Centre for European Perspective is hosting its 8th International Study Visit in Slovenia. The event begun on Monday, 24th of June at Jable Castle and will continue throughout the week.

The topic of the visit is “Improving Institutional Capacity Development Measures of Ukrainian Local-self-government (LSG) Associations”. Among the key players in the capacity development process arena with regard to local self-government reform are Ukrainian LSG associations such as Ukrainian Association of Rayon and Oblast Councils (UAROR), All-Ukraine Association of Village and Settlement Councils (VASSR), Association of Amalgamated Territorial Communities (AATC) and Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC) which undertake initiatives in raising awareness of their members and local self-government officials on various decentralization-related topics. However, the resources and capabilities of the mentioned associations in terms of durable capacity development measures to be provided for LSG bodies need to be enhanced. The Ukrainian LSG association experience a shortage of EU practices in organisation of on-going capacity development measures towards the Amalgated Hromadas (AHs). The lack of coordinated mechanisms to identify and prioritise intervention measures for the stakeholders at both regional and sub-regional levels as well as poor practical experience in identification of their needs may lead to inefficient and, at times, overlapping efforts while designing and implementing interventions for AHs.  The role of each of the associations in the course of the decentralisation and post-decentralisation period is to be clearly understood with the help of additional insights and practical examples especially from the EU associations such as, for example, the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia – Skupnost občin Slovenije (SOS) and the Association of Municipalities of Slovenia – Združenje občin Slovenije (ZOS).

There are currently 15 local officials from Ukraine taking part in the study visit. Participants are coming from different spheres, ranging from Project coordinators,  Advisors on regional development, Experts of strategic planning from Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Communal Services, Heads of amalgamated hromadas to the Head of regional development centre from Chernivtsi region.

The event was open by Katja Geršak, Director, CEP and Andrej Vrčon, Administrative Director, CEP, who warmly welcomed the participants at Jable Castle, and gave an overview of its work. Opening remarks were given by Andreja Purkart Martinez, Head of Sector, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Slovenia, who gave an insight into general work Ministry does with Ukraine and the region. Finally, welcome speech was given by Andrii Borodenkov, Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Slovenia, who introduced the participants to Slovenia, doing business there and the topics handled in general. Meliha Muherina, Project Manager at CEP, followed their introductory remarks with an overview of the agenda for the following days and answered all the questions participants had.

First lecture of the day was given by Dr Robert Drobnič, discussing the topic of Regional Development Planning. He focused on planning regional development, implementation of national programs, implementation of EU programs and development of mountain areas.

Second lecture of the day was given by Dr. Roman Lavtar, who focused on System of Local Self-Government, political and territorial structure of Slovenian government and organization, tasks and financing of local communities.

Finally, participants were greeted by Dr. Vladimir Prebilič, Mayor of Kočevje and Representative of Association of Municipalities of Slovenia, who presented some selected projects for growth and Public Procurement of Association of Municipalities.

The visit is taking place in the framework of the multi-donor action U-LEAD established by the European Union and its Member States Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Poland and Sweden. It aims at contributing to the establishment of multilevel governance that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the population of Ukraine. U-LEAD with Europe is supporting the Ukrainian Government, represented by the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine (MinRegion) as a key political partner in the coordination and implementation of the decentralization and regional policy reforms. The Program carries out demand-driven and targeted trainings for officials at the national, regional and local level.

U-LEAD 8th Study visit