A comprehensive discussion of the prospects for state regional policy has started in Ukraine. The first in a series of public thematic events — the Congressional hearing on mechanisms of interaction by state regional policy actors, for recovery and development of regions.
About 150 participants - representatives of regional military administrations and regional councils, regional development agencies, local self-government, all-Ukrainian associations of local self-government bodies, and experts held open discussions of today's challenges and possible solutions to ensure effective state regional policy.
The organizer of the event is the Office of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine with the support of the Ukraine’s Cohesion & Regional Development project, UCORD.
According to Oleksiy Kuleba, the Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Executive Secretary of the Presidium of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine, the Congress itself is a large common platform that unites representatives of local and regional authorities, associations of local self-government bodies, regional development agencies to discuss challenges and governmenal tasks.
Oleksiy Kuleba drew the particular attention of the Congressional hearings’ participants to the fact that a large part of the Ukrainian doctrine proposed for national discussion by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, will be devoted to state regional policy and local self-government.
The quality of life of people in communities and the development of territories depends on the quality of legislative support, strategic and programmatic documents of state regional policy, and their timely implementation. This was emphasized by Viacheslav Negoda, the Head of the Office of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities under the President of Ukraine.
According to Maryna Bryl, Deputy Head of the Ukraine’s Cohesion & Regional Development project, UCORD, today the project directs its efforts to develop a strategic vision for the future - what regional development in Ukraine should be so that all its participants can effectively fulfill their role, cooperate at all levels and support each other.
Ilona Postemska, the Senior National Program Officer of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, noted that the UCORD project’s activities were planned back in 2020 when the situation in the country was different than today.
"As of now, the relevance of this project has increased many times because state regional policy and regional development are key to Ukraine’s reconstruction," Ilona Postemska noted.
Vitaliy Bezgin, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Administrative and Territorial Organization and Local Self-Government of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on the Organization of State Power, Local Self-Government, Regional Development, and Urban Planning, identified several problems in the field of state regional policy.
"While decentralization continues to "go," and it cannot be stopped, there is a big problem with regional politics. There has yet to be an established regional policy at the state level. And it is the joint task of all stakeholders to finally start forming this policy. It is good that there is a common understanding among everyone that the state regional development strategy should be revised; it is good that a dialogue has started here, and it is good that division of territories into functional types is one of the topics. The Fundamental Law ’On the Fundamentals of Regional Policy’ does not work. Most of the regional development agencies are not working," said Vitaliy Bezgin.
What other urgent problems need to be solved to ensure the implementation of a compelling state regional policy, why is it essential for the recovery and development of community territories, what is its significance for Ukraine's membership in the EU, how regional development agencies see their role in the implementation of state regional policy, what ways of solving existing problems are suggested by the associations of local self-government and other views and opinions - in the video recording of the Congressional hearings.
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