A publication of the International Centre for Policy Studies ICPS newsletter®
government reform
Together with the Center for Ukrainian Reform Education (CURE), ICPS has
out in a mechanical manner, but taking into completed the first round of public consultations on local government reform in
seven Ukrainian cities: Chernivtsi, Lutsk, Zhytomyr, Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad,
Mykolayiv, and Sumy. Phase 2 of the “Public Consultations on Reforming Local
Government in Ukraine and Public Awareness Campaign” project is funded by
the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). During these hearings, ICPS
As to how to fill local budgets, participants experts presented for discussion a Green Paper on reforming local government
immediately drew attention to the issue of in Ukraine. These public consultations demonstrated how difficult it is to
lands adjoining administrative territories. implement any reform effectively without prior consultations with stakeholders.
This land, which, in principle, should serve the Officials in the central government often do not know the entire scale of
interests of local communities, is generally at problems at the local level and specific regional factors that will affect the
the disposal of the central government. Thus, implementation of any reforms
the principle of universal local government is violated in Ukraine. According to this The main goal of these consultations was villages into a single community when they principle, a country should not have territory differ in terms of language, religion and that is not under the jurisdiction of a specific ethnicity, said stakeholders from the Bukovyna territorial community. Among others, this region, as this kind of consolidation could lead leads to frequent abuse of land resources. to a worse situation and the emergence of most hotly debated issues were the reform Another issue that was raised by participants of administrative territories, budget de- was the fact that local communities have The most that participants were prepared to absolutely no benefits from the current system support was a more intensive absorption of capacities at the local government level, and for managing mineral deposits, forests and failing communities, mostly villages, into a changes to the local electoral system.
other resources that are at the disposal of the single administrative unit. Other proposed central government. Moreover, central bodies, consolidations, at the county or oblast level, as a rule, dispose of these resources in a very It has become obvious that, to implement this kind of reform, the positive impact of any traditional issue of local taxes. They agreed changes needs to be brought to the awareness cornerstone of the local government reform. that a land tax and a real estate tax could be The regions still remember the unsuccessful good sources to significantly improve local reasoned manner. According to participants in efforts of Vice Premier for Administrative the consultations, underdeveloped road and Territorial Reform Roman Bezsmertniy in 2005 transport infrastructure and the lack of family and were quite cautious about new proposals cars make the proximity of an oblast or county seat that can provide certain administrative or social services a very important factor. To The problem of lack of professionalism among the borders of administrative territories consolidate counties or oblasts looks, at the local deputies was one of the most urgent were being changed it was necessary to be local level, like a pointless distraction for Kyiv issues raised during these consultations. The guided not so much by the “abstract logic politicians, but not an urgent actual need. coming of new deputies to local councils of minimum population numbers” for each under the proportional system brought the level of unit—for this is the principle being lack of professionalism among local deputies number of conclusions: large-scale reform touted by the newly-formed coalition— as by to the fore. Closed party lists made it possible of administrative territories in Ukraine is specific regional political and socio-economic for party leaders to bring individuals into their impossible for many objective and subjective factions who would not pass muster under a reasons. A more realistic concept is to simply A good example is Chernivtsi oblast, which has consolidate failing administrative territories very small communities, population-wise. Yet, at the lowest level, villages and settled areas. Strictly speaking, raising the professional level it is not realistic to consolidate neighboring But even this consolidation cannot be carried of deputies should be a matter for local party organizations, but they do not currently have issues of land distribution, which they can the capacity to undertake such activities. moment, analytical work and consultations easily resolve for their own gain and benefits So this issue must become the focus of both with stakeholders are needed at the local level under the existing system. This is the main international donors working to develop local so that people can form their own opinions reason why such deputies do not need local government and, possibly, for the country’s about what kind of electoral system is needed government reform. Even if their powers are significantly expanded, chances are they will not know what to do with them anyway, while the quality of local services in these oblasts Another factor that became evident during will not improve because of this reform. Consultation participants thought the source of this lack of professionalism among local development of a political culture of local deputies is the change in the electoral system. government in different regions. This The proportional electoral system with closed means that local government reform might A key reform that must be implemented along party lists raised many complaints among the not produce equally good results across all with local government reform is reform of participants. Stakeholders said that, despite the judiciary. A change in the regulatory some positive aspects for the development First of all, these differences manifested of political parties at the local level, the new themselves in the attitude of local deputies in operate will not bring any results, if local electoral system had a very negative impact different regions to local government reform governments cannot defend those rights that on the effectiveness of the work of locally responsibilities with its implementation.
