Panel: Digitalisation as driver of local socio-economic development

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[Read more session reports and live updates from the 2nd Western Balkan Digital Summit]

Mr Darko Mrvaljevic (Member, Secretariat of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS)) presented the results of the report 'Potential Contributions of SEE Local Governments to the Regional Economic Area’.

The key findings observed in the report are a general lack of local government interests, local economic development, and low representation of direct approaches for local government roles and action settings. Even though 47 designated fields (e.g. digital skills, digital economy, smart technology, cybersecurity, data protection, etc.) were identified in the study, only one of them was assessed as ‘sufficiently covering local concerns’. A total of 25 recommendations were presented (e.g. open data initiatives should be supported by the Regional Co-operation Council).

Mr Boran Ivanoski (Programme Officer, NALAS Secretariat) spoke about the upgrade of skills, i.e., the use of e-tools for evidence-based policy-making at the local level. Ivanoski emphasised that digital skills are important in the age of digitalisation and that they are necessary for the performance of local administrations. The speaker presented three of the e-tools that NALAS has developed in the domain of solid waste management and water management. The tools help local governments and public utility companies input, process and compare relevant data on the most important questions relative to municipal waste management as well as water management.

Ms Danijela Đurović (Vice Mayor, Municipality of Herceg Novi, Montenegro) spoke about the digitalisation of public services in Herceg Novi. Djurovic referred to four services:

  • System 48, an online platform where citizens can report issues with municipal communal services;
  • One stop shop desk where citizens are provided with fast and efficient services (e.g. birth certificates);
  • Tourist eCard used by the tourist organisation in Herceg Novi; and
  • Mobile app that helps individuals find parking spots.

By Natasa Perucica

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