On 16-17 November 2017 the State Scientific, Architectural and Construction Library named after V.H. Zabolotnyi is holding the Forum "Small Cities of Ukraine" in Kyiv under the aegis of MinRegion.
The forum is the final stage of the social librarian project "History of Small Cities of Ukraine", initiated in 2008.
Halyna Voitsekhivska, Director of the State Scientific, Architectural and Construction Library named after V.H. Zabolotnyi, has noted that this project won the contest among the Ukrainian libraries for the best project on the "Development of intercultural relations of the libraries in the CIS countries” topic. The director said that as a result of the project implementation, 25 bibliographic references "History of Small Cities of Ukraine", structured according to the administrative-territorial units and based upon the materials of the Foundation of the State Scientific, Architectural and Construction Library named after V.H. Zabolotnyi, were prepared and published.
The Forum was attended by the representatives of local self-governments, including representatives of amalgamated hromadas, ethnographers, architects, historians and librarians.
Within the frames of the Forum, panel discussions were held on 16 November. The first panel discussion was dedicated to "Decentralisation as the basis for the formation of a new system of governance and local development". The next was called "Projects and Programmes of International Technical Assistance". Lilia Popova, moderator of these panels and head of the Local Self-Government Bodies Liaison Unit of the Department of Self-Government Bodies and Territorial Structure of Power of MinRegion, familiarized the participants of the Forum with the three-year dynamics of the formation of amalgamated hromadas, presented the respective oblast rating, and described the state of power decentralisation in Ukraine.
The participants learnt about the best practices of local self-government in Ukraine from the example of the amalgamated hromadas, namely, the Kalynivska AH of the Vinnytsya Oblast, Ustyluzka AH of the Volyn Oblast, Pyryatynska AH of the Poltava Oblast, Skalatska AH of the Ternopil Oblast, Dunayevetska AH of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast.
Anatoliy Shamalyuk, head of the Kalynivska AH, emphasised the importance of roads’ repairing and noted that due to decentralisation processes only 15% of the roads of the hromada were to be repaired. His story about renovated kindergartens and infrastructure buildings in AH was interesting.
Svitlana Dubytska, deputy head of the Ustyluzka AH, informed about the achievements of the hromada, where the budget increased by more than 4 times, allowing to reconstruct the ASC, repair roads, and open a seed plant at “Pyatydni” LLC (there are only 5 such plants in Ukraine).
Oleksandr Ryabokon, head of the Pyryatynska AH, shared the experience of creation of three cooperation projects implemented by his hromada on the way to the reform, and told about the functioning of the ASC and other infrastructure objects of the AH.
Velina Zayats, head of the Dunayevetska AH, spoke about the effective use of funds from the State Fund for Regional Development and subventions for AH. In addition to the state-of-the-art equipment that facilitates the solution of housing and communal issues, a powerful mobile fluorograph was purchased, which is of high importance for the hromada.
Petro Savonchak, head of the Skalatska AH, noted that decentralisation changes the thinking and attitude of local citizens to AH ownership, and enables solving of the issues of the territories’ development.
The next location – "Projects and Programmes of International Technical Assistance" - introduced the powerful international institutions assisting in the process of reforming local self-government in Ukraine to the Forum's participants.
Taras Zhuravel, head of the Reform of Municipal Services in Eastern Ukraine Project implemented by GIZ, shared the experience of inter-municipal cooperation and focused on the methodological and organisational support to the establishment of ASCs in the regions.
Vyacheslav Kozak, expert of the Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralisation Support Project DESPRO, spoke about the problems of water supply and sewage in Ukraine, as well as the methods of their solution.
Barry Reed, head of the Decentralisation Offering Better Results and Efficiency (DOBRE) programme of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), emphasised the need to formulate strategies for regional economic development, carry out analysis of AH activities, and talked about the Project’s support of the 20 small infrastructure projects.
A great deal of attention was paid to U-LEAD with Europe (Ukraine - Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development Programme). Alexandra Fehlinger, deputy director of the programme, presented the main directions of the Programme's work aimed at the formation, implementation and development of regional policy and told about the meaningful work at the regional level.
The second component of the U-LEAD with Europe programme was presented by Mariia Gornostai, improving the delivery of local administrative services team leader in Ukraine. She presented the activities of the team, which consist of conducting trainings, working visits, opening ASCs, preparation of accompanying material packages, as well as informing and engaging the population of AHs in active work. Such support has already allowed to open 8 European-level ASCs, and by the end of 2017 their number will amount to 26.
The representatives of AHs also took part in the panel discussion on the "Tourist attractable city" topic. Valeriy Vesnyanyi, head of the Tulchynska AH of the Vinnytsia Oblast, presented Tulchyn as a historical, cultural, religious pearl of Podillya. He emphasised the importance of investing in the development of urban infrastructure in a tourist-friendly city.
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