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Local Governments of South East Europe

Special edition of NALAS Digest: Local Response to COVID-19
14 April 2020

Dear reader,

During these unprecedented times, we hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

As our daily lives change drastically and in line with our commitment to join the global efforts on fighting this pandemic, NALAS creates a special edition of its traditional Digest, devoted to local response to COVID-19.

The Digest aims to serve as an exchange platform for good practices of local governments in South East Europe and their Associations in combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

We hope that the Digest will encourage and inspire local governments in their immense efforts to protect the health and security of the citizens of South-East Europe and ensure long-term well-being.  

Keep safe and contact us for any ideas that you might have.
 

Enjoy your Digest!
 



 

 Association of Kosovo Municipalities


AKM IT Collegium discussed their role in the community in this pandemic situation
The AKM Collegium of Information Technology Officials (IT) are working with additional commitments in order to help the institutions in which they are operating as well as enabling uninterrupted services for the citizens. The IT Collegium has also been active in drafting the Guide to Using the Zoom Platform for Remote Communication, and this guidance has been forwarded to the Municipal Directorates of Education to help implement distance learning for schools across municipalities.

Education Collegium confirms that online learning for High schools and Professional schools is developed according to teaching guidelines.

Following the decision of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MEST) to start implementing online teaching in all educational institutions of the Republic of Kosovo, the online learning process is taking place in all municipalities of Kosovo. In accordance with this decision, MEST has decided to include high schools of vocational higher education and Competence Centres.

The implementation of online learning aims to provide educational services and the realization of the state curriculum of Kosovo in accordance with the conditions created in the circumstances of pandemic COVID- 19.

 
AKM Inspection Collegium coordinates and exchanges experiences in coping with the situation created by the Covid-19 
Municipal inspectors are constantly on the ground and in direct contact with all businesses, to implement measures to prevent the spread of pandemics and at the same time these inspectors are engaged in the implementation of orders by the relevant Minister. These commitments have affected all inspectors in municipalities to work overtime and with difficulty municipalities manage to cover all current requirements because not all municipalities have a sufficient number of inspectors.

However, given the situation created, all municipal inspectors are working overtime in order to implement all government decisions regarding the operation of businesses, preventive sanitary measures and the implementation of the rules of schedules and the way businesses operate in municipalities. The Collegium of Inspectors on daily basis communicates and exchanges their experiences in fulfilling these tasks in the respective municipalities.

The Collegium will also coordinate activities with the central level for daily reporting of the activities of the institutions for the control of Covid -19.
 
Coordination between the Ministry of Health and the Municipalities continues in determining the schedule of movement for citizens
Following the decision of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo, where the Ministry of Health is authorized to consult the municipalities of Kosovo to decide in the future on the movement of citizens in order to prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 disease, today the Minister of Health, Mr. Arben Vitia, received in a meeting Mr. Sazan Ibrahimi - Executive Director of the AKM.

In this meeting, they discussed the harmonization of positions between the Municipalities of Kosovo and the Ministry of Health, in particular on the measures after April 12 which will be in function of the implementation of the provisions of the Law on Fighting and Prevention of Contagious Diseases.

It is worth mentioning that today the Government has given the main role to the Ministry of Health in consultation with the Municipalities to determine the schedule of movement or prohibition of vehicles and citizens, and to make exceptions to the schedule of restrictions set out in the Decision of the Government of Kosovo no. 02/17 dated 27 March 2020.


         

Association of Albanian Municipalities


Webinars on Mediterranean lifestyle’ benefits during the pandemic situation
Mediterranean Diet – Where Brand meets people is an Interreg MED funded project, implemented by a consortium including the Association of Albanian Municipalities.  It focuses on promoting values of food and physical activities cultivated in Mediterranean countries and the benefits on human health and nature preservation.

With the objective to disseminate MD.net and give support to professionals, companies and the public during this exceptional period, the project has undertaken the initiative to organize a series of webinars, aiming at bringing closer professors and doctors to the public.  The first Webinar was organized on 3 April, with the participation of Dr. Ramón Estruch, Scientific President of the Mediterranean Foundation about "How to maintain a healthy lifestyle in confined situation" through a live presentation followed by Q&A.

