Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG)Client: European Commission | Sectors: Regions and Cities, Economic Growth
Mayors for Economic Growth is an initiative of the European Commission, which started in January 2017 and will last until December 2020.
Ecorys runs the Technical Secretariat of the project and helps support local authorities to design and implement Local Economic Development Plans (LEDPs). In addition, Ecorys helps to strengthen their technical skills and capacities to implement economic strategies in line with the principles of good governance and sound financial management. Activities include raising awareness and building capacity in signatory cities, liaising with stakeholders, creating a network of M4EG Supporters and Coordinators, strengthening the capacities of cities regarding project design and development and access to finance.
The M4EG approach is based on the following considerations:
• The private sector is the key driver of economic growth and development
• All regions, cities and localities have particular strengths that can be harnessed to generate growth and employment
• Public private dialogue and cooperation plus engagement with civil society actors is key to unleashing local economic potential
• Local administrations are uniquely positioned to initiate and implement bottom-up actions to facilitate growth
• To achieve tangible results, these actions will most likely need to address several of the following “building blocks” of issues, comprising the main factors stimulating growth and employment:
1. Regulatory and Institutional Framework
2. Access to Finance
3. Land and Infrastructure
4. Skills and Human Capital, Inclusiveness
5. External Positioning and Marketing
The internal motivation, preparation and adequate capacity of the local public authorities to manage local economic growth are characteristic of every territory with a successful local economy. Inspired by the success of the Covenant of Mayors East initiative, the project builds along the same structure but mainly focuses on:
1. Developing content for the concept of M4EG (including methodology for establishing the baseline, template for LEDPs, indicators, monitoring tools, oversight mechanism, etc.)
2. Supporting the European Commission (EC) and Partner Countries’ (PC) authorities to fine-tune the target definition and process of the M4EG initiative
3. Ensuring buy-in and ownership of all actors to guarantee the maximum sustainability of M4EG in the region by engaging with various stakeholders, such as LA associations, business associations, SMEs, education institutions etc.
4. Establishing synergies with the Covenant of Mayors Com East Initiative and other initiatives
5. Raising the awareness and promoting the signing up to and implementation of the M4EG
6. Assisting the cities in the implementation of their LEDPs, thus leading to sustainable economic growth of the municipalities
In particular, 18 months after its launch the project has resulted, among others, in the following achievements:
• In June 2018, the total number of signatories was 256 across the 6 partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine).
• So far, 124 members have submitted their local economic development plan for evaluation. Once these have been approved, the implementation phase will start.
• The M4EG concept was designed and disseminated in English and the 6 local languages.
• General M4EG principle and approaches have been designed and translated into all of the local languages.
• Launch conferences and dissemination events have taken place in each country. See pictures of the events here.
• Capacity-needs assessment and training in the six signatory countries has been completed.
• A comprehensive development capacity-building programme on local economic development divided into 4 modules has been delivered to 122 participants from the signatory cities.
• A call for proposals “Mayors for Economic Growth Pioneer Projects” has been launched by DG NEAR. The project team has supported the design of the call and assessment of the applications. So far, 16 projects have been awarded and are now in the implementation stage.