Published 5 July 2024

Support to Decentralisation Reforms and Recovery in Ukraine

Since the Maidan Revolution of Dignity in 2014, SALAR International has been supporting the Ukrainian decentralisation reform and local self-governance. Building on the impactful work of previous projects, a new larger programme, along with new components of recovery and reconstruction, has been launched. The programme is primarily designed to strengthen local self-governance, enhance municipal capacities, and assist in the recovery and reconstruction of war-affected regions.

The programme, agreed upon by the Swedish Assosciation of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), will be Implemented by SALAR International and is aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Strategy for Sweden’s recovery and reform cooperation with Ukraine 2023–2027, and Ukraine’s EU integration process. It will run from 2024 to 2028 and engage key stakeholders and governmental institutions both on local and national levels.

Aims of the Programme

  • Strengthen Local Self-Governance: Address inconsistencies in the Local Self-Government (LSG) framework and system of multi-level governance and enhance the legislative and regulatory framework to support effective local governance.
  • Enhance Municipal Capacities: Equip municipalities with the capacity, resources, and institutional frameworks needed to provide high-quality public services.
  • Support to Recovery and Reconstruction: Assist municipalities in their recovery and reconstruction efforts, focusing on building resilient and sustainable local communities.
  • Promote Democratic Governance: Foster democratic principles and practices at the local level, ensuring alignment with European Union standards and integration requirements.

In sum, the programme aims to address urgent needs caused by the war, while simultaneously building long term capacities and consolidating and strengthening the decentralisation process in Ukraine.

Main areas of activity

The programme is structured into two main components, each focusing on critical areas for the decentralisation and recovery process, and includes several thematic areas that are part of one or both components:

Multi-level Governance and Policy:

Activities in this component will focus on supporting the development of Ukraine’s system of multi-level governance through the following:

  • Strengthening multi-level and cross-sectoral dialogue in decentralisation and relevant thematic Local Self-Government (LSG) areas.
  • Enhancing evidence-based policymaking and implementation of relevant decentralisation and sector specific strategies.
  • Strengthening the capacities of key actors in the Multi-level governance system

Enhancing Municipal Capacities:

  • Sectorial thematic support and comprehensive training programs and capacity-building initiatives to improve the capabilities of political leadership, municipal officials and staff.
  • Enhancing citizens engagement and information sharing through capacity building initiatives and to address cross-cutting issues.
  • Providing material support to those municipalities most affected by the war.

The Thematic Areas of Focus

Spanning one or more of the Programmes’ main areas of activity, the Thematic areas of focus are:

Education Decentralisation: Reform the management and delivery of education at the local level to ensure quality and accessibility. This includes supporting municipalities in restructuring school networks, improving educational infrastructure and efficient funding of educational services.

Administrative Service Provision: Enhance the efficiency and accessibility of services through starosta institutions and Administrative Service Centers, providing one-stop-shops for citizens to access essential services like business registration, property documentation, and passport issuance.

Fiscal Decentralisation: Strengthen local financial management by providing municipalities with greater control over revenues and budgetary powers, and supporting them in diversifying their revenue sources.

Locally-led Recovery: Assist municipalities in planning and implementing locally-driven recovery projects, focusing on rebuilding infrastructure, restoring services, and fostering economic development.

International Municipal Cooperation: Facilitate partnerships and collaborations between Ukrainian and European municipalities to share best practices, resources, and support for local development initiatives.

Within the programme components and thematic areas several cross-cutting issues will be integrated, such as Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming, Human Rights, Anti-Corruption, Climate change and Environmental Sustainability as well as Conflict Sensitivity.

Background

Decentralisation has been a cornerstone of Ukraine’s reform agenda since the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, aimed at creating a more democratic and efficient governance system. The reform process seeks to devolve powers and resources from the central government to local authorities, aligning with the principles of the European Charter on Local Self-Government. Recognising the strategic importance of decentralisation for Ukraine’s democratic development and EU integration, the Swedish Government has consistently supported these efforts through various initiatives.

Since 2014, SALAR has been instrumental in this journey, supporting Ukraine through three major initiatives - Support to Decentralisation in Ukraine (DSP I & II), Implementing Component 2 of the EU-financed Ukraine Local Empowerment, Accountability and Development (U-LEAD), and Support to Administrative Services Development in Ukraine (Prosto). These initiatives have significantly contributed to the resilience and capacity of Ukrainian municipalities, particularly in adapting to the challenges posed by the full-scale Russian invasion launched in February 2022.

More information

Contact

Alexander Mazurkin
Programme Manager
alexander.mazurkin@skr.se

Sanna Rosén
Deputy Programme Manager sanna.rosen@skr.se

Nathalie Bekier
Deputy Programme Manager
nathalie.bekier@skr.se

Emil Sjöstedt
Programme Coordinator
emil.sjostedt@skr.se