The second webinar will take place on Tuesday, 14  April at 16:00 (Rome time).  This webinar will be performed by Mr. Filipe Themudo Barata, Full Professor of the University of Évora (Portugal) and Chair Holder of the UNESCO Chair on Intangible Heritage and traditional know-how. He has papers, publications, conferences, and he has supervised several theses regarding the same issue: Mediterranean history and heritage.

On this webinar, Mr. Themudo will be based on 1987 Brundtland report "Our common future". In recent years we allowed the destruction of our landscapes, never minding on climate change, erosion of our fields or sustainable development. The Mediterranean Diet could be an example of a tool to create a sustainable economy also based on our common heritage and culture, reinforcing social cohesion and putting into value our differences.

The event is already published in MD.net website  AAM is working on the 3rd webinar focusing on the physical activities, for which AAM has the support of their Croatians partners of the project.




Union of Municipalities of Montenegro

 

Measures to support local economy developed by municipalities and UoM
In consultation with municipalities, UoM has developed a proposal of measures to support the economy in dealing with the impact of coronavirus pandemic, taking into account the needs of LGUs for basic functioning.
In communication with the mayors, a unique position was expressed that municipalities in this situation should carry some of the burden and help the economic recovery. Based on proposals from municipalities for mitigation of the negative consequences, it is necessary to act in three directions, namely:

  • within the municipalities through policy review and definition of priorities according to the new situation, with the maximum cost rationalization and earmarking of available resources to remedy the effects of the epidemic on the economy and the social situation;
  • support to the affected businesses and entrepreneurs through exemption from payment of certain fees and rents for a period of 3 months and postponement of payment of tax liabilities for the same period;
  • State, bank and IDF support to municipalities and municipal utilities services to ensure liquidity and their functioning in the duration of the crisis.

This proposal is submitted to the Working Group which is preparing the Proposal of Package of Measures that will be submitted to the Government for further communication and approval.


"We plant for our own good, to be fed by our land!"
In order to mitigate the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the Municipality of Mojkovac has created a new measure within the Program of Incentive Measures for Agricultural Development in the Municipality of Mojkovac for 2020.

"We plant for our own good, to be fed by our land" is the name of a measure that involves a grant for procurement of planting material under the simplest possible procedure, while respecting the restrictions currently in place due to the measures adopted by the National Infectious Disease Coordination Body.
The grant can be used for:

  • supply of planting material for agricultural crops - onions, potatoes, cabbage, beans, beet, carrots and peas,
  • supply of greenhouses for the production of vegetables indoors with drip systems, and
  • procurement of planting material for existing greenhouses with a minimum surface area of 50 m2.

Link with details.  


The first on-line regional festival for children theater - PIR FEST
Podgorica City Theater presents the First On-line Regional Festival of Children’s Theater - PIR FEST from 8 to 16 April 2020. During the festival, the youngest audience will have the opportunity to watch 9 regional theaters on the YouTube channel of the Podgorica City Theater, starting at 5pm.

The Podgorica City Theater has initiated, and most of the regional children's theaters accepted, a new action that allows children to attend theater performances during isolation. The festival is of a competitive character, the performances will be valued by the votes of the audience, the so-called likes. Podgorica City Theater participates with "The Wizard of Oz";  Bosko Buha Theater from Belgrade with “The Little Mermaid; Rijeka City Puppet Theater with "Adventures of Little Juju"; Novi Sad Youth Theater will show "Beauty and the Beast"; Sarajevo Youth Theater "Kekec"; Subotica Children's Theater "A pair of shoes"; Little Theater "Dusko Radovic" from Belgrade "Scary Stories of the Grimm Brothers"; Pinokio Theater "The Jungle Book"; and Kotor Children's Theater Festival with the project "Care for Children: How Big People Grow”.

Link.

 
Tivat volunteers provided support to over 250 users
In 20 days, the Tivat Municipality Volunteer Team has assisted and facilitated the day-to-day functioning of more than 250 users across the city. More than 300 calls were received in the same period.

The Municipality of Tivat formed the first volunteer team as well as the Call Center to support at-risk population groups on March 20. The volunteer team consists of local government employees and members of the Tivat Red Cross municipal organization.

