HOW DECENTRALIZATION IS SPREADING OVER UKRAINE – OPINION OF PEOPLE INVOLVED In order to study the progress of local self-government reform in Ukraine and to identify features of the voluntary association of communities, specialists of the Odessa Institute of Social Technologies, All-Ukrainian public organization “Association for Community Self-Organization Assistance” and regional partner organizations, during July-August 2016, conducted an expert survey of representatives of territorial communities located in the Volyn , Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Luhansk, Lviv and Mykolayiv regions.
ANALYSTS OF ALL-UKRAINIAN NGO «ASSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY SELF-ORGANIZATION ASSISTANCE»
HOW DECENTRALIZATION IS SPREADING OVER UKRAINE â€“ OPINION OF PEOPLE INVOLVED In order to study the progress of local self-government reform in Ukraine and to identify features of the voluntary association of communities, specialists of the Odessa Institute of Social Technologies, All-Ukrainian public organization â€œAssociation for Community Self-Organization Assistanceâ€? and regional partner organizations, during July-August 2016, conducted an expert survey of representatives of territorial communities located in the Volyn , Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Luhansk, Lviv and Mykolayiv regions. The expert survey revealed the features of the process of voluntary association of communities. The study examined three different types of communities: the united territorial communities; community preparing to associate; communities with unsuccessful attempt to associate. The study was conducted by interviewing 597 local experts (government officials, civil society activists): 342 members of united territorial communities (57.3%); 138 members of communities preparing to associate (23.1%); 117 members of communities with unsuccessful attempt to associate (19.6%). Among the above-mentioned number of respondents 297 or 49.3% represented the public and 300 or 50.3% represented the power structures. Although each group was examined separately and had certain characteristics, we can identify some trends in the experts estimates on the progress of local selfgovernment reform in Ukraine, in particular: The experts provide ambiguous assessment of whether community representatives were involved in the development of perspective plans of formation of capable territorial communities by Regional State Administration (RSA) or not. Even if they were involved, they represented the local Council. The representatives of the authorities, rural (village, city) Chairman and deputies of rural (village, city) Council, primarily initiated associations of territorial communities. Public discussions were actively carried out in the communities. The most common form of discussions in the territorial communities were general meeting of the residents. According to the experts, people heard of the reform, but still do not fully understand its essence. The main source of information on the decentralization reform is the local authority: the head of the community and local deputies, in the second place - the media. However, the Reforms Office and the Ministry for Regional Development were
Community development strategy in most of the analysed CTU is still under development. AC Councils use to involve public organizations, research centers, labor collectives, community activists and students in the strategies development process. This usually happens through the creation of specialized working groups, holding of public debates, focus group research, interviews.
Recommendations: for AC Councils â€“ to include mechanisms for public participation in the implementation process into the development strategy. 8.
Regulations of the councils and their executive bodies, as a rule, provide the opportunity for public involvement. In practice, however, these mechanisms are difficult to detect without detailed analysis because they are "scattered" over the articles of the Regulations. Also, it does not always clearly define procedure for public participation in the Council activity.
Recommendations: for AC Councils â€“ to determine the mechanisms of public involvement as a separate item in the regulations, and refine their process in the relevant articles. Based on the analysis of existing regulations of the Councils and executive bodies we offer 7 stages of public involvement: 1) collecting information on the needs of society, 2) planning Council activity, 3) development and submission of draft decisions, 4) discussion of draft decisions, 5) forming the agenda, 6) sessions publicity, 7) public participation in the plenary sessions. 9.
Mechanisms of interaction between headmen and community, as defined in the Regulations on the headman, are sufficient for dialogue. For example: 1) residents reception, 2) assisting the residents to prepare necessary documentation, 3) accepting applications addressed to AC Council, 4) participating in the organization and holding of the general meetings at place of residence, 5) interacting with PSOB, 6) reporting to the community, 7) providing proposals on the personal membership of public control inspections, etc.
Recommendations: for AC Councils â€“ to develop mechanisms of cooperation of headmen with PSOB and other CSI, deputies of AC Council and its executive bodies, etc. 10. Civil Society Development Program was adopted only in one of 34 analyzed AC (according to the responses to information requests).
Recommendations: for AC Councils â€“ to practice the adoption of Civil Society Development Programs in the communities.
CONCLUSION There are different practices with regard to the regulatory provision for public participation at the local level. The development of these processes largely depends on the chairman, deputies, headmen and active citizenship of AC residents. At the same time, the issue of statutory regulation of PSOB activity, holding general meetings of the members of the territorial community at place of residence, mandatory adoption of the Statute of territorial community by the local Council â€“ all above depends on the priorities of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (Ukrainian Parliament) and the adoption of necessary laws that would contribute to the development of local democracy.
POLICY ANALYSTS OF ASSOCIATION:
Andrii Krupnyk expert on public administration and local government
Oleksndra Kalashnikova expert on community development, local government reform, participatory democracy
Mariya Dzupyn analyst, lawyer, expert on local democracy and local governance
Oleksii Kolesnikov expert on election law, local democracy, regional and global policies
This analytical paper has been prepared under the Think tank support initiative performed by the International Fund "Renaissance" (IRF) in collaboration with the OSF Think Tank Fund (TTF), which receives support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) The opinions and views expressed in this research represent the position of the author and do not necessarily reďŹ‚ect the position of the Swedish government.
Đ?SSOCIATION FOR COMMUNITY SELF-ORGANIZATION ASSISTANCE All-Ukrainian NGO that promotes the development of civil society in Ukraine through the self-organization and the creation of an effective system of public participation in the local governance.
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