DESPRO Expands Its Activities in the Territory of Sumy Oblast
Sumy Oblast shows high activity in the course of reforming local self-government and territorial structure of power. If at the beginning of the reform in 2015, only one amalgamated territorial community was created in Oblast, as of 1 January 2018 there are 28 ATCs established in the Sumy region. This shows that both the residents of the region and government agencies are aware of the importance and necessity of implementation of the decentralisation targets that are, generally speaking, aimed at the improvement of the quality of baseline services for residents, the local economic development, and the improvement of well-being. It was said by Oksana Garnets, Manager of the DESPRO Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralisation Support Project in Ukraine, during her working visit to the Sumy region.
According to her, the active efforts taken in the decentralisation process drew the attention of the DESPRO Project that has been implementing projects aimed at the arrangement for high quality and accessible public services in Ukraine for more than 10 years, in close cooperation with communities and the local self-government authorities.
"The Sumy region shows its readiness for changes. Almost three thousand local councils have formed 28 amalgamated communities. I think this is not just the statistics, but fateful decisions of those communities. They have assumed the responsibility for the development of their territories, and it inspires respect and desire to support such initiatives", Oksana Garnets said at the meeting with the leaders of Sumy Oblast.
As part of the visit, the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation between the DESPRO Project, Sumy Oblast State Administration, and Sumy Oblast Council was signed. The document will become the basis for a subsequent implementation of specific projects in the territory of the region, which projects are to be supported by the DESPRO.
According to acting Head of the Oblast State Administration Oleksandr Marchenko, the financing provided by the DESPRO to the Oblast is extremely important. In particular, during the second and the third phases of the Project in Sumy Oblast, 25 community projects dealing with the "rural water supply" were implemented, within the framework of which projects 253 kilometres of water supply networks were constructed, 17 water sources (elevated water tanks and wells) were restored. Also, the projects on integrated solid waste management, rural water disposal, etc. were implemented in the Oblast.
"Over the period of cooperation with the DESPRO, the total value of community projects in Sumy Oblast totalled UAH 38.5 million" Oleksandr Marchenko noted, "I am sure that now the work with the communities will be boosted in the Oblast, including due to the Memorandum".
Chairman of the Sumy Oblast Council Volodymyr Tokar also welcomed the expansion of cooperation.
"The Oblast Council considers the comprehensive development of territories in the region as its priority task. And the region means communities. The better are the conditions of life there, the more comfortable it would be for the population. Over the period of work with the DESPRO for many years, through joint efforts, much work has been done, including 25 projects dealing with the water supply in villages of the Oblast and two projects in towns of Krolevets and Romny. And it means hundreds of kilometres of water supply! Also, very important projects on the disposal of solid waste were implemented in the Sumy region. Indeed, many thanks have to go to local communities as well, which communities worked with the DESPRO under the terms of co-financing, and thus improved water supply systems in their territories and managed to resolve the waste disposal problem", Volodymyr Tokar said.
At the same time, the Memorandums of Cooperation between the DESPRO and Berezivska and Shalyhinska amalgamated territorial communities were signed. In both cases, it is provided for taking efforts by the parties to strengthen the organisational and institutional capacity of the ATCs with the aim of providing water supply and sanitation services efficiently, based on innovation models and best practices in the area of rendering decentralised public services.