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Roundtable ‘Implementation of the Law of Ukraine “On Cooperation of Territorial Communities” – Progress and Development Prospects’ was held in Lviv on 15 February

18-02-2019

According to the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, just 5 communities have concluded 2 inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) agreements in Lviv Oblast. Such a situation is not one-of-a-kind as 16 more Ukrainian Oblasts are implementing less than 10 joint IMC projects in the spheres of housing and communal services, public amenities, fire safety and health-care. In view of this, the key topics of the roundtable were the full implementation of the Law of Ukraine ‘On Cooperation of Territorial Communities’ and brainstorming of ideas for possible IMC projects in Lviv Oblast.

‘Inter-municipal cooperation is an innovation instrument in the process of implementation of local self-governance reform,’ Team Leader of Administrative Reform in Eastern Ukraine II Project Taras Zhuravel said. ‘Therefore, since adopting the Law of Ukraine “On Cooperation of Territorial Communities” in June 2014, the Administrative Reform in Eastern Ukraine II Project implemented by GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been providing comprehensive support for its implementation at the national, regional and local level, in particular, in Poltava Oblast. Our Project supported the development of sectoral IMC models in such spheres as solid household waste management, development of local fire protection service, internet technologies and administrative service delivery.’

IMC allows communities to consolidate resources and due to the ‘scale effect’ reduce the cost of public services per capita. Therefore, only pro-active approach of the communities to cooperation with their neighbours will enable a steady improvement of living standards. ‘Today, cities and villages need to make maximum use of the full potential and opportunities that can be gained as a result of inter-municipal cooperation. Indeed, effective partnership between communities creates more long-term effects than merely achieving the goal within the framework of individual cooperation agreements,’ the Member of Parliament Liubomyr Zubach said during the event. ‘At the same time, it is strategically important for the state to search for incentives and opportunities to involve cities in cooperation. Inter-municipal cooperation based on the points of economic growth and shared use of resources will ensure a stable and real growth both for the partner communities and for the state as a whole. That is why it is necessary not only to support the development of cooperation in Ukraine, but also continuously improve in accordance with successful world trends, in particular, such as urban agglomeration as a more integrated form of cooperation between the city and the neighbouring communities.’

In response, the consultant on inter-municipal cooperation of Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralization Support Project DESPRO Oleksandr Vrublevskyi added, ‘IMC tool requires both the willingness of communities to cooperate and relevant managerial competence. In December 2018, the DESPRO Project published a handbook “Inter-municipal Cooperation Agreements for Solid Household Waste Management Sphere” with sample agreements in compliance with the legislation in force. Alongside this, it is important to bear in mind that an agreement is just a starting point, and inter-municipal cooperation aims to improve the quality of public services in the community.’

It is worth reminding that the Law of Ukraine ‘On Cooperation of Territorial Communities’ was adopted in July 2014. According to monitoring of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services as of February 2019, currently 1262 communities concluded 325 inter-municipal cooperation agreements in Ukraine.

The Roundtable was organised by Ukrainian Parliament Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government with the support of Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralization Support in Ukraine DESPRO Project and Administrative Reform in Eastern Ukraine II Project implemented by GIZ on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).