As Ukraine marks the 3rd anniversary of its crucial decentralisation reform, the Local Government Development Centre begins to open its 24 Regional Centres in all oblasts of Ukraine with the support of Ukraine – Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Programme (U-LEAD with Europe) and the Ministry for Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine (MinRegion).
The first openings will be held in the eastern oblasts this week while the Regional Centres in other oblasts of Ukraine are to be opened later this spring. Berend de Groot, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, and both Programme Directors of U-LEAD are visiting Dnipro to discuss the decentralisation reform outcomes and ways of further European support of it with representatives of local authorities, amalgamated hromadas and civil society.
“I am happy to see the tangible results of the decentralisation reform in the Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad and Poltava Oblasts”, Berend de Groot said. “The main goal of the EU support is to ensure that Ukraine’s reforms benefit its citizens, and I am looking forward to visit local hromadas with renovated roads, kindergartens and other infrastructure. We will also discuss with local people how the EU-funded U-LEAD programme can better support the decentralisation and regional policy reforms.”
The Local Government Development Centre (LGDC) is the non-profit entity with 24 Regional Centres established to build the capacity of Ukrainian state and local government authorities at the central, regional and local level in close coordination with the MinRegion. “The Regional Centres of LGDC that we open this week in two oblasts of Ukraine will permanently provide direct support to local government bodies, primarily those of amalgamated hromadas, and thus targeting all Ukrainian citizens,” said Bastian Veigel, GIZ Programme Director of U-LEAD. “The Regional Centres will become the backbone of decentralisation, sharing the best national and international practices, and our aim is to make them sustainable so that they can function successfully after the U-LEAD with Europe Programme is completed.”
Kameran Khudur, First Secretary of the Embassy of Sweden to Ukraine and Sida Programme Director of U-LEAD, said: “I hope that the Regional Centres of LGDC will contribute to enhanced management and leadership skills and capacity of the officials of the local government bodies, because this is the only way to ensure a successful decentralisation reform that enjoys public confidence. This is vital for the Component 2 of U-LEAD, since the enhanced skills of the local officials will also make sure that the Administrative Service Centres to be established with the support of U-LEAD are efficiently and effectively run and maintained for the benefit of Ukraine’s citizens.”
Berend de Groot and U-LEAD representatives will take part in the official opening of the LGDC Regional Centres in Kropyvnytsky (5 April) and Poltava (6 April). In Poltava, they will be joined by Peter Wagner, Head of the Support Group for Ukraine established by the President of the European Commission in April 2014 to support the country in the implementation of the Association Agreement with the EU.
The U-LEAD with Europe Programme is a multi-donor action of the European Union and its Member States Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Poland and Sweden supporting the Ukrainian government in the implementation of the milestone decentralisation reform in Ukraine. U-LEAD with Europe is implemented from 2016-2020 by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in partnership with the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine (MinRegion). More information can be found on: www.u-lead.org.ua
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