Hromadas, that failed to amalgamate over 4 years of the decentralisation reform, have lost 10 budgets, emphasised Liliya Popova, head of the department of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, at the presentation of 13 pilot projects on development of decision-making by citizens in AHs, implemented in 59 amalgamated hromadas with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme.
“The decentralisation process is powerful and fast in Ukraine. International experts confirm it as well. Decentralisation started in 2014, and I want to refer to the heads of AHs, who themselves say that those who amalgamated in a year after the launch of the reform, were one year late late, those who amalgamated in two years – were two year late, and those still non-amalgamated or not planning to amalgamate - are much more late... Those, who did not amalgamate over four years, have lost an average of 10 budgets,” Liliya Popova said.
She reminded that now there are 838 AHs in Ukraine with total population of 8.5 million people, and on 23 December the first elections will be held in 123 hromadas. In the process of decentralisation the AHs gain many powers and are able to implement necessary changes on the ground in order to really improve the lives of their inhabitants.
At the same time, according to MinRegion’s representative, some hromadas are moving very fast, while others lack awareness of amalgamation benefits. And in this issue, civil society organisations can play a major role, advocating local reform or implementing other ideas.
There are many tools available to use all the benefits of decentralisation, including state and international assistance, which can be obtained through various projects being implemented in Ukraine, saif Liliya Popova.
“The decentralisation process is moving very fast, so we count on CSOs since they are unbiased, and I want to encourage the best use of the assistance of international projects and programmes. By the way, we have 20 international projects and programmes engaged in decentralisation, and MinRegion is the beneficiary of 14 of them. Use this opportunity! ...If your local self-government representatives do not understand the process or do not want to get tired of additional work, because they are accustomed to the former course of things, help us prove this viewpoint (the need for hromadas to amalgamate – Ed.),” urged Ms Popova.
According to Bastian Veigel, GIZ Programme Director of U-LEAD with Europe, today decentralisation reform is strategic for Ukraine as it concerns the life of each citizen.
“The ultimate goal of this reform is to improve the lives of all Ukrainian citizens, and this process is taking place, we see the powerful picture. The ultimate goal is to achieve a higher quality of life in all corners of Ukraine and also to make the country stronger in the context of its European future. Capable hromadas mean a more powerful, stronger nation. It's important to bring this to the point for the relations between society, between citizens and the state to improve, expand and cover new constructive elements,” said Bastian Veigel.
13 projects of CSOs implemented in 59 AHs of 14 oblasts were presented at the event. The projects were implemented with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme and addressed various aspects of AH life: attraction of investments into local projects, identification of priority issues in AHs, the issues of communication between AH residents and leaders, involving residents to address the urgent hromada needs, supporting public initiatives at the hromada level, informing about the main aspects of decentralisation at the level of residents and local authorities, etc.
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