Kyiv, March 29, 2016. Three southern regions of Ukraine – Kherson, Mykolayiv and Odesa join the project “Launching Regions”. This initiative covers several areas aimed at decentralization reforms, development of regional policy and investment attractiveness of Ukrainian cities. This was stated by Rostyslav Tomenchuk, Director of the Ukrainian Institute for International Politics, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He said that the project has been working in Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk regions and government-controlled parts of Luhansk and Donetsk regions for the third month. Next week it will start in three southern regions. Mr. Tomenchuk noted that this project provides three-month work of regional importance in cities with a population over 10,000 people as well as with the newly formed united communities. “We will try to form working group teams of representatives of executive bodies at the level of mayors or deputy mayors or heads of departments of economic regional development with the participation of NGOs. To enhance cooperation between local authorities and the public and together work out future development of these cities,” said Mr. Tomenchuk.
The first stage of the project will be educational, informing about the need for strategic thinking to develop the regions. That is, each city should see its uniqueness, plan its work, costs and revenues by understanding future development of these cities, noted Mr. Tomenchuk. The second stage, according to him, will be the project cycle, which will focus on European standards. In particular, training will be provided how to execute projects to find additional funds for developing and implementing strategy-related priorities. The third step will include consultations in these cities for working out strategic priorities, development directions and possible ways of raising funds, explained Mr. Tomenchuk.
“Five out of seven preplanned workshops have been currently held in the framework of the project, they have covered 37 territorial units, these are cities and united local communities,” said Kateryna Sidash, Coordinator of the Educational Initiative “Launching Regions”. She noted that two events would be held in April. They will cover 15 territorial units – cities and united local communities (OTG). In total, according to Ms. Sidash, 175 people will undergo training in framework this project. “Out of them about 65 percent are representatives of local authorities, workers of executive committees, mayors, their deputies, and municipal services. Cities themselves choose and delegate people. And about 35 percent are representatives of civic organizations and initiatives,” reported Ms. Sidash.
According to Ms. Sidash, teams from 21 cities and 16 combined local communities underwent training in the framework of the project in January – March. “Among them were four mayors, five heads of united local communities and six deputy mayors and OTG heads,” added Mrs. Sidash. Work with the three southern regions that joined the project will include events for 180 participants in 35 cities, she said “.
Mr. Tomenchuk noted that the initiative “Launching Regions” provides another two components. Firstly, it is work with political parties, in particular, to enhance their participation in the decentralization reform, in the development of regional policy. The second component of the project is work with the western regions. Information events for searching tools to improve the investment attractiveness of these areas will be held there, he reported. Mr. Tomenchuk added that the project “Launching Regions” is supported and funded by the USAID, and the fund National Endowment for Democracy is also involved to work with southern regions.