Regional development strategies 2021-2027: what can regions do this year to reach a new level of strategic planning?

During the next seven years, efficiency of each region’s development will largely depend on how the strategic planning process will be built in 2019. The regions already start preparing regional development strategies for 2021-2002 and action plans for their implementation. MinRegion gave a clear signal that state funds in subsequent years will be directed at financing development projects only in accordance with well-developed regional strategic documents.

Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, held a special online meeting with the representatives of oblast state administrations, oblast councils, local government development centres, regional development agencies, where they discussed the preparation of regional development strategies for the new programme period of 2021 – 2027. He emphasised several components important for the regions in the process of strategies’ preparation.

First of all, the regions should undertake a thorough analysis of mistakes they made in previous development strategies. Secondly, the strategic planning system of the regional level must fully comply with the requirements of the legislation on the state regional policy.

“The biggest mistake of the previous period is that the regions chose the projects aimed at funds’ usage, rather than creating new jobs and increasing budget revenues. This error has its causes. Some regional strategies were of poor-quality, designed in offices, without taking into account the approved methodology and discussion with business and academic institutions, local authorities, and regional experts. Moreover, selection of projects and other budget programmes by the regional authorities to be financed from the SFRD was not aimed at achieving the objectives of regional strategies. Such practice is unacceptable and prospectless,” said Vyacheslav Nehoda.

Besides, the common mistake was that the goals of certain strategies were chosen not based on logic, but on subjective factors; low quality of project ToRs; in some regions the cost of a plan for strategy implementation exceeds tens of billions of hryvnias – resources that the region will not be able to accumulate over the period of the implementation plan.

For example, the EU countries have a “safety lever” against such mistakes. No region receives access to structural funds’ money until it meets the requirements of the regulatory framework, defined by the European Commission. Unfortunately, there is no such safety lever in Ukraine, so the quality of strategic documents, developed by the regions, does not affect the chances of obtaining funds for the implementation of the state regional policy.

“But in the nearest future, MinRegion intends to obtain the authority to issue conclusions on the compliance of oblast strategies and action plans with the requirements of the regulatory framework, which will allow to direct state and local resources only at those projects that will have the greatest impact on the increase of regions’ competitiveness, social and economic integration and spatial development, as well as effective management of regional development,” informed the First Deputy Minister.

He focused on the fact that the state transferred powers and significant resources in the field of regional development to oblast authorities. According to him, examples of SFRD funds’ usage can show serious shortcomings in the definition of priority projects and development programmes.

“How have the regions used these new powers? We have analysed more than one and a half thousand projects implemented in previous years. It turned out that the regions have not directed a single SFRD hryvnia at 82% of the tasks of regional development strategies, especially those that have a direct impact on the competitiveness of regional economies. 35% of projects are not envisaged at all by the corresponding action plans for the implementation of regional strategies. The impact area of 63% of projects does not exceed the boundaries of one hromada. This is an unappealing picture we have.

Therefore, it is envisaged to make changes to the regulatory base of the SFRD that will ensure a strict connection of the project to a specific ToR of the action plan. From now on the list of ToRs, under which the competitive selection of projects will take place, will be announced. And the projects will compete within the limits of one, and not different ToRs,” noted Vyacheslav Nehoda.

He informed that MinRegion expects each oblast to form working groups as well as to compile activities’ calendar in order to reach the projects of regional development strategies for 2021-2027 by 1 December this year. The Ministry will actively interact and coordinate the process of these strategies’ preparation.

05.02.2019 - 16:16 | Views: 3784
Regional development strategies 2021-2027: what can regions do this year to reach a new level of strategic planning?

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