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Within the project “INTER-MUNICIPAL COOPERATION IN MONTENEGRO; promoting inter-municipal initiatives between the Municipalities of Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat in the sub-region of Kotor Bay” on 26th June 2007 a meeting was held that gathered representatives of municipal departments, cultural institutions and tourist organizations from the municipalities of Kotor, Tivat and Herceg Novi.

The project is conducted by the NGO EXPEDITIO from Kotor in cooperation with SNV WORLD – Netherlands Development Agency and Municipalities of Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat. It is funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Belgrade. The main goal of the project is to develop various mechanisms and forms of cooperation between the municipalities of Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat, while cultural tourism of Boka Kotorska has been chosen as a topic within which this cooperation will be developed and tested.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Municipalities of Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat, Cultural Centres from Kotor and Tivat, Tourism Organization of Kotor, EXPEDITIO and SNV WORLD.

Since the emphasis of the project is on strengthening cooperation between Municipalities of Kotor, Herceg Novi and Tivat and establishing legal mechanisms for long-term cooperation in various fields, the meeting was aimed at presenting the project and its goals to the representatives of the mentioned institutions so that they can contribute to this cooperation. Three pilot projects concerning cultural tourism in Boka Kotorska that will be realized within the project were also presented.

These pilot projects include:
- creating a joint website on which all cultural events in the area of Boka Kotorska will be presented
- designing a map of cultural and natural monuments of Boka Kotorska
- organizing a lecture on branding of Boka Kotorska

The participants showed great interest in cooperation, stating some positive examples of cooperation between Municipalities of Tivat, Kotor, Herceg Novi and Budva – an example of cooperation between Boka and Istria within cultural manifestation “Days of Boka in Pula/Days of Pula in Boka” which has been going on for the fifth year. Experience and conclusion of this project is that inter-municipal cooperation should be institutionalized because there is problem of project coordination. Progress is this field is achieved only at the level on individual engagement while the institutional level does not show any system changes.

So far, the municipalities have had more experience in cross-border cooperation than in inter-municipal cooperation although the latter is quite necessary. The participants also gave some concrete proposals for inter-municipal cooperation improvement. They think that the municipalities should be acquainted with the existing positive models of inter-municipal and regional cooperation. Inter-municipal cooperation has been emphasized as an opportunity for municipalities, in this case municipalities from Boka Kotorska to apply jointly for projects, since in the coming period it will be possible to obtain considerable grants from EU funds intended for this kind of cooperation.

It is crucial to make decision-makers in local governments realize the importance and advantages of inter-municipal cooperation and projects that could be realized, as well as to provide education in this field.

The participants also pointed out the importance of engaging local media and establishing cooperation with the University and other institutions at the state level, with necessary introduction and use of information systems.

A concrete model of possible cooperation has been proposed – i.e. to create a new job position in each municipality that will deal with all aspects of inter-municipal cooperation, because so far this cooperation has been uncoordinated and mostly conducted by various people and on ad-hoc bases. It is also necessary to consider the possibility of establishing a joint agency for all three municipalities that will deal with projects of inter-municipal cooperation and apply for grants from available funds, etc.
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