The forum “Decentralisation: from amalgamation to development” started in Zhytomyr. It gathered more than 200 hromada leaders, representatives of state structures and business to exchange experience in implementing development projects.
The forum was organised by the Zhytomyr Local Government Development Centre and Zhytomyr Oblast State Administration with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme.
First plenary session “Non-stop reforms. Decentralization realities and prospects in Ukraine: regional dimension” outlined the results of the reform implementation and the prospects for completing the modernisation of the local self-government system.
“In 2019, we must formulate perspective plans, regional development strategies, create conditions for hromadas’ amalgamation and accession, adopt in the Parliament an utterly essential draft law No. 8051 “On the Principles of Administrative-Territorial Structure” that will free the country from the Soviet system and allow hromadas to build a completely new territorial system in Ukraine. The next 2019 local elections in AHs should be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections,” said Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine.
“The main thing is responsibility. Therefore, the European Union supports decentralisation in Ukraine. I already see success – local residents decide themselves how to use their local budget funds. The amalgamation process and the ASCs are successful, and our U-LEAD with Europe Programme provides trainings to local specialists. The hromada does not have to be large enough to succeed,” said Frederik Coene, Head of Section “Economic Cooperation, Social and Regional Development”, EU Delegation to Ukraine, at the opening of the event.
During the second discussion, representatives of the authorities, business entities and international projects discussed an issue of communication between the hromada, business and the Government. Serhii Sokalskyi, head of the Hlybochytska AH of the Zhytomyr Oblast, presented the AH investment passport and outlined prospects for cooperation with investors:
"We are open to new knowledge, ideas and projects. The hromada is preparing a number of investment proposals and we are ready to cooperate with investors willing to help and facilitate the implementation of such projects. Motivation is simple – the more taxes are paid, the higher the living standards in the AH are.”
At the next two sessions, the hromadas discussed the possibility of attracting international support and presented four best practices of the development and social projects’ implementation in AHs. The speakers at four sessions included representatives of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, USAID DOBRE Programme, DESPRO Project, investment companies, governmental institutions and hromadas.
"Changing the rules of the game in the local self-government system allows hromadas to actively grow, and the U-LEAD with Europe Programme’s assistance helps hromada specialists to make effective decisions," said Andrej Horvat, Deputy GIZ Programme Director of U-LEAD with Europe.
At the end of the forum the hromadas of the Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia Oblasts signed memoranda of cooperation and partnership.
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