"The action is aimed at keeping the people at high risk of coronavirus in their homes and getting food in an efficient and fast way," said the team coordinator Dubravka Koparan.
Persons over the age of 65, chronic patients, impaired persons, pregnant women, and other at-risk categories are entitled to food delivery through the Call Center service.
The call center is available 24 hours while volunteers are on the ground daily from 9am to 7pm.

According to Ms. Koparan, the Call Center receives various calls, from service calls to requests for humanitarian assistance, calls for services of purchase and delivery of groceries and medicines, payment of bills, etc. as well as calls for psychosocial support.

 

 

Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities



Women from municipal associations sewed 3000 cotton masks
Members of the women's associations of the Municipality of Kovin sew cotton masks to help their citizens protect themselves against the virus. The municipal headquarters provided and distributed all the necessary material. The masks have so far been delivered to health care workers, police officers and Red Cross volunteers. In gratitude, the President of the Municipality visited them today to personally acknowledge their efforts.

In their spare time, municipal women's associations shifted to making cotton masks in home workshops. Senior citizens have sewn 3,000 masks so far, and another 5,000 are planned. Marija Stanković of the "Worthy Hands of Kovin" Women Association turned her kitchen space into a tailoring workshop. She has made about 500 masks so far. "I found myself in this business. I do not waste time, I sew 100 masks daily, and it is not difficult for me to know that they are helpful to our fellow citizens" said Stanković.

Mirjana Drenča, president of the "Worthy Hands of Kovin", is very proud of her members. "Even in these years, nothing is difficult for us, because this is a struggle of all our citizens. To save even one person’s life will be our greatest success” Drenča says, urging citizens to listen to the President of Serbia and to follow the prescribed measures.

The President of the Provisional Body of the Municipality of Kovin, Sanja Petrović visited them today. “Today, together with the Kovin Tourist Organisation director, Divna Kirilov, I visited almost all women from the associations of women from the territory of the Municipality of Kovin to thank them for their hard work and humanity that they show through this wonderful action. I am especially pleased that they are joyful while sewing masks because they believe that they are helping to keep our population as healthy as possible. They are safe in their homes, but at the same time, they appeal to everyone else, to whom we will share masks, to stay at home, and if they go out to wear masks, which they have lovingly sewn. I thank them for a large number of masks they sew daily, for the hours they spend on the sewing machine, and we are there for them, for everything they need" said Sanja Petrović.

Basketball player Mirsad Jahovic donated equipment for the COVID-19 hospital
The celebrated basketball player from Novi Pazar, Mirsad Jahović, responded to a call from the City Administration, donating enormous help to equip Covid-19 Hospital at the "Two Heroes" medical school in Novi Pazar. Mirsad Jahović donated:

  • 300 sheets
  • 300 pillows
  • 300 blankets
  • 2,000 disinfectants
  • 2,000 soaps
  • 1,000 masks

 Jahović spent most of his career in Turkey, for which he played. He also played in the NBA.


 
Association of Municipalities and Towns of Republic of Srpska



The City of Banja Luka introduces new set of economic measures
The City of Banja Luka has prepared a package of measures that will, first and foremost, help the business community and partly the citizens overcome the economic consequences of the epidemiological crisis caused by the corona virus.

The package of measures was discussed at an extraordinary session on Friday, 10 April.

A total of 13 decisions have been prepared, and according to one of them, subsidies are foreseen for the communal tax or for occupying public areas. The communal tax subsidy program or the occupation of public lands for business entities envisages that all businesses and entrepreneurs who are restricted or banned from work or affected by the crisis may receive full or half subsidy, depending on whether work was restricted or prohibited. This primarily refers to the hospitality industry, partly to newspaper stands and other small businesses - explained Igor Radojicic, the mayor of Banja Luka.

A set of decisions related to agriculture has also been introduced with the aim of increasing the number of areas sown and encourage local agricultural production. Thus, the program of allocation of funds for agriculture and rural development, which is planned for this year in the amount of one million KM, is focused primarily on agricultural production and sowing - said Radojičić. Through a guarantee fund for subsidizing the amount of regular interest, the goal is to help companies or entrepreneurs.

