U-LEAD Bridges of Cooperation meets online
44 participants joined the 1st peer-learning online webinar of Bridges of Cooperation project organised on 31 October. They were from GIZ office in Kyiv, Ukrainian beneficiary municipalities (Kherson, Suvorove, Zmiiv, Mykhailivka, Opishnia, Truskavets, Illinivka and Vorokhta), their EU host counterparts, NALAS member associations from Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia (ACOR, NAMRB, UGRH) and NALAS Secretariat project staff.
During the session dedicated to the « System of local self-government in EU host countries », constitutional and legislative aspects of local governments, their role and function within the government structures were presented. Emphasis was on sharing information on the organisational patterns of local governments, their genuine & delegated prerogatives and competences. The institutional and organizational aspects of local governments organisation and structure in the respective EU host countries were complemented highlighting challenges and lessons learnt in relation to the central government level, international donor community, relations with citizen and public service delivery to the local population.
The session on « Decentralisation & reform process in EU host countries & Ukraine » underlined the intrinsic relationship between decentralization and democratization as reform processes. The examples presented from Croatia, Bulgaria and Ukraine displayed the crucial role of ownership and perception of the reform process among the citizen and the political will to adhere to the principle of subsidiarity by using a multilevel-governance approach. The critical presentation of challenges and opportunities of decentralization processes in Croatia, Bulgaria and Ukraine led to a vivid exchange among participants.
There was a mix of expectations and enthusiasm to meet online and to aspire making the next steps towards the Shadowing Programmes, scheduled for 3 and 4 November. The recommendations from EU hosts (local governments associations and municipalities) based on their experience in the frame of reform processes (democratization/descentralisation) and regarding the EU accession process, were fruitful & constructive, since they were linked to real-life situations with concrete examples and advice on how to proceed.
NALAS started in May 2023 the implementation of this pilot in coordination with U-LEAD GIZ office in Kyiv. The main goal of the project is to strengthen the capacities of Ukrainian local governments on the EU accession process and preparation and management of local development projects to support Ukraine’s reconstruction. This implies: (i) to support local capacities to address acute challenges in specific sectors faced by local governments and local communities in terms of service delivery and (ii) to increase knowledge and understanding on the EU integration process and the role of LGs. An important function will the use of NALAS’ Shadowing Program, a mechanism belonging to the NALAS Knowledge System, for exchange and transfer of expertise between members, through coaching, mentoring, and on-job learning using the knowledge within the NALAS network.