, while the metropolitan association ensured the communication, cooperation and data-exchange channels with the localities in the MA.

A key aspect to underline is that through the savings acquired following the public tenders for the EU project, the remaining funding was allocated to the elaboration of two other strategic documents: the Territorial Development Plan of the Oradea Metropolitan Area and a District Heating Strategy (including the largest commune in the Metropolitan Area – Sanmartin, with a high connection level).

The project also included a series of interventions for the simplification of the administrative procedures, digitalization and reduction of bureaucratic burden, such as the purchasing of scanners and storage units for the informatic system of the Oradea City Hall, in order to help to issue town planning certificates and other documents online (such as building permits, permits to connect to public utilities network), create a digitized archive at the municipal level and correlate data within the GIS spatial data system (project name: “Actions for Simplification of Administrative Procedures and Strategic Planning for the citizens of Oradea Municipality and Metropolitan Area”).

Besides strategic planning support, the MA entity also provides technical support in preparation and implementation to member localities. The Metropolitan Area is involved in elaborating and implementing projects for the 11 localities near Oradea, consisting of the following key activities:

  • mapping of key needs and challenges at the level of the communes together with the local administrations
  • identification and analysis of non-reimbursable funding
  • technical support for preparing the project and the necessary documentation (including feasibility studies, technical projects)
  • elaborating and submitting of financing application forms
  • support in implementation, including the organization of public procurements (eg. for road construction), obtaining the construction authorization, monitoring of the implementation process, reception of works.

As a result, member localities benefit from free consultancy in writing projects, preparing funding applications and implementing projects. The support covers the entire cycle of the investments, in a comparable manner to a private consultancy firm. The MA has also encouraged member localities to apply for European funding with ongoing and initiated projects rather than entirely new investment proposals, which has largely improved the success of the applications.

The collaboration mechanism consists of partnership agreements between member localities and the Metropolitan IDA.Through these, member localities may delegate responsibilities to the association, with higher capacity and expertise. Moreover, according to the Statute of the IDA, the Oradea MA members have an expertise sharing protocol, in terms of which, any specialized capacity owned by one locality may be accessed by other members.

What is important to mention is that this technical support has become a common practice within the IDA and does not always require a formal or legislative framework to function in. The active involvement to offer support derives from a common understanding that the development of Oradea is intrinsically linked with the development of its metropolitan area, and viceversa. All the formal documents are signed by the local administrations benefitting from this consultancy, and not the Oradea Metropolitan Area as a separate legal entity.

The same cooperation model is applied within the City Hall of Oradea: when expertise is required by one of the public companies for elaborating funding applications, the dedicated department within the City Hall for accessing international financing can provide support with all activities involved, but the final applicant will remain the company itself.

The complete package of sustainable development strategies of the metropolitan localities is available here: https://zmo.ro/strategie 

IUDS Oradea and MA 2021-2027: https://zmo.ro/download/Strategia%20de%20Dezvoltare%20Oradea%202015.pdf 

SUMP: https://zmo.ro/download/PMUD.pdf 

SECAP: https://zmo.ro/download/PAED%20al%20Municipiului%20Oradea.pdf

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