The ancient Greeks, starting the Olympic Games at the dawn of human civilization, were concerned not only with the achievements in speed, agility, physical excellence and skills of the early Olympians. Above all, the special spirit of competitiveness was appreciated.
The Best Local Self-Government Practices competition, discussed below, is no exception to this rule. It is just not about sports achievements or, for example, artistic and educational talents competing, but the latest municipal innovations invented by the bright heads of the best national local development managers and implemented by them and like-minded teams.
The Best Practices methodology has been developed and adapted to the current conditions by the innovators of change at the local and regional level from the Council of Europe Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform, that were recognised by the European community.
The competition is successful in many member states of the Council of Europe and is mostly annual. Usually, organisers choose several topics relevant to local self-government of a particular country.
Purpose and tasks
Our competition is also not a one-off event. Ukraine, as a member state of the Council of Europe, supported the popular initiative in Europe back in 2012. For the first two years, the competition on our territory was directly implemented by the Council of Europe Centre of Expertise for Local Government Reform.
And since 2014, MinRegion has taken over the role of the main organiser of this creative rivalry, whose purpose was to select, award and disseminate the most progressive assets of local innovators in the area of socio-economic development of the territories.
It is worth saying that the competition takes place in two stages: first the finalists are determined, and then – the winners.
Another important conclusion is that the Best Practices competition truly united Ukraine, since it directly involves local self-government at different levels, namely, village, settlement, city, rayon and oblast councils and councils of amalgamated hromadas – from all regions of our country – however, so far without the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, illegally occupied by Russian Federation (although in 2012-2013 the Crimeans were also among the participants and finalists) and military action zones caused by the Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
So this is a regional aspect. The Dnipropetrovsk Oblast is leading according to the competition results. It is followed by the Kharkiv, Poltava, Zhytomyr and Khmelnytskyi Oblasts. It is significant that the competition commission received the same number of applications from the Donetsk and Lviv Oblasts, many of which confidently went through to the finals.
Whom will the glory find?
The winners of the first Olympic Games were honoured with laurel wreaths. Our heroes, whose names are known today without exaggeration throughout the country, as every year before the Local Self-Government Day in Ukraine they are awarded in the capital at the highest state level, are also encouraged by the competition organisers in their own way.
Winners are entitled to participate in seminars on experience exchange and visits to Council of Europe member states. In 2015, they visited Bulgaria, in the following years – Latvia and Poland. From there they brought the most valuable things – contacts, cooperation agreements with colleagues, addresses of possible investors and partners, and inspiration for further creative work.
We would like to remind you that the deadline to sublit applications for participation in the Best Local Self-Government Practices competition in 2019 is 4 October 2019. See the MinRegion’s website for more information.
Iryna Nagrebetska, independent journalist. This publication was produced with the assistance of the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Local Self-Government Reform in Ukraine”
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