Decentralisation is the most successful reform in Ukraine. Its result is recognised both by the population of Ukraine and international partners, said Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, during the 3rd Ukraine Reform Conference, which takes place in Canada.
At the opening of the conference, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, noted: “Over the past 5 years, Ukraine has made more changes and reforms than over all 23 years of independence of the country. These changes should be continued."
"Among some key points that reflect our results in recent years – the reform, in the first place, has changed the management system. There are currently 920 amalgamated hromadas with clear responsibilities, finances and powers. Capable hromadas cover 45% of Ukraine's territory, with almost 70% of the population living there. And 40 successful AH leaders, who in future will yet take their seats in the Parliament, are with us in Toronto today,” said Hennadii Zubko.
The Vice Prime Minister stressed that the annual growth of local budgets should be considered as another decentralisation success. During 2014-2019 they increased fourfold, to almost UAH 240 billion. "This is a tremendous amount of money received by local budgets in almost 5 years of reform. This is a true decentralisation. It is a leap in countering corruption. Over the years, state support has also increased 4 times. In 2014, we directed only UAH 500 million to the local level, and in 2019 – this figure has reached UAH 40 billion,” told Hennadii Zubko.
According to the official, decentralisation is indeed a change and a new strategy for the formation of regional hromadas. "Our team set the key task – to give impetus to human potential development. Many participants of the conference talked about human capital, potential, changes in administrative management, provision of services, etc., but these people are changing Ukraine today and now! At present, 12, thousand new projects, new standards are being implemented. The roadmap for the horizon-2020 has been worked out,” Mr Zubko explained.
Among the problematic issues, he called the unresolved issue of changing the administrative-territorial structure of Ukraine, the conflict at the subregional level. "We need to give new roles to local administrations in service delivery. And the key to this issue should be introduction of amendments to the Constitution in the area of decentralisation by the new parliament. The priority changes include formation of a new system of prefects that will carry out a supervisory function on the ground. The draft amendments to the Constitution consist of only 5 pages or 133 kB of information in one file. But the result will be incredible for Ukraine,” Hennadii Zubko emphasised.
According to the official, the whole team has gathered to support changes to the Constitution: experts, international partners, European countries, the USA and Canada. He thanked the European Commission, German colleagues for supporting Ukraine in implementing the reform. "Ukraine is currently introducing the best models and advanced achievements that lead to the success of reforms – in the field of electronic services from Estonia, energy sector from Sweden, administrative services from Poland. And funds are not the only important issue for us, we strive to get the best advanced experience. In this way, each amalgamated hromada will have the opportunity to improve its business climate and infrastructure accordingly. The Window of Opportunities for Ukraine is quite small. In 2020, local elections will take place in the country and for us they mean the necessity to complete the first stages of creating foundation for AHs. We feel certain sabotage in 19 rayons of Ukraine, that have nor formed any AH. Therefore, for the country, it is very important to make changes to the Constitution in terms of decentralisation, to have support of international partners and efforts of all parties, in complex they are aimed at the key goal – human potential development," Hennadii Zubko emphasised. The Vice Prime Minister gave an example of patriotic Novopskovska AH, created in Luhansk Oblast by Vadym Hayev, stressing that such examples inspire and unite Ukraine.
In turn, German Government Special Envoy Georg Milbradt, emphasising that decentralisation is successful and strengthens the country, said: “Decentralisation is a virus that undermines your eastern neighbour – Russia.”
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