to consultation participants, if their opponents are government bodies or In addition to a decline in the professional For example, representatives of political medium and large businesses interests, local level of deputies, other drawbacks include government bodies cannot defend their own the fact that local elected councils represent interests of their communities less, while the and responsibilities. Local politicians view link between a local deputy and a particular local governments as the field of their own Based on the results of these consultations, council is not very clear. Local councils professional activity and, therefore, see local a report will be published and disseminated have become excessively politicized as local in the central government. ICPS and CURE deputies do what they are told to do by their expand the scope of their responsibilities. headquarters, and not what is better for the through these consultations to the politicians who are developing and implementing local participants expressed frank doubts that local government reform to make this reform more Unfortunately, consultation participants could deputies would rejoice at the implementation not provide well-argued, consistent answers of this reform and the resulting expansion to the question, how this system should be of powers and responsibilities. They argued For additional information, contact ICPS changed. Some talked about returning to the that political parties in these oblasts are not specialist Ivan Presniakov by telephone majority system and others about switching to sufficiently developed, while the interests at (380-44) 484-4400 or via e-mail at of local deputies are limited exclusively to Spain and Ukraine: Prospects for partnership
The International Centre for Policy Studies is currently involved Yuriy Klymenko, General Consul of Ukraine in Barcelona; Orysia in developing relations between Ukraine and Spain. Over 3–4 Lutsevych, Executive Director, Open Ukraine Foundation; December, a conference called “Spain and Ukraine: Prospects Volodymyr Nikitin, Director, International Centre for Policy for Partnership” was held in Barcelona on the initiative of Studies; Ivan Poltavets, economist, BEST, an analytical center; ICPS in Kyiv, the CIDOB Foundation—the Center for Studying Iryna Sushko, researcher, Centre for Peace, Conversion and Foreign International Relations and Development—in Barcelona, Spain, Policy of Ukraine (CPCFPU); Oleksandr Sushko, Deputy Director, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Madrid, Spain. CPCFPU; Maryna Cherenkova, Head of the Working Group on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), Donetsk Oblast Council; Olha Organizers set the objective, first of all, of raising awareness Shumylo, Director of European Integration, International Centre about each country’s political and economic development for Policy Studies; Anatoliy Shcherba, Ambassador of Ukraine issues, to exchange experiences in transformation from in Spain; and Prof. Valentyn Yakushyk, Political Science Chair, totalitarian systems to democracy, and to identify potential National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. areas of bilateral co-operation between government and non-government institutions in both Ukraine and Spain. During this forum, participants developed proposals for further cooperation between Ukraine and Spain. The results will be The Ukrainian side was represented by: Mykhailo Honchar, used to draft a report containing recommendations and will be Director for Energy Programs, NOMOS; Hanna Derev’yanko, disseminated among key players in Ukraine and Spain.
Executive Director, European Business Association (EBA); Oksana Diakuh, First Secretary for Political Affairs, Embassy of Ukraine For additional information, contact the directors of this initiative: in Spain; Thomas Eymond-Laritaz, President, Victor Pinchuk ICPS Director for European Integration Olha Shumylo by telephone at Foundation; Olena Zerkal, Director of the State Department (380-44) 484-4444 or via e-mail at [email protected] or CIDOB for the Approximation of the Legislation, Ministry of Justice; Deputy Director Carmen Claudin by e-mail at [email protected]. icps newsletter is a weekly publication of the International Centre for Policy Studies, delivered by electronic mail.
To be included in the distribution list, contact the ICPS publications department at [email protected] or call (380-44) 484-4400.
icps newsletter editor Olha Lvova ([email protected]). Phone: (380-44) 484-4400.
English text editor L.A. Wolanskyj. Articles may be reprinted with ICPS consent. icps newsletter on the web: http://icps.com.ua/eng/publications/nl.html

Source: http://icps.com.ua/pub/files/47/98/nl_eng_20071217_0390.pdf

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