If they have to raise a loan with a commercial bank, then the City will subsidize the interest of that loan in the amount of up to 3.5 percent for up to three years for loans up to 50,000 KM. The amount of interest subsidy would be one hundred percent - said Radojicic, adding that he had available 500,000 KM for these purposes, which would subsidize loans of around KM 10 million, according to the above criteria. Also, the City plans to help all those who have special lease agreements of the city space (various associations and clubs) by exempting them from paying for three months.

Following the session of the Assembly Collegium, Zoran Talic, President of the Banja Luka City Assembly, said that an extraordinary session was held solely with the aim of alleviating the economic impact caused by the emergence of the coronary virus. He noted that the session is of the utmost importance because for all the established measures to be legally enforceable, certain acts must be adopted at the City Assembly.

The preservation of our economy, that is, jobs, in addition to preserving the health of our fellow citizens, is a priority and there is no dilemma and I hope we will have unity of all parties on this important issue, because assistance to the economy is something that should be a common goal and priority for everyone in order to overcome this difficult situation - said Talic.



Association of Cities in the Republic of Croatia


A lot of economy measures from Croatian cities
In the recent days, Croatian cities have been trying to ease the situation and help their entrepreneurs most affected by the crisis. In this way, the vulnerable entrepreneurs are exempted from paying utility bills and rental fees, taxes on the use of public spaces, waste removal; some have decided to pay employers direct support for each employee, and some of them set up special funds to help entrepreneurs and craftsmen.

Unlike the Government that still has not announced absolutely any austerity measures and cutting expenditures in order to provide as much funds as possible to help the economy, in recent days Croatia has witnessed a chain reaction in which city after city announces and cuts all unnecessary costs, manifestations , projects, and part of them , their own salaries.

More about the concrete measures (in Croatian) by cities can be found on the following link. 



Association of Municipalities and Cities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Old Town Municipality – Sarajevo animates elementary school students to paint and write rhymes and awards their work on the topic #stayathome
To help students who are not allowed to leave their homes to get through this difficult period of isolation, Old Town Municipality Mayor, Ibrahim Hadzibajric launched a competition for students from grade I to IX.

Students are invited to paint works of art and write rhymes on the topic #stay-at-home and submit them to their schools. They are expected to convey their emotions and everything they experience as a result of the situation across the country and the spread of the COVID 19 virus: fears, doubts, worries or carelessness, loneliness and lack of friends, worries, joys ... on paper through pictures and songs.

All elementary school students from the Old Town from grades I through IX can take pictures, while students from grades V through IX can participate in song writing. Songs should have up to three stanzas.

Students should submit their works to the schools they attend, electronically, and the schools are required to select the three works of art and the three best songs and submit them to the competent municipal Education, Culture and Sports Service that will conduct the competition.

Out of the submitted papers, the competent committee will select the best 12 works (six fine arts and six literary works) to be voted on through the municipal FB page. The students whose works will have the most likes will receive a cash prize of 50 KM. This competition is open until April 15.

Orašje Municipality suspended parking charges
The municipal civil protection headquarters has suspended the payment for parking services in the municipality of Orasje as well as the control of parking charges due to the situation with the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

 Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia

SOS webinars for employees of municipalities
The Association of Towns and Municipalities of Slovenia (Slovene: Skupnost občin Slovenije – SOS) has in cooperation with Lex Localis – Institute for Local Self-Government Maribor, 4PDIH digital innovation hub and National Assembly organized two webinars for employed people at municipalities.

The first webinar “Organization of online seminars«” was held on 30th of March. The webinar content involved a legal basis for convening online sessions and presentation of the tool for conducting these sessions (Zoom). The live broadcast was seen by 78 participants who rated the webinar content and support with the highest overall score. Presentation and short guidelines on how to use Zoom are available here.

Due to the high inquiry, a second webinar “Discussion with a legal expert on open questions about the Ordinance on prohibition of movement and public gathering”was organized on 1st of April. In the frame of webinar Dr. Boštjan Brezovnik answered more than 45 dilemmas questions related to Ordinance on temporary general prohibition of movement and public gathering in public places and areas and prohibition of movement outside the municipality of permanent or temporary residence. Live broadcast was seen by 42 participants. Webinar clip is available here.

