Mountainous areas of the Carpathian region – the Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Chernivtsi Oblasts – have always been under special attention of the state. This area covers almost 60 thousand square km with 715 settlements, the vast majority of which – 94% – are the villages. 700 thousand people live there, whom we have to provide with the proper life quality. Motivated development of mountainous areas is an additional potential for entire Ukraine. Therefore, we must formulate and implement the state policy regarding these territories, that will bring closer the implementation of the EU strategy concerning the Carpathian region, and give impetus to bring the mountainous areas to a qualitatively new level – develop infrastructure, tourism, human potential, etc., emphasised Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, during the round table meeting on “Formation of the State Policy to Support the Development of Mountainous Areas: Experience of Ukraine and the EU”.
“We have introduced a new assessment of regional development, calculated by two indicators, namely the regional human development index and competitiveness index. By applying them to monitoring of the development of mountainous areas, we see significantly lower indicators compared to other regions. We see two parallel problem-solving directions that have to reinforce each other in the complex. These are decentralisation, continuation and acceleration of hromadas’ amalgamation in mountainous areas, as well as formation of a new state policy on the development of mountainous areas through the adoption of the necessary legislation,” said Hennadii Zubko.
He informed that there already are amalgamated hromadas in the mountainous areas: 1 AH in the Lviv Oblast, 2 AHs in the Zakarpattia Oblast, 6 AHs in the Chernivtsi Oblast and 10 AHs in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. “Decentralisation and amalgamation provide, first of all, a new quality of services in all domains – education, healthcare, administrative services, safety, etc., give financial opportunities through the State Fund for Regional Development and subventions for AHs to implement projects and solve problems that have not been resolved for years. In particular, during 2015-2017, 111 projects were implemented in the mountainous areas at the expense of the SFRD,” the official said.
Hennadii Zubko informed that MinRegion has drafted a draft law on the status of high-altitude settlements and provision of them with additional state guarantees, which was approved by the Government at the end of last year and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada.
“Besides, the experience of development of the mountainous territories of Austria is positive for Ukraine, namely, such principles as spatial balancing of industrial and social infrastructure; competitiveness of the economy of mountainous territories; development of cross-border tourist frames,” he noted.
The round table meeting was attended by Hermine Poppeller, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Ukraine, Serhiy Vlasenko, Chairman of the Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Mykola Knyazhytskyi, Chairman of the Committee on Culture and Spirituality of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, representatives of MinRegion, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Agrarian Policy, Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Social Policy, Embassy of Austria to Ukraine, Oblast State Administration and local self-government bodies, and representatives of All-Ukrainian specialised associations.
In 2017, Ukraine supported the initiative of the Polish colleagues to prepare and implement the EU Strategy for the Carpathian region. It is about signing the relevant Declaration of Intentions of the Countries of the Carpathian Region. The strategy will contribute to coordinated policies and implementation of joint development measures for the region covering the territory of eight countries.
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