Support to the decentralisation reform in Ukraine UDU/U-LEAD with Europe
Title: Supporting the decentralisation reform in Ukraine
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine (Minregion)
Overall term: 2015 to 2020
Decentralisation and regional development have been the top priorities for the post-Euromaidan government since early 2014. Efforts at national level have led to the adoption of important laws and implementing guidelines, with more in the pipeline. Budget and tax legislation, for instance, have been adapted to enable local authorities to mobilise more domestic revenue and to strengthen municipal financial systems.
At present, implementation of the decentralisation reform is not yet sustainable. State actors at national, regional and local level still do not have all of the necessary skills and financial resources to carry out their duties and responsibilities effectively. The Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services (Minregion), which is responsible for implementing the decentralisation reform, is given support in order to improve coordination of the reform process and to effectively communicate the objectives and benefits of the reform.
State institutions at national, regional and local level perform their duties in the decentralisation process more effectively. Municipal services are provided with the involvement of civil society and with a focus on citizens.
In addition to funding from Germany and combined financing by the European Union, Denmark, Estonia, Poland and Sweden are also involved in the overall programme. The GIZ-implemented component of the programme offers training and advisory services and thus develops national, regional and local capacities in the areas of communication, professionalisation and coordination. At the same time, it supports the capacity and efficiency of local government bodies and promotes transparency in budget management.
Another key contribution of the programme is the establishment of institutional support mechanisms, such as the Central Reform Office at national level and the 24 Local Government Development Centres at regional level. The programme operates throughout Ukraine by virtue of the regional development centres, which cover all of the country’s 24 oblasts, including Donetsk and Luhansk. These regional centres support local authorities by providing permanent staff and experts in the areas of regional development, decentralisation, local finances, municipal services and land use planning.
A range of different advisory services (e.g. consultation from experts, training courses, workshops, study trips, discussion forums) help Ukrainian communities and local decisionmakers in terms of delivering services to the country’s citizens. The programme also encourages exchange across individual administrative levels as well as the involvement of civil society and citizens in the reform process.
At national level, the support of the Central Reform Office has improved the steering capacities of Minregion. Within the framework of the decentralisation and regional development reforms, the Central Reform Office now plays an important role in the exchange of information between Minregion and donors and partner ministries, as well as in the coordination of joint planning processes. The programme also lends its backing to the efforts undertaken on a monthly basis by the Special Envoy of the German Government, Professor Georg Milbradt. Having attended over a hundred meetings and talks with all of the relevant Ukrainian stakeholders, he has drafted a list of laws for the reforms, helping to bring broader discussions of the decentralisation reform to focus on specific priority areas.
With the support of the programme, more than 3,700 training sessions, workshops, conferences and on-site consultations had been held throughout Ukraine by the end of 2017. These measures reached around 88,000 participants, more than half of whom were women. About 20,000 participants were representatives from municipalities. Of those who attended training sessions, 84 percent were able to give a specific example of how their newly acquired knowledge had helped them to perform their duties better. These examples range from the use of new tools and improved communication within the municipalities to fulfilling tasks in a more citizen-oriented manner.
The programme has organised 46 dialogue events and ten media training sessions. Twelve radio and television programmes have been produced and broadcast in cooperation with public media organisations. Public awareness of the decentralisation reform has risen by five per cent, with a survey showing that 71 percent of the population had improved their knowledge of the reform process.