In less than 2 weeks both webinar clips were seen more than 1300 times. Based on the very positive feedback from representatives and employees of municipalites, SOS will continue with good practices since the webinar tool has proven to be very effective due to the quickly and professional responses to municipalities and their raised questions in given extraordinary circumstances (the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic).
 
 

 

Association of Communes of Romania


Anti Covid-19 measures in Lipănești commune, Prahova County
Lipăneşti City Hall bought protective masks and will distribute them to the inhabitants of the four villages it has rounded. The protection package contains two masks and two forms for self-statements, plus two addresses with recommendations. The distribution to the population is made by city officials and volunteers.

“We purchased 4.000 protective masks - which came two in the package and we will distribute them. We in the city hall will also impose a set of rules that the population must follow to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, and the three parish priests will add an address that teaches the population how to do at home the rituals for Easter", said the Mayor of Lipănești, Mr. Robert Nica.

At the same time, the Mayor revealed that the priests will bring the Holy Light after officiating the Easter service to the 25 troikas in the commune, and the citizens, who will not be able to attend the service, because of military ordinances, will be able to come on Sunday morning to take light directly from these troikas.
 

Measures Covid 19 - Luncavița Community Medical-Social Center
The Community Medical-Social Center Luncavița, inaugurated on 10 October 2018, crowns the immense work of a team that laid the foundation of a prototype system of integrated functioning of medical and social services.

Thus, Luncavița commune, Tulcea County operates a System whereby the elderly, children at risk, persons with disabilities or those who are not medically insured, single parents, all those in difficulty, receive integrated services from Community medical assistants, Social assistants, Elderly caregivers at home, the staff of the Mayor's specialized apparatus, the representatives of the school and the Church, in order to prevent marginalization and social exclusion, with the purpose of improving the health and quality of life.
In the context of the Covid 19 epidemic, the Social Medical Center and the Luncavița Medical Permanence Center recommend wearing protective masks, especially in public spaces.

The City Hall will provide to the centers, the local voluntary service for emergency situations and to the local police protective masks, which will be distributed first to the vulnerable persons, to the representatives of public institutions and to the citizens in need, within the limits of the available stocks.



Marmara Municipalities Union

 
Liberating minds within confined spaces
The outbreak of Covid-19 and the consequent psychical distancing measures taken to contain the virus have been negatively affecting the psychology of people throughout Turkey. For those who have been already staying at home for weeks, it becomes harder to continue living in a limited space as such. Municipalities in Turkey, being determined to keep people at home, have come up with several solutions to help people to deal with the current situation in confinement. Of such solutions, we see that several municipalities organizing cultural activities.

Ankara Metropolitan Municipality have started to exhibit a total of 127 paintings of around 50 artists on its website. The access to this virtual exhibition is free of charge and open to anyone who would like to visit. (To reach the exhibition, please click on https://www.ankara.bel.tr/etkinlikler/ankara-kadin-ressamlar-dernegi-sanal-sergisi)

Several municipalities such as Sancaktepe and Maltepe Municipalities have broadcasted their cultural activities such as theater performances or music concerts on their social media accounts including You Tube. A different project comes from Sakarya Metropolitan Municipality which has set out with the motto “Stay Home, Stay with Books” and distributed books to its residents. Within the project, around 3 thousand books have been delivered to the new owners to date. Tuzla Municipality has organized several competitions such as “A Scene from Home” photography contest and “Stay Home, Play for Turkey” music contest, bringing excitement and joy to houses.
 
Special attention to the children’s needs
The coronavirus crisis creates a challenge for many people, and children are no exception. Since the arrival of the virus in Turkey, several regulations confining children’s lives have been enacted as a precaution to avoid spread of the virus by the government.

With the last such regulation dating back to 3 April 2020, a special curfew for those aged 20 and below was put into place. That means children are required to spend their whole day at home, which may not be very easy or even acceptable for the young generations. In order to help children to enjoy their times at home and keep them engaged, the municipal authorities in Turkey have adopted certain practices.

