On June 22, Minister for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine Oleksii Chernishov held an online meeting with the Director of the Mission in Ukraine and Belarus of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) James Hope.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the progress of implementation of joint projects, the state of decentralization reform in Ukraine, regional policy priorities for 2021-2027, as well as local elections in Ukraine.
“USAID has been implementing projects in Ukraine for many years. For 5 years we have been working together on the reform of local self-government and territorial organization of power. In recent months, we have significantly accelerated in this direction and taken important steps. The basic and district levels of the administrative-territorial structure of the country have been reformed, thereby becoming the basis for calling the first local elections on a new territorial basis," Oleksii Chernyshov said.
The Minister thanked the representatives of the USAID Mission for their assistance in achieving the main goal of decentralization reform, namely, for the formation of effective local self-government.
Oleksii Chernyshov also noted that the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development highly appreciates the contribution of the DOBRE Decentralization Offers Better Results program and welcomes USAID's decision to extend the program for an additional 16 months until September 2022, which will undoubtedly allow 25 more communities to improve their capacity in various areas of activity.
James Hope, Director of the United States Agency for International Development Mission, stressed the importance of the reforms implemented by the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development and noted that decentralization reform is important not only for self-government but for the economy as a whole, as it can attract investment and enable the creation of new jobs.
Regional policy issues were also discussed during the meeting. Oleksii Chernyshov informed about the main directions of regional policy, in particular regarding the State Regional Development Strategy for 2021-2027, its tasks, differences and advantages in comparison with similar documents of previous years. "In the new State Regional Development Strategy, we have outlined various types of functional areas as a central object, such as mountainous areas, monofunctional cities, urban agglomerations, border areas, etc. This will allow to effectively determine the needs and direct funding in accordance with the specifics of the region," said the Minister.
James Hope also informed about new projects implemented by USAID in Ukraine and assured of support for the reforms implemented by the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine.