At the end of September in Zatoka, Odesa Oblast, representatives of local self-government bodies – heads of rayon and oblast councils, as well as their executive structures – discussed the future of decentralisation and the steps necessary for successful completion of the reform. The event took place as part of the annual All-Ukrainian Seminar of the Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils (UAROR).
After the discussion, they drafted a resolution that outlined the main recommendations of the rayon and oblast councils of the Verkhovna Rada, the President, and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine regarding the continuation and completion of decentralisation.
It is obvious that irreversibility of the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power will be ensured by its enshrining in the Fundamental Law.
Therefore, local self-government representatives of the oblast and rayon level continue to insist on amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding decentralisation in the Resolution.
Representatives of rayons and oblasts also expect reforming of local state administrations into prefect institutions, as well as formation of executive bodies at oblast and rayon councils, from the constitutional changes.
In addition, the resolution states that amendments to the Constitution should enshrine the proper material and resource base of functioning of local self-government bodies.
Decisions to make before local elections
The heads of rayon and oblast councils are unanimous on that in 2020 the next local elections should take place on a new legal and territorial basis of hromadas and rayons.
For this purpose, in addition to the amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding the decentralisation of powers, a number of important decisions need to be made:
Voluntary amalgamation has exhausted itself
Self-government representatives of the oblast and rayon levels recommend completing the process of voluntary amalgamation of hromadsa. It is important to keep in mind, however, the accessibility of services to people and hromadas’ capacity to provide the majority of services to the population, as described in the Resolution.
The Resolution states that after consolidation of rayons, rayon councils should have clear powers, in particular:
Representatives of local self-government of rayon and oblast levels propose legislative enshrining of hromadas’ obligation to co-finance commonly owned facilities, including secondary healthcare facilities, and to co-finance related programme.***
Therefore, the elected authorities in rayons and oblasts fully support the country's vector to decentralisation and see new opportunities as a result of successful completion of the reform. But at the same time representatives of rayon and oblast councils invite the central government to make informed decisions, listen to the opinion of those who will implement these decisions on the ground.
The material was prepared within the framework of the Project of the Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils “Modeling of Administrative and Territorial Structure at Subregional Level”, implemented with the support of the Council of Europe Programme “Decentralisation and Local Government Reform in Ukraine”.
The full version is available in Ukrainian – please click HERE
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