Having signed European Charter on Local Self-Government in 1997, Ukraine has not only declared about its recognition of the principles of European democratic governance, but also assumed certain liabilities associated with the reforms of local and legislative support. Practical implementation of European principles of good governance and promoting decentralization presupposes the active implementation of international best practices. In 2005 following the official request of the President of Ukraine to the Government of Switzerland for Swiss assistance in the sphere of decentralization, Swiss Cooperation (SDC / SDC) supported project "Decentralization Support in Ukraine» DESPRO.
DESPRO is a Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralization Support Project, funded by the Swiss Confederation through Swiss Cooperation Office (SDC) and implemented by the Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development (Skat).
Project mission is to optimize the management system and to promote effective local development in Ukraine, which, in turn, creates an impetus to democratic processes and to provide services at the community level.
The project has three phases: Phase I (2007-2009 years), Phase II (2010-2012 years) and Phase III (2013-2017).
The overall goal of the first phase of the project was to initiate models of decentralized public services at rayon, village and municipal levels and their further integration and adoption at the regional level and national level
The objectives of DESPRO second phase:
• Improving the quality of services and access to them in the target rayons.
• Implementation of effective models related to knowledge management in the areas of decentralization and local governance.
• Supporting the national reforming processes in the sphere of decentralization and local governance.
DESPRO main focus in the third phase is to build effective mechanisms for ensuring quality public services at the community level and strengthening national dialogue on reform of local self-government and decentralization. Besides supporting projects on water supply and solid waste management, DESPRO will pilot sanitation projects in rural areas, and inter-municipal projects on water supply. It is assumed that geography will cover additional rayons in target project regions. It is also planned to add one more Oblast.
DESPRO provides technical support and contributes to improvement of communal services in the villages of Vinnytsia, Dnipropetrovsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Poltava and Sumy oblasts. Therefore, DESPRO’s partners at the regional level are oblast state administrations and oblast councils, raion state administrations, raion, village and settlement councils, non-governmental organizations in target regions. During the first two phases (2007-2013) the Autonomous Republic of Crimea was one of DESPRO target regions. Currently, activities in the Crimea are suspended.
DESPRO key partner is the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine.