Reform of municipal services in Eastern Ukraine
Title: Reform of municipal services in Eastern Ukraine
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Regional Development, Building and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine
Overall term: 2010 to 2016
Ukraine's administrative structures are highly centralised. Previous reform efforts have failed due primarily to rivalries within the political elite. The Ukrainian Government announced far-reaching reforms in mid-2009. With the new government, decentralisation and the implementation of public administration reforms took on a far greater significance at the beginning of 2014. The country's willingness to reform grew out of the recognition that municipalities were not performing their assigned duties satisfactorily, with the quality of service provision being low.
As a result of the crises and heavy fighting in the east of the country which have persisted since 2014, large groups of the population have been internally displaced. The municipalities taking in refugees are faced with major challenges. Weak government structures and the absence of a legal framework for internally displaced persons may lead to further destabilisation of large areas of the country in the long term.
Local self-governing administrations and state institutions use improved instruments and procedures for more efficient and sustainable provision of municipal services.
Working on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is supporting the Ukrainian Government in its reform process. It is the declared intention of the current government to boost the resources and expertise of the country’s municipalities and regions (oblasts). The project advises implementing partners on how to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative service provision, promotes cooperation between municipalities, and conducts training activities. The GFA Consulting Group is advising the responsible municipal utilities on how to provide technical services more effectively in areas such as water supply, sanitation and waste management. The project is also building the capacity of regional and national institutions. In this way, municipalities are expected to improve the quality of their services. Findings and experience from initiatives at local level are fed into the political dialogue on decentralisation. Additionally, the project is assisting the municipalities in organising accommodation for refugees.
Lasting results have been achieved with the administrative service reforms. Four citizens' advice centres have been opened and others are being set up. Citizens services are being delivered more rapidly and efficiently, with a greater level of transparency. Surveys show that the services they offer are now rated far more highly. The citizens' advice centre approach and the corresponding changes in administrative procedures have been introduced on a binding basis for the whole of Ukraine since late 2012. The achievements of GIZ's work serve as a model for others and show ways of bringing regulations into line with European standards. The experiences gained by the pilot municipalities are also valuable to other communities which are planning to reform their services in the near future.
Furthermore, the inter-municipal cooperation concept has been introduced as an instrument for more cost-effective public service provision. Inter-municipal projects have been implemented in the areas of health care, administration, economic development and waste management.
Representatives of seven partner municipalities have undergone intensive training in financial management. This is reflected in the new business plans of the municipal utilities, which are calculated to ensure that all costs are covered. The relevant actors are now capable of submitting transparent and viable new project ideas to financing institutions and have already been successful in acquiring new funding.