Memorandum submitted by Norwich City Council
You recently wrote to Anne Seex, the Chief Executive,
requesting a memorandum on the above subject. Ms Seex has asked
me to reply. I also attach a short memorandum from the Norfolk
and Norwich Novi Sad Association who play a key role in maintaining
the relationship with Novi Sad.
Norwich City Council has had a long and fruitful
relationship with Novi Sad since the late 1950's and signed a
formal Declaration of Friendship in 1989. The twinning is exceptionally
good in terms of geography, size, function and aspiration of the
The relationship has been conducted at civic
level and through the development of an active and engaged Norfolk
and Norwich Novi Sad Association (see attached statement from
The City Council supports the association through
modest grants and technical expertise, and provides a mechanism
for joint working and co-ordination through the Twinning Committee.
There is constant contact with Novi Sad through
individuals in the Association, and regular Civic visits. The
formal twinning agreement always included the intention to promote
practical joint working for mutual benefit and technical assistance
and professional exchanges have been a regular feature of the
relationship. In 1998 there were work experience exchanges and
the City Councils Director of Administration held a seminar on
democracy in Novi Sad.
The Associations statement refers to the development
of a programme of technical assistance developed between Norwich
City Council and Novi Sad City Council. Part Serbia/Montenegro.
Other aspects such as technical help with restoration of water
supplies, and the development of designs for a new park in Novi
Sad have also been pursued. The link has developed mainly through
the former City Works department.
Local firms are also now involved in projects
in Novi Sad. Anglia Water is undertaking a contract to rebuild
a water pipe across the Danube, and Anglia television has recently
provided technical advice and assistance. There is also an on-going
relationship between the John Innes Institute and researchers
from the Novi Sad agricultural research institute. John Innes
have offered DNA machines, which are now surplus to requirements,
to the Novi Sad institute.
In June and July of this year, seven volunteer
trainers from the Norwich Rainbow Project for unemployed young
people (help for the elderly and infirm) will be going out to
There is a high volume of work for the volunteer
and unpaid association members who bear the brunt of maintaining
day to day relationships with Novi Sad. However, it has been beneficial
for the relationship that communication is mainly channelled through
one organisation that has built up strong personal relationships
and this helps avoid confusion and duplication. These established
channels worked even through the most difficult times.
The FCO/LGIB initiative enabled Novi Sad to
take the lead in bringing target opposition cities together to
consider new twinning links with the UK. This leadership role
and the honest broker role for Novi Sad and Voivodina generally
was reinforced at the recent civic day celebration. Representatives
from parts of the former Yugoslavia who had not been to the Federal
Republic for 10 years attended the celebrations and an economic
development seminar organised by the new Mayor.
The new Mayor of Novi Sad is keen to emphasis
the practical joint working aspects of the relationship with Novi
Sad's twin cites and plans to hold regular economic development
seminars. This provides Norwich City Council with opportunities
to develop economic and partnership relationships with not only
Novi Sad, but with other cities twinned with Novi Sad.
Areas of future co-operation with Novi Sad are
being considered. One area that the City would like to develop
is exchange of experience/mentoring schemes. We are particularly
interested in bringing Novi Sad into our EU funded projects as
a "shadow" partner, to allow Novi Sad to gain familiarity
with EU project procedures and financial and monitoring disciplines,
and thereby facilitate early access to, and maximum benefit from,
EU programmes in the future.
Through the Milosevic period, personalities
have remained fairly constant in Novi Sad and close personal relationships
of trust and mutual respect have been forged. Many of the people
in the newly elected city council are different and new relationships
will need to be established. However, key personalities in the
former administration are now in positions of influence in the
provincial and state governments and will be in a position to
promote the relationship.
The City Council values the relationship with
Novi Sad very highly. As a mark of the strength of the relationship
a new footbridge over the river Wensum in Norwich, which links
roads named after two of Norwich's other twin towns Rouen and
Koblenz, will be named the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge.
The relationship is successful because it is
mutually beneficial and a relationship between equals. It has
fostered a variety of joint working projects between both the
City Council and other organisations and companies in Norfolk
and Norwich. It has endured through great difficulties through
the strength of the Friendship Association and the development
of strong personal links, and a determination by the Council to
maintain the link. The recent LGIB/FCO scheme has helped provide
a new focus and impetus to the City Council to develop the joint
working aspects of the relationship.
The City Council would like to do more to cement
our relationships and share technical expertise with Novi Sad
as and when additional funding becomes available. A reliable source
of funding for this work in the future will greatly increase the
level and effectiveness of the future activity and aid the process
of future planning.
1 See Appendix 12. Back