Benchmarking hub for the Western Balkans

Description of the activity

IAWD led this activity to promote the creation of a regional utility benchmarking hub for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. This hub now forms part of a network of similar entities in the Danube region, and of the European Benchmarking Co-operation (EBC) Europe-wide efforts. The Open Regional Funds for South-East Europe by the German GIZ and supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation provided most of the funds for this project. Activities started in July 2014 and are ongoing.

Implementation of the activity

The consultant Aleksandar Krstić of the Inter-institutional Professional Network in Water Sector of Serbia (IPM) serves as hub coordinator and cooperates with utility associations in all target countries, while EBC facilitates the process and trains the hub coordinators. Mr. Krstić provides support to participating utilities for faster collection and entry of data into EBC’s online system. Other hubs established through the Danube Water Program cater to water and wastewater utilities in Bulgaria, Kosovo & Albania and Ukraine.

This project started by inviting utilities to participate in the benchmarking exercise. Representatives of twelve utilities and of seven associations from the targeted countries attended the kick-off meeting and orientation & training workshop held in Belgrade, Serbia in September 2014. Data collection started immediately after the meeting.

In late October 2014, the hub coordinator delivered another orientation & training workshop hosted by the waterworks of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Four interested utilities could get acquainted with the data collection process by learning from the host utility.

The first annual benchmarking workshop, analyzing 2013 data, took place in Belgrade, Serbia in March 2015. It marked the end of the initial phase of performance assessment and opened the subsequent performance improvement phase. Besides representatives of associations and of all 13 utilities affiliated with the hub, the workshop attracted staff of three utilities interested in joining the next round of the benchmarking effort, of nine Bulgarian utilities participating in their respective hub, and of a utility from Poland involved directly with EBC. The benchmarking workshop for 2014 data will likely be held in November 2015.

Challenges and lessons learned

Utilities participating in this hub are located in six different countries - two of which are EU members - and operate under very diverse circumstances. The spectrum ranges from utilities working exclusively in water supply or wastewater, to integrated water service providers, and to companies delivering a wider spectrum of municipal services. Certain indicators might therefore need to be interpreted jointly and with regard to context and circumstances, or could more meaningfully be compared with European utilities outside the region covered by this hub.

 

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Program Activities

Analytical and Advisory Work

Capacity Development

Knowledge Sharing

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