SALAR International visits regions of Ukraine to deliver IT equipment and discuss recovery with partner municipalities
During 26 January – 3 February 2023, a team from SALAR International visited Ukraine to monitor the delivery of essential equipment to municipalities impacted by the ongoing conflict, and to consider how to deepen support to partner municipalities, to ensure they can engage in the recovery and reconstruction efforts in the country, going forward.
Since 2014, SALAR International has supported hundreds of municipalities and their associations in Ukraine. One of the projects financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), PROSTO, supports municipalities to establish and modernize centers that help the citizens to access administrative services.
As a result of the ongoing conflict, municipalities and administrative service centers are in great need of material support to repair and reconstruct damaged buildings, so they can quickly resume the delivery of essential public services to citizens. SALAR International has adapted its work in the country based on critical identified needs, with a particular focus on support to municipalities in liberated areas.
Last year, 26 newly liberated municipalities of Kharkiv, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Zhytomyr, regions received the first crisis support from the project in the form of necessary equipment to resume the work of service offices. For example in January 2023 SALAR International delivered a car with IT equipment to help the municipalities to provide public services in remote locations.
− We thank the Swedish partners for the quick, much-needed support to restore residents' access to public services. The opportunity to provide services to citizens who for some reason cannot get to the service office on their own is a very important factor affecting the speed of recovery of society's vital activities, says Vitaly Karabanov, Head of the Balakliia City Military Administration.
During the visit to Kharkiv region, representatives from the Swedish Embassy in Kyiv, along with the SALAR International team, visited numerous municipalities, to ensure the delivery of a second batch of equipment, and to hear from representatives of the local and regional government, about their perspectives and needs for recovery:
− Recovery and restoration in hromadas is one of the key priorities for Swedish aid to Ukraine. Rapid recovery, high-quality coordination and cooperation at different levels are key factors for the return of normal life in the hromadas. I would also like to emphasise the importance of democratic involvement of residents in decision-making about the restoration of their hromadas. This is the best guarantee for effective, transparent and socially responsible processes, says Maria Lindgren Saltanova, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine.
Recipient municipalities were determined based on rigorous follow-up and communication in newly liberated locations, and in coordination with several key ministries (such as the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Ministry of Digital Transformation) as well as the Regional Military Administrations.
With the help of extra funding from Sida, support to other affected municipalities will continue during 2023, including to Kharkiv, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions.
The visit to Kyiv included numerous meetings with key government and other stakeholders, linked to another Sida-financed project, Support to Decentralisation in Ukraine (DSP). The SALAR International team held meetings with the Parliamentary Committee on Decentralisation and the Ministry of Education, as well as the European Union and United Nations, in order to ensure that SALAR International’s ongoing support can be adjusted to support municipalities to play a central role in recovery and reconstruction in the country.
The PROSTO project
The PROSTO project aims to improve the capacity of local self-governments to provide qualitative services to the residents of Ukrainian hromadas.
The DSP project
The DSP project supports the government of Ukraine to implement decentralisation reforms and assist the local government sector to take on more powers and responsibilities. It includes the following main focus areas: (i) fiscal decentralisation; (ii) decentralisation of education, (iii) support to the Ukrainian Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities; (iv) communication of reforms; (v) reform process management and coordination.