Maltepe Municipality, for example, has launched “Fairytale Time” broadcast on the YouTube channel of the Mayor Ali Kılıç. Upon the same channel, a child movie titled “The Talpidaes: Hounted Forest” has been shown. Beşiktaş Municipality likewise broadcasts programmes for children on the municipality’s YouTube channel. Sarıyer Municipality has been carrying its activities organized within the framework of “Sarıyer 95 Project” to the online platform. It continues to provide voluntary consultancy services with the parents to inform them how to reorganize physical spaces at home in a way that allows little children to play in there; and share photos coming from those parents on the project’s Instagram page titled “sariyer95_projesi”. Beyoğlu Municipality, on the other hand, will organize a series of online contests with a motto of “Stay Away from Outside, Not from Competition”. These contests will be on the field of poetry, painting, and design.

Apart from these activities, several mayors gave special attention to children. Mehmet Murat Çalık, the Mayor of Beylikdüzü Municipality, made a video chat with the autistic children and ensured them that their education at the Beylikdüzü Municipality Unimpeded Life Center will continue when the corona crisis will end.
 
Municipalities challenge with the new precious- the masks
The last week has witnessed Turkey’s municipalities great effort to equip its residents with the masks in order to prevent wider spread of Covid-19. Some metropolitan municipalities such as Kocaeli, Bursa and Tekirdağ as well as district municipalities like Beyoğlu and Büyükçekmece in Istanbul have started to produce their own masks in order to avoid possible shortage on the item. Several other municipalities such as Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Edirne, Bilecik, Yalova, Kepez and Kartal Municipalities distribute free masks to the residents.

Along with these activities, municipalities also informed people on how to put on a mask in order to avoid its misuse which may have even more negative consequences than not wearing on it. Bagcılar Municipality shared an information note on the use of masks on its website. In order to protect public health, Kırklareli and Edirne Municipalities published a banner in which it urges people to throw the used masks and gloves into closed bins.




Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova



Local Governments are supporting the health care system and vulnerable citizens
It is a very difficult time for the local administrations, that, in parallel with the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, must also handle the economic and social crises. Here are 3 interviews with mayors from Moldova illustrating the engagement of local governments in overcoming the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Alexandru Bujorean, Mayor of Leova town: „I am afraid that we will get to the situation where the number of beds in hospitals will not be the problem, but the number of doctors”

The number of healthcare professionals infected with Covid-19 reached 27% of the total number of those infected in Moldova.
Alexandru Bujorean: „Every mayor, every local elected, is aware of the dramatic situation in which we are now as well as the whole world, and implicitly, our medical system. That is why we decided not to blame the right or the left, the upper or the lower ones and to act with our own forces. For example, in the city of Leova and in the district of Leova, in general, we try to support the medical staff, the employees of the rayon hospital, the public health center, the emergency medicine, from the hospitalization department although our resources are very limited. We launched a fundraising campaign, collected some resources, including from local businesses, diaspora and local citizens and came up with support.

We managed to buy masks, protective equipment, disinfectants and a good part of them  will go to the medical institutions, but in addition, starting of today, we will deliver food to over 70 socially vulnerable families in Leova, because we have people isolated at home without minimal resources, without close relatives and we think first of all about how they will bear the consequences of this pandemic.

The Central Government must take care these days, first and foremost, of the doctors, to address maximum support to the health care system, because, if the health care system ceases, all other institutions in the state are worthless. We, as a local, administration, are somehow in the front line, but we do not contact patients daily. We have thousands of citizens coming back to Moldova from abroad. I personally know people who have medical education and have returned home from migration, these people have to pass a certain specialization for a few weeks, be seriously motivated, because they return home and do not have a job, but they can be engaged in the fight against this epidemic, because I'm afraid we will get to the situation where the number of beds in hospitals will not be the problem, but the number of doctors.”

Mayor of Sângera municipality Valeriu Popa: "Citizens can only help us if they stay at home"
Six people from Sangera municipality are infected with the new coronavirus. After confirming the second case to a medical assistant, the local Health Center was closed and the 24 employees of the institution are quarantined. The Health Center of Revaca (a locality that is part of the municipality of Sanguera) was also closed, after four employees were forced to be isolated at home. The mayor of Sanguera Valeriu Popa says that the phone numbers of family doctors who are quarantined have been made public so that citizens can receive consultations by telephone.

