The state regional policy is considered by the Government of Ukraine as an important element of the state policy, while the local self-government reform and the decentralisation process are the elements of this policy. After all, decentralisation is aimed at creating an effective system of territorial organisation of power and conditions for local and regional development. In 2020, the State Strategy for Regional Development and regional strategies will be completed. At the same time, work on the development of programme documents for the new planning period until 2027 continues.
The issues of improving the system for the formation and implementation of the state regional policy were considered at the regular meeting of the Donor Board on the implementation of the decentralisation reform in Ukraine. The meeting was co-hosted by Morten Enberg, Head of the Office of the Council of Europe for Ukraine, and Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the possibility of engaging donor organisations and international technical assistance projects in the process of preparation and communication of the future State Strategy for Regional Development and relevant programme documents at the level of the oblasts in order to provide expert support. Today, representatives of the executive power, local self-government, the public, scholars and experts of the U-LEAD with Europe Programme, UNDP, PROMIS – Partnership for Urban Development Project, FORBIZ, Ukrainian Polish project on increasing the competitiveness of Ukrainian regions and development of Polish-Ukrainian economic cooperation, etc., already work on these issues in coordination with MinRegion.
According to Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, the new state regional policy needs, first of all, changes in legislation. MinRegion has already prepared a new version of the draft law “On Stimulation of Regional Development” and draft amendments to the Budget Code and the Law “On the Principles of State Regional Policy”. Now these draft documents are being prepared for consideration by the Cabinet of Ministers.
“Such normative work is aimed at creating an effective system of support for problem territories at the state and regional levels. We intend to move from subsidy policy to development policy through business stimulation. We hope that we will also be able to introduce open competition between the regions for the state financial resources to implement projects. Of course, at the same time, we must improve the strategic planning processes, especially at the regional level,” Vyacheslav Nehoda informed.
Priorities of the State Strategy for Regional Development – 2027 determine economic development on a new territorial basis; strengthening of interregional cooperation; focus on solving complex projects taking into account features of problem territories.
It is important that hromadas’ development strategy is introduced for the first time in a single system of strategic planning of regional development. Besides, the link between spatial and strategic planning is fixed. The General Scheme for Planning of Ukraine’s Territory will be an integral part of the State Strategy.
In addition, the overall reform of the state regional policy takes place in the context of policy changes regarding the development of problem territories, including mountainous ones. This year, the Concept for the Development of Mountainous Territories of the Ukrainian Carpathians was approved, and a corresponding Action Plan is currently under preparation. It will be based on concrete projects for the integrated and sustainable development of these territories.
The comprehensive version of the draft State Strategy for Regional Development is scheduled to be presented in November. MinRegion urged all stakeholders to participate in the preparation of these programme documents in order to obtain a clear and realistic document that takes into account the interests of all territories and hromadas.
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