Grand closing of Ukraine project
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko attended the conference that ended the KS and the Norwegian Institute of Urban and Regional Research at Oslo Metropolitan University's international project to strengthen local democracy in Ukraine.
The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, was responsible for the official opening of the conference. President Petro Poroshenko also expressed his support for the importance of the ongoing decentralization reform and the development of local democracy in Ukraine.
"Without real local democracy, Ukraine does not have any future," declared the president and thanked for the support the country has received from Norway in this work.
From the Norwegian side, Ambassador Ole T. Horpestad highlighted successful Norwegian-Ukrainian cooperation in this area, while Elita Cakule, Head of International KS Projects, emphasized the value of the long-standing and trustworthy cooperation between KS and the Ukrainian sister organization Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC). From OsloMet participated in a delegation from the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR).
"Being able to use our expertise in Ukraine in cooperation with Ukrainian partners and researchers has been very rewarding for our institute," said Geir Heierstad, research director from NIBR during opening.
He emphasized the importance of including good social research when developing new policies.
"In Ukraine, we have been deeply committed to building efficiency networks to improve local services, with particular emphasis on applied research with Ukrainian partners to deliver high-quality data on which this method is based," he continued.
Builds networks with the municipalities
The idea behind the networks is to gather municipalities that want to focus on a particular topic, organize them into groups and then engage them in moderated discussions and activities. It will help them build relationships, explore best practices and learn from each other and themselves to improve the municipality's capacity and efficiency.
The project in Ukraine is carried out by KS in cooperation with NIBR and the Association of Ukrainian Cities (AUC) and is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is based on two previous projects with history back to 2008 and has efficiency networks as their main component.
Local Democracy survey
Another key aspect of the project was the large local democracy survey conducted towards the end of 2017, and its results were comparable to a previous survey from 2014. The survey measured, among other things, the population's confidence in its local politicians as well as the support for the ongoing decentralization reform and the need for improved communication between local authorities and residents.
Senior Researcher Aadne Aasland of NIBR presented an excerpt of the results of the survey, which showed that local authorities have greater confidence in the population as a central government in Kyiv, but that there is also very room for improving the confidence of politicians at local level.