EU allocates €24 million to develop local communities in Ukraine

The EU has allocated a further €24 million toward the realisation of 1,330 small local initiatives in rural Ukrainian communities.The third phase of the largest EU and UNDP-funded project in Ukraine, Community-Based Approach to Local Development (CBA), was officially launched on May 20 in Kyiv.

???????????????????????????????????????????Like the first and second phases, CBA-III will encourage community-based initiatives throughout Ukraine that will help improve living conditions in villages and small towns with a new focus on decentralisation and energy efficiency.

The project is motivated by an idea that sustainable regional development depends on strong local governance and active community participation. Public control and participation are especially effective in that they help direct efforts toward solving the problems identified by citizens themselves.

CBA-III will directly involve 1.5 million citizens from 1000 villages and 15 towns from all over the country. As a result of the project, local communities and local authorities will be prepared for full-fledged community-led development approaches in the future. “It is not a small issue but rather a matter of systemic habits. Local communities are at the core of genuine transformation: if they are not reformed, the society will not change,” claims Alessandra Tisot, UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Ukraine. “People are at the heart of our work, and by engaging them in the development of their own communities we are fulfilling their aspirations for more prosperity and opportunity for all,” she says.

Phase three of the CBA project will also support the Government of Ukraine in working toward its decentralisation reforms, which aim to improve services to people and strengthen the capacities of regional and local authorities across Ukraine. “This new phase of the project is launched at the right moment, when the government is moving in the direction of decentralisation,“ comments Andrew Rasbash, head of co-operation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. “These small projects have strong influence on people’s mindsets. Empowerment of local communities is a strong tool in the fight against corruption and, I believe, a way forward for Ukraine,” he adds.

Energy efficiency in urban housing is one of the most important priorities of the CBA project and constitutes a central component of its third phase. The project aims to promote responsible use of resources and specifically targets municipalities under with 150,000 inhabitants. The project will develop models of success that can be replicated to solve similar housing sector problems in other towns. Anatoliy Oliynyk, head of the Vinnytsya oblast state administration, says that the initiative is a “great chance to reconsider our consumption philosophy and activate our resources”. “We have been given an effective instrument, and now we should get used to applying it on our own,” he adds.

Background: The CBA project is funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It promotes sustainable socio-economic development at the local level by strengthening participatory governance and fostering community-based initiatives throughout Ukraine. The main goal of the project is to develop and carry out initiatives aimed at improving living conditions all over Ukraine from health care and water supply, to energy-saving street illumination, to renovated schools and kindergartens. Since it was launched in 2007, it has already directly affected 2.5 million Ukrainians all over the country. The third phase of the CBA will be implemented between 2014 and 2017 and has a total budget of €23.8 million provided by the EU (€23 million) and UNDP (€800,000).

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