Communities of the Luhansk Region are Getting Ready to Follow the Way of Amalgamation

The meeting of representatives of local self-government bodies, executive authorities, and public activists of Luhansk Oblast with Experts of the national level was held on 14 June. Representatives of Kyiv arrived to discuss the urgent issues of decentralisation and development of local self-government, which issues have accumulated in the region up to date.
Approximately 80 representatives of the villages, towns, and cities of the Luhansk region wished to intercommune and make clear all pressing issues with the authors and promoters of the country's major reform. Colleagues of the Luhansk region inhabitants - chairpersons of amalgamated territorial communities from Dnipropetrovsk and Poltava Oblasts - arrived to take part in the discussions together with the experts.
Agile discussion continued for several hours, during which the acutest topics of great concern to the inhabitants of Luhansk Oblast were discussed. The common thread of all dialogues was the clarification of prospects of decentralisation in the nearest future. Also, there were discussed the matters of transfer of powers to the local level, budgetary sphere, legal aspects of local self-government, reforming of the healthcare and education sectors, and many others. New thoughts, new acquaintances, ideas on the infrastructure projects accompanied the intercourse of the participants in the meeting. According to many representatives of the Luhansk region, the experience of leaders of the Zhovtneva (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast) and the Bila Tserkva (Poltava Oblast) amalgamated territorial communities appeared to be very useful.
Ilona Postemska, Project Coordinator of the  Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine, opening the event, confirmed the interest of the international community in the power decentralisation processes in Ukraine. In his turn, Roman Kosynskyi,  Deputy Chairman of the Luhansk Oblast Military and Civil Administration, warranted that all projects aimed at the amalgamation of communities and development of local self-government in the Oblast would be supported.
Yurii Hanushchak,  Director of the Institute for Development of Territories, Expert of the DESPRO Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralisation Support Project in Ukraine, called the communities to file applications for obtaining funds for development projects: "The state has resources, therefore, the communities that have already amalgamated need to develop new projects and submit them to the State Fund for Regional Development for the purposes of funding. And you should remember that the best project is the project with the added value and prospects. Therefore, it is desirable that, for instance, UAH 100,000 received from the fund would allow that additional UAH 200,000 of private investments are raised in the next period".
"After the amalgamation, it is required to perform quite a tremendous amount of work. We started from the community passport, now we have been developing the community planning layout. We actively cooperate with research institutions on this matter and we plan to complete this process by the end of the year. That will allow the community to receive an additional potential. Qualified staff is a separate matter, which staff will be able, for instance, to develop projects as required for the submission thereof to the State Fund for Regional Development and donor agencies. We try to engage such people in cooperation. Up to date, we have already submitted seven projects", Artur Shevtsov, Chairman of the Zhovtneva ATC in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast shared his experience.
Ivan Leshchenko, Chairman of the Bila Tserkva ATC in Poltava Oblast advised that his colleagues, after the amalgamation, did not pull major resources to the community centre but instead use them evenly and seek to evenly distribute the possibilities among all participants of the ATC.
"Submit more projects providing for the community development. Encourage the appearance of new jobs and try that the projects comply with the plan of social and economic development of the community. When there arise any questions, refer them to the relevant departments of the Ministry of Regional Development. We will provide advice to you both using the personnel of the Ministry and engaging foreign experience owing to donors", informed  Lilia Popova, Head of the Local Self-Government Bodies Liaison Unit of the Department of Self-Government Bodies and Territorial Structure of Power of the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine.
"After the amalgamation, we received a very powerful resource. But to use the full value of that resource, there arose a need for additional information. And now we are learning actively. I recommend that all new amalgamated communities also look for new knowledge and engage European experience and read very carefully the materials posted on the websites www.decentralization.gov.ua , www.despro.org.uawww.minregion.gov.ua , and other useful resources. This will allow accelerating the development and the speed of improving life in the community", Vadym Haiev, Chairman of the Novopskovsk ATC in Luhansk Oblast, joined his colleagues in giving advice.
Also, as a day earlier in Kramatorsk, the most problematic aspects impeding, according to the representatives of Luhansk Oblast, the speed of self-government development in Donbas include the aforementioned legislative aspects, informational support but not the proximity of the region to the zone of anti-terrorist operation.
·         the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine
·         the DESPRO Swiss-Ukrainian Decentralisation Support Project in Ukraine
·         the Luhansk Oblast Military and Civil Administration
·         the Donetsk Oblast Department of the All-Ukrainian Non-Governmental Organisation "Committee of Voters of Ukraine"
Short link to the news: http://despro.org.ua/~m0h7h