The project aims to foster stability in Eastern Ukraine from the bottom up through legitimate and responsive governance and inclusive political and public participation processes at the local level.
The overall objective of the project (2016-2017) is to support the development of transparent, accountable and responsive local government and to strengthen citizens participation practices in local policy development in Eastern Ukraine. Within the scope of the project, VNGi and PAX work together with local authorities and civil society organisation (CSO’s) in in six municipalities in Eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian state and society have been greatly destabilised over the past 2.5 years, since Maidan 2014. Improving social contract (trust in and cooperation between authorities and civil society) has the potential to become a valuable instrument out of the current crisis in Ukraine. The project interventions therefore aim at providing a participatory, locally driven response to the reform efforts, focussing on the Eastern regions of Donetsk (government-controlled territory), Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk provinces. The proposed interventions in these areas are also linked to the high influx of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who require basic services and how that relates to local citizens’ needs.
At the core of the project stands the building of trust and a stable, law-based relationship among citizens and municipalities in six different towns. To achieve this, the project works in 3-ways:
On the demand-side, the project provides inclusive processes for local civil society, including IDP groups and with the involvement of CSO representatives from other conflict regions (Balkans), to elaborate realistic demands towards local government actors. In addition, citizens participation practices in local policy and project development will be developed.
On the response side, the project provides support to local authorities to formulate systematically accurate, accountable responses to demands put forward by (civil) society. Topics discussed will for instance be government accountability, transparency and municipal communication.
Based on the above mentioned trainings, both groups identify a list of shared ‘problem case’. Together they select one, draft an operational plan and target the case collectively. This case is referred to as the ‘pilot project’ and will be executed from March to September 2017. Each pilot project will be made available a sum of maximum € 25.000.
This activity aims to support both representatives of municipalities and CSO’s (focus on the first) with policy development and approaches to public participation through colleague-to-colleague exchanges. This is done in the form of a field visit (2017) in Czech Republic.
Also, financial support related to budgeting and accounting larger projects will be given throughout the duration of the pilot projects.
And, two monitoring missions (May-June and September) will be carried out by two different teams: one focussing on programme management aspects and the other on sustainable forms of cooperation and ideally the creation and implementation of Citizen Participation Policies.
Target groups herein are other Ukrainian municipalities and the national government. Presentation of achieved results, regional dissemination seminars and publication of Citizen Participation Manual (citizens participation policy per city) are a few of the main aspects of a ‘closing conference’ held in Dnipro 19-20 October 2017. The conference report and video will be disseminated amongst relevant target groups.