Valeriu Popa said that the mayor's office purchased masks and other necessary protective equipment. "I also talked with other mayors and I understand that everyone has the same problem, masks are very difficult to find, especially the most qualitative ones. Now we have over a thousand pairs of gloves, about 700-800 masks, but also disinfectant. Our stocks will be enough for about 10 days and I do not know where to get other equipment of this kind." The mayor confirmed that although all the Health Centers in the Republic of Moldova are financed directly from the state budget, "if the medical staff tells us that they do not have masks, for example, we will help them for sure".

During this pandemic period local councilors cannot meet; the Exceptional Situations Commission is the one that can make certain decisions. "We met within this Commission and allocated a certain amount of money from the Reserve Fund for the needs that arise."

In addition to the money from the local budget, a fundraising campaign was launched in Sangera to combat the spread of the infection. So far, about 16,000 lei have been accumulated. This money will be redirected to purchase equipment for medical staff but also food for socially vulnerable families. "Many people were left without any income during this period and we want to make sure we can help them. We have already started the campaign "Be a volunteer", involving about 20 people. We asked those who need help to contact us. We also appealed to the citizens to check their neighbors which are old and left alone, if they need food or other support. Thus, within 3 days we reached 30-35 people."

During this period, the town hall of Sangera disinfects the most crowded public places. All playgrounds were isolated. The town hall has created video spots that urge people to stay home. "We inform citizens daily about the current situation in Sangera, we urge them to respect the decisions of local and central institutions. As we want them to understand that citizens can only help us if they stay at home."

Constantin Cojocaru, Mayor of Edinet municipality: We must come together – the central government, the local one, and the opposition - to get out of this pandemic with as few victims as possible.
“From the very beginning of this pandemic we started with the public disinfection of the streets, the sidewalks, etc. This was done by the municipal enterprise, the communal household, and the "Apa-Canal" enterprise made the disinfection of all 207 public stairs, on all floors. Now we are going for a second round of disinfecting. For doctors we have set up the reserve fund of the town hall, we have purchased 400 disposable suits for doctors, we try to secure family doctors in the ways we can, even if the health care is not in our subordination, but in emergency situations, we are allowed to use the reserve fund specifically for such purposes. We have procured more than 500 and protective clothes for all the workers we have in our institutions, of the town hall, including those from "Apa-Canal" and from the communal household."

In this difficult time, we are taking care of those vulnerable. So, I personally take care of a single mother that is pregnant and some elderly families, I personally go to them, I take them products. At the city level we divided the city into 23 sectors, according to the number of local councillors, and each counselor is responsible for his sector. Each councillor looks after his sector, knows all the vulnerable citizens, families that need support and are responsible to organize support for those in need. Plus we mobilized the associative sector, now eight public associations were involved, each volunteering in certain sectors, plus we made an address to the economic agents, those who already have their pensioners, who have completed their activity at their institutions, at schools, at all kinds of businesses, so that each director takes care of their retirees and on this way we try to help them where possible. It seems to me that the situation is under control. I am one of those who are a bit critical of the Central Government, but I see that in this situation we do not have time for mutual criticisms, but we need to come together- the central government, the local one, and the opposition - to make our contribution to getting out of this pandemic with as few victims as possible.
 
 
 National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria
 
Municipal markets renew their activities
After an Order of the Ministry of Health, farmers’ and cooperative markets can start working again under stricter measures and enhanced sanitary control. Sever municipalities have taken the necessary measures and the markets are once again operational.

Pazardzik municipality: three sectors of the city market have been isolated and restriction tape has been used to organize the movement in one direction only, thus preventing the possibility of mass gatherings of persons. The municipal employees are at the place to monitor and control the access to the market and to ensure that the food products are safeguarded from secondary contamination. The organization of the market stalls is also being controlled, regulations for frequent disinfection by the traders, as well as wearing protective masks and gloves is obligatory.

Blagoevgrad municipality: the open area and covered markets will renew their functions under special rules and organization. Traders are obliged to safeguard the food they offer from secondary contamination, to use masks and gloves and also to offer the clients gloves when choosing from their goods. All visitors (traders and customers) are obliged to wear protective face masks. Elderly people over 60 are allowed to visit the markets only in the period from 7.30 till 9.30 am. It is not allowed that two persons are gathered at one place at a given time and distance of 2 meters should be observed.

Vidin municipality: municipal market that was closed on 19 March starts working again – the management of the market have to ensure one-way movement of customers, controlled access and distance between traders of at least 2 meters. All traders will wear protective face masks and gloves. The measures envisage daily disinfection of all areas at the market.

Lovech municipality: Special regime for cooperative and farmers’ markets in the town and working time from 7.00 till 14.00 only on Wednesday. This was the compromise decision in order to ensure citizens health and at the same time the possibility for agricultural producers to continue their business. The anti-epidemic measures taken include a one direction corridors for customers, 2 meters distance between each other and between customers and traders, wearing of protective face masks and gloves. Control and monitoring of the observance of the measure will be guaranteed by the municipal team.

Kubrat municipality: new covered market open doors under strict rules. The Municipal Council approved a decision to allow all fruit, vegetable and other agricultural producers to sell their production only on the new covered market in the town under strict sanitary conditions. The market starts at 8.00 and citizens younger than 60 years cannot visit the market from 8.30 till 10.30 am, when the elderly are given the opportunity to buy their products safely. No weekend markets will be organized in the settlements in the municipality.

Support for families and citizens in need
A number of Bulgarian municipalities such as Gabrovo, Burgas, Devnya, Hisarya, Dimitrovgrad, have organized campaigns for raising money for purchasing food packages or in-kind donation for people with low income, elderly, lonely living or disabled citizens.

Dimitrovgrad municipality: 568 households will receive 16 kilos' packages containing flour, rice, cans and other essential products, delivered by municipality teams. The packages are ensured by Bulgarian Red Cross. In additional the regular programme of Home social patronage and Warm lunch are continuing and numbers of admitted users is increased to cover those most affected by the crisis.

Hisarya municipality: the municipality is gathering donations of basic food packages (flour, oil, sugar, rice, beans, and cans). The quantities will be distributed to needy citizens.
Devnya municipality: local authorities and business companies organized a large-scale campaign to support families, severely affected by the crisis. Mayor Svilen Shitov, deputy mayor and secretary of the municipality are donating their monthly payments for the campaign. Municipal councillors have announced they will do the same and join the initiative. Local business companies Agropolihim, Devnya Cement, Solvey Sodi, and others will contribute with financial means to the campaign. The idea of the municipal administration is to purchase food supplies with the money raised and distribute them to the families.

Gabrovo municipality: Gabrovo Municipal Council created a fund for supporting families that are in difficulty. All municipal councillors will contribute with personal financial means. Support will be mainly to families with children that go to school or younger, that are not supported by the institutions. The support will be in the form of food products.

Burgas municipality: Packages of most needed essential products at the amount of 60, 100 and 130 BGN, taking into account the number of people of the given household will be distributed to those in need. Funds are ensured by the municipal social fund for fighting COVID-19. 


Ongoing Activities
  • NALAS e-Academy: Introduction to Gender Mainstreaming at Local Level
  • NALAS e-Academy: Disaster Risk Management 
  • NALAS e-Academy: Introduction to Asset Management in the Water Sector

Upcoming Events
  • 11 May 2020, NALAS e-Academy: Introduction to Gender Mainstreaming at Local Level

 

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The NALAS Digest is a joint effort by the NALAS Knowledge and Communications Manager and the National Knowledge Management Assistants to bring you the current news from each association of local authorities from South East Europe. It provides a rare opportunity to learn about the current trends, efforts, developments and concerns in this Region. To learn more about NALAS, or to send us your feedback, please click on the link below.

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NALAS Network brings together 14 Associations of local authorities in South East Europe, which represent roughly 9000 local authorities, directly elected by more than 80 million citizens of this region.
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NALAS has published the 2019 report on "Benchmarking on Solid Waste Management in South-East Europe". 

The report is a joint effort of the NALAS Task Force on Solid Waste and Water Management. It provides a comparative picture of the state of waste management sector both at the national and local level in countries of South-East Europe.


To download the Report